"The proud little town of Évora ... was once a Roman town (second century B.C. to fourth century A.D.), important because of its wealth of wheat and silver, as well as its location on a trade route to Rome. Most of Évora's Roman past is buried under the houses and hotels of today (often uncovered by accident when plumbing work needs to be done in basements)." —Rick Steves
In Évora, all roads lead to Rome—or at least to the ruins of the ancient Roman Temple of Diana, which stands at the apex of the historical city center. A maze of curved, narrow streets wind up and up and up to the ruins, where one is afforded an expansive bird's-eye view of the surrounding Alentejo countryside.
Our group spent just one night in this wonderful location, in a blissful hotel. I would have loved to spend additional nights and have more time to luxuriate in its modern room amenities, cool off in the sparkling blue pool at the foot of the ancient aqueduct that runs through the village, and feast in its inviting in-house restaurant.
Although we spent less than 24 hours in this gem of a place, we packed in the memories:
- Guided walking tour that took us through the town center and past the city's municipal building; into historic churches, including the amazing-but-creepy Chapel of Bones; and down super-narrow streets where cars barely fit and battled it out at intersections
- Relief from the heat provided by well-chilled and deeply delicious sangria at a warm restaurant (without a.c., as was typical everywhere we went)
- An afternoon of respite in the hotel pool
- The "getting to know you" evening orientation (story in the People section)
- A late-night gelato-and-caipirinha run
- A pre-sunrise walk from hotel to Temple of Diane, watching the morning light illuminate the alleys and stucco buildings
On a sunrise walk through this magical town, I happened upon this corner market where a shopkeeper was stocking his produce shelves while a customer. Love observing little moments of real life happening.
Click photos to enlarge.