Located on the right bank of the Sever River, in the heart of Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, Quinta dos Olhos d’Água owes its name to the bubbling spring that can be seen in the calm waters of the small lake.
Very close to the Roman city of Ammaia, its water potential may have been exploited by the Romans and, unsurprisingly, over time, there have been countless Roman remains found on the property.
It was property of the São Bernardo Monastery in Portalegre, very valuable for its generous production of fruit and vegetables, a permanent source of crystalline water and for having a watermill, a mill or cube mill and a low dam.
The central building has on its facade a slab dating from 1816 and it was here that the Maçãs family installed an olive oil press and a grinding mill, both hydraulic, supported by stables, ovens, canals and shop.
The owner António Maçãs, when he lived here, and for being a curious archaeologist, was always collecting archaeological finds in the property and even buying them from neighbours who did not give them importance or value. He started a collection of Roman glass and clay that would later be offered to the National Museum of Archaeology. He became a great friend of the archaeologist Leite de Vasconcelos, one of the first to work at Ammaia.
Throughout the 30s, 40s and 50s of the 20th century, the property is successively rented and is one of the favourite destinations for Sunday walks by the people of Marvão, Castelo de Vide and Portalegre, especially for the lake, but also for the Moura Cave, famous for its depth and colonies of bats, now Geosite.
In 1958, a project to capture the waters of the Olhos d’Água for the public supply begins and in 1961 it was already delivering water to the city of Portalegre. It is the beginning of the end of the tourist and economic interest in the property.
At the end of the twentieth century it was acquired by ICN – Instituto de Conservação de Natureza, I.P. (Institute of Nature Conservation), which intervenes in all the property’s properties, updating them to meet the demands of the new millennium, and reinforces the protection of the lake, the fauna and flora that exist here, so that it can be affirmed as a farm for the discovery of nature.
The Deputy Secretary of State, Jorge Moreira da Silva, officially opened on February 1, 2005.
On 15 April 2019, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, in the auditorium of Quinta dos Olhos d’Água, an agreement was signed between the ICNF and the Marvão International Academy for Music, Arts and Sciences so that it can boost its actions in that unique area and promote this protected area.