Romans Trail


Click to enlarge pictures

Forno Romano em Pedrogão Grande

“(…)The origin of the municipality of Pedrógão Grande still has not consensus between historians. For some, the history of the municipality comes back from the prehistory period; however, it’s difficult to point an exact time.

Iron Age is said to be one of the most probable periods for the beginning of this region’s occupation. It was an adequate zone for human occupation as the terrain morphology constituted a good natural defence, and flora and fauna were rather rich.

At first, the population would have settled at the mountain of Sra. Dos Milagres, in Cabeço da Cotovia, due to its feature of an almost natural fortress. Although some facts seem to fundament this theory, the truth is that there are other possible theories. Thus, opinions divide between the theories of prehistory foundation, Roman foundation or even after the settling of Romans in Iberian Peninsula.

The archaeological excavations and subsequent remains and findings, seem to confirm the idea of a Roman occupation. They were discovered ceramic ovens for tile making, frame tiles and pieces of decorated pottery which, associated to the fact that some historians attribute the foundation of Pedrógão Pequeno, at 150 B.C., to the Romans, supports the idea that both villages have the same origin. (…)”

Following these remains, together with the archaeological, historical and environmental patrimony’s richness, we propose a tour through the municipality…

It’s a closed tour, sometimes with landscapes, sometimes with panoramas, that enables the contact with these historical and natural values.

It has an extension of 18 km and it takes about 6 hours. Its difficulty level is rather low, although the trail towards River Zêzere is a pronounced descent path.

Throughout this tour, we can feel history in several monuments we will be able to observe.

Finally, at the local tourism office, we can see some of the archaeological remains, mainly ceramic pieces.

Roman Oven

Archaeological Monument; this oven is the witness of the Roman presence in Pedrógão Grande.

Via Romana (Roman Via)

Ponte Filipina (Philippine Bridge)

Located at the downstream of Cabril’s Dam, it is believed to be built during the Philippine squatting.

It’s a work worth to be admired; with its three arches, the bigger one with 22 meters of span and 26 meters high; built with enormous blocks of granite.

This bridge, recognized as a National Monument, was until 1954 (date of the inauguration of Cabril’s Dam) the only road connecting with the village of Pedrógão Pequeno and, thus, with Castelo Branco’s district.

Estação Arqueológica do Calvário (Archaeological Centre)

“(…) The archaeological excavations started at the time of the restoring work of Largo da Devesa allowed to discover a small area of a Roman house (Domus) from the 2nd century A.C. and several constructions from the 4th century A.C.

The location of Domus, at half of the mountain, has a privileged position between the peak and a small elevation, nominated tower, and a small water stream that run on Devesa. Around the house, it was the agriculture area; irrigated crops, olive trees, vineyards, grasslands, wheat fields and forests. The Roman Via identified at east (Valada), assured the outflow of the produced agriculture products. We don’t deny the chance of the existence, at the 4th century A.C., of a commercial house, Tavern, for travellers’ assistance (…)”.

With this picture in mind, it would be possible to redo the entire historical scenario and make characters up from these epochs lost in time. We just need to try a little and, thus, understand further this municipality’s history.

Sources: Text - Official Site of Pedrógão Grande at www.cm-pedrogaogrande.pt (Adapted)
Photos:AS/Dueceira and Official Site of Pedrógão Grande