The first time I visited Portugal, I was enchanted by the gorgeous multicolored tiles adorning the interiors and exteriors of churches, town halls, palaces, and even ordinary homes. Called azulejos, these tiles were first introduced to Portugal by the Moors during the 15th century.

The Portuguese kings decided they liked how the Moors used the tiles’ geometric patterns to decorate floors and walls and decreed that they needed to be produced in Portugal. The new tradition flourished and less than a century later, Flemish and Portuguese artisans added their own twist to the craft when they began creating huge panels depicting religious and historical scenes.

Both traditions continue to this day, not only because the tiles are so beautiful but also because they insulate homes from the damp Portuguese winters and sweltering summers.

Over the years I have set many Papo d’Anjo photo shoots against some of the country’s most lovely azulejos. I’ve also installed them in every  home we have lived in as well as the Papo d’Anjo boutique at Harrods flagship store in London.  If you are interested in using azulejos to decorate your own home, the best place to purchase both new and antique tiles is Ceramica de Bicesse outside Lisbon.

There are many online resources where you can see these treasures. But if you ever visit Portugal, here are a few places that my husband, Pascal, and I love most:



1 Response to “Azulejos”

  1. 1 Amy McLane August 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I am so happy to read your blog. My husband has a business in Lisbon but we live in Birmingham, Al and I so hope one day I can travel there with him. Thank you for sharing your favorite places to go. I will put them on my to do lists.

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