The Place of Taboadella

A history with a Roman soul

Although the records of Taboadella date back to 1255, historical research has revealed that it was occupied far earlier, and its original use dates back to the 1st century when it housed a Roman Villae, at the time an upper rural class estate that consisted of a house, a wine cellar and a barn, together with other small constructions tucked away in a forest of pine, oak and chestnut trees. This "Silvã", or forest in Latin, coincides with the name of the current parish - Silvã de Cima - and indicates how this agricultural community has persisted over time.

The Villae reflects a form of organisation that functioned as one of the core supporting pillars of the Roman Empire, whose occupation strategy included planting vines on conquered inland zones, as a form of territorial and cultural demarcation, as well as a means of generating income. Several archaeological remains have been identified from this period, in particular building ceramics (imbrices and tegulae) and for everyday use (hispanic sigillata), hand-driven millstones, architectural elements, a granite funerary plaque with the inscription L∙A(hedera?) ICO / ANN(orum) XXV ∙ H(ic) ∙ S(itus) ∙ E(st) and the Roman winepress, one of the oldest traces of winemaking in the Dão region.

The wine press in the monolithic boulder

Built next to the vineyard and not far from the houses, the wine press in the monolithic boulder is one of the oldest historical vestiges of winemaking technology in the Dão region, demonstrating the importance of wine in the payment of military wages and a strategic product in those times.

The Taboadella wine press consists of three basic components: the floor, the lower basin and the top surface.

  • The rectangular floor, about 2.70 meters long, was where the grapes were crushed;
  • The deep lower basin, where alforges” (traditional double shoulder bags) or ceramic pots were placed, into which the must flowed through a small opening;
  • And the top plate, a flatter surface, protected by a rim, where the grape skins and seeds accumulated.

Although we have a lot of information about the winegrowing and winemaking processes of the Roman era, some questions remain about the type of technology used in pressing, and the hypothesis of pressing by a large stone is more commonly accepted.

The zone of the upper forest (Silvã de Cima) with records dating back to antiquity

Taboadella is located in Silvã de Cima - in the municipality of Sátão in the district of Viseu - which many years ago was a small parish in the land of Golfar, that was donated to knights and subsequently belonged to the Order of Christ (Knights Templar) and elevated to the status of ‘municipality’, having received the formal charter of King D. Manuel, on 20 August 1504.

The property appears to have belonged to several aristocratic families, as shown in the 19th century coat of arms of the Azeredo e Albuquerque families, which can be seen in the distance in the main house, surrounded by an ancient and typical garden of a beautiful and elegant Dão family home of the epoch.

The records found under the name of Taboadella are even older. But the name Taboadella goes back much further in antiquity, with records in the 17th and 18th centuries, and even a mention in the King’s census commissioned by King João III, in 1527. There is also a reference in the Leitura Nova (an important historical document of the time) of King Manuel I, and in the Inquirições (Surveys) of King Afonso III, in 1258.

A place filled with life and character, that still makes us feel the “modus vivendi” of the past.