Azulejo Factory

The Portuguese word azulejo (painted ceramic tile) comes from the Arabic azzelij, meaning ‘little polished stone’, originally referring to Byzantine mosaics. Used since ancient times, in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, azulejos were brought to the Iberian peninsula by the Moors. In Portugal they really took hold in the 15th and 16th centuries (having earlier been imported from Spain) both in Portuguese territory and in the Empire, in Brazil, India and Africa. With the Industrial Revolution many of the original characteristics were lost. The Fábrica de Azulejos São Simão Arte factory continues to make tiles by hand, inspired by the techniques of Portuguese artisans of the 16th century. This guided visit awaits you as part of our Wine & Arrábida tour.