São Simão Arte – Tiles and handmade earthenware unique in the world

São Si

Translated by Google

São Simão Arte is a space located in Vila Fresca de Azeitão, about 40 minutes south of Lisbon. And 20 minutes away from the city of Setúbal. This space produces earthenware and tiles and is the oldest and most traditional in the region, although similar spaces exist in the surroundings today.

São Simão Arte opened its doors on the 10th of November 1966 and produces by hand the most beautiful pieces of faience and faience tiles that we can find throughout Portugal. From the eighties, she was “sponsored” by some members of the family from the Soares Franco region (the family producing the famous José Maria da Fonseca wines). With the help of these dedicated philanthropists, he has had the opportunity to take greater steps and spread the fame of his authenticity around the world. São Simão Arte has a list of customers from all continents, who buy by order.

As Azeitão is a very famous region, it has several small villages with this name: Vila Nogueira de Azeitão (the main and best known); Vila Fresca de Azeitão and Brejos de Azeitão.

Azeitão and neighboring Palmela are the birthplace of the famous Portuguese liquor Moscatel (made with muscat grapes, grape brandy and lots of secrets). This fact makes this region not only rich in gastronomic products but also in producing families, or not, with medium / high economic power. And in this theme, the predominance of the tile in the decoration of the facades, of the walls of the interior gardens of the houses, of fountains, decorative and informative plaques, etc., comes into play.

The tile is found on every corner. Thus being inseparable from the word Azeitão.

The secret of S. Simão Arte is to produce its tiles and earthenware using centuries-old manual processes. Virtually 100% of the production of a part is manual, including all production processes. This company also restores old tiles.

The facilities of São Simão Arte can be visited free of charge every day, however it is very advisable to call first to reserve a time. In a genuinely unique visit to this space, all stages of production can be seen; buy tiles in the store or, place orders of all types and sizes. It is also possible to organize small workshops, where you can experience some stages of production and paint tiles. In the latter case, upon payment and without a doubt, prior reservation is required.

The photograph is from the tiled workshop, however, the techniques of ceramics and earthenware can also be deepened. There are two stores: tiles and ceramics.


By Joana Ramalhinho

Accredited Tourist Guide, Setúbal


Translated by Google

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