Raio Palace

Braga, Portugal

The Palace of Raio (Palácio do Raio) is a Baroque era residence in Braga. It is an example of the late Baroque, early Rococo style of decoration by Portuguese architect André Soares, notable for his influence in the northern Baroque movement.

The construction of this ornate palace was ordered by João Duarte de Faria, a knight of the Order of Christ, who was a rich merchant. In 1760, the staircase was painted. A century later, the residence was acquired by Miguel José Raio, then Viscount of São Lázaro (in 1867), thus, over time, becoming known as the Palace of Raio.

The palace is a two-storey buildings, consisting of several three-doors on the main floor, flanked by ornate framed windows, and the second-floor consisting of several windows and balconies. The roof is topped by a veranda of balusters, with ornate vegetal pinnacles.

Over the main portal, deeply indented, is a sumptuous balcony of balusters, flanked by two decorative sculptures. The lintel over this second-floor balcony is monolithic. Its cornice, which is exceptionally recessed, and crowned by a balustrade consisting of six flaming sculptures, while four blazing amphorae on its flanks over an Ionic pilasters frame.

The main floor is embellished by frames of carved granite, and the outline of the wrought iron balconies. Apart from the main entrance, are two lateral doorways (all of which are painted in complementary blue). While the facade is covered in azulejo tile (and installed in the 19th century), the whole building is built from fine-grained granite. On the landing, the azulejos were likely executed by Bartolomeu Antunes, owing to the different interpretations of the Rococo: one more traditional, from a workshop in Lisbon; and another, which predominates a northern agitation, from Braga.

This residence is considered one of the most important public works of André Soares, presenting a facade that is profusely decorated, where the general symmetry contrasts with the asymmetries introduced by the windows. This is particularly true of the central section.



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Founded: 1754
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Portugal

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Petra G (3 months ago)
Palacio do Raio is an 18th century Baroque style building. It's a lovely residence, fit for anyone who could afford it! It is an example of the opulent past.
River - Glad or Mad Australia (3 months ago)
We arrived during their lunch break, and it was closed. Although the exterior looked okay, we didn't find it too attractive, so we didn't end up waiting for an hour for the door to reopen
V Kite (8 months ago)
This is a somewhat quirky place to visit. It's interesting but not something I would go out of my way to visit inside. It takes about 10 minutes. The exterior is the most outstanding feature.
Carlos Lindade (9 months ago)
It’s an interesting building with a small exhibition of church related objects. If you’re interested in local history this is worth the visit. However, if you have little to no interest in religious items, don’t waste your time.
jjpea (13 months ago)
Really cool experience, lots to learn about the area and buildings. There is a lift/elevator. The staff will have to walk you through the office areas to get to the lift. They drop you off on the top floor and will meet you in the same room where you started to bring you back down. Some places online say it's free, but there is a small fee. No photos allowed. ?‍♂️
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