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In 1122 D. Maria Seseriquiz, her sister and children, donated the Fontelo farm to the prelate D. Odório and the Cathedral of Viseu.

Construction of the palace started in 1399, under the bishop, D.João Homem. Two pointed-arch windows from this time were revealed on removal of the stucco.

In 1426 D. Garcia has the primitive Santa Marta Chapel built.

D. Miguel da Silva, Bishop of Viseu from 1526 to 1547, a distinguished patron and humanist, has the present Italian Renaissance gardens built.

In 1565 D. Gonçalo Pinheiro ordered significant renovations and had the S. Jerónimo [St. Jerome] Chapel built as well as the Portal da Cruz, the gateway now located at the roundabout in front of the Casa do Cruzeiro.

Between 1569 and 1578 D. Jorge de Ataíde has the corridors and the dormitory cells built in the palace.

The palace served as a hospice in 1677, but this was abolished between 1744 and 1764 by the Bishop, D. Júlio Francisco de Oliveira.

In August, 1876, the Viseu Town Hall moved the portico back by 9.5 metres in accordance with the Bishop D. António Alves Martins so as to widen the street.

The building was abandoned until 1833. D. José Dias Correia de Carvalho had it rebuilt as well as having the gardens, fountains and pools renovated as well.

According to the Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Portugal, tome XII, p. 725, published in 1890, the definition of Fontelo at that time was as follows: “… the palace is a very irregular building, constructed on various dates, without imponence and architectural ornamentation but very spacious with large rooms and a good continuous chapel, dedicated to Santa Marta [St. Martha] and decorated with precious paintings dedicated to Grão Vasco…”

In 1911 the state of conservation of Fontelo was good but the rents collected by the Mitre were insufficient for its upkeep.

Once the Republic was installed, power over the Fontelo palace and farm was wrested from the clergy in 1912. The estate became property of the Ministry of War to hold Army reserves. Part of the farmland became the property of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Viseu Town Hall received the gardens and wood for public access and recreation for an annual rent of 800$00 [PTE].

On 29 March 1926 the Town Hall takes definitive possession of the wood, the old palace garden and part of the land around Fontelo.
Today Fontelo is the town’s main sports zone as well as visitor’s favourite picnic area.
When the old Fontelo Episcopal Palace was renovated it was dilapidated. It had previously been a ‘Casa de Reclusão’ and later occupied by some families of returnees from the former colonies.

Renovating this building has been carried out jointly by the Viseu Town Hall and the Comissão Vitivinícola Regional do Dão, the Dão Regional Viticulture Commission.
The aim was to install the Commission and has taken the name of the Solar do Vinho do Dão.
It is located in the Fontelo Wood, east of the city, and 800 metres from the Viseu Cathedral and the Grão Vasco Museum.

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