The imposing bell towers of the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora can be seen from several vantage points around Lisbon. Known as a cultural and spiritual mecca in the Alfama neighborhood, the site attracts many visitors throughout the year. One of the monastery’s least promoted, but undeniably fascinating attractions is its collection of seashells from the shorelines and estuaries of Portugal.
Chosen from the collection of Maria Cândida Consolado Macedo, former Director of the Malacology Department of the Portuguese Center for Underwater Activities, the unexpected exhibit features shells from various species of mollusks, clams, conches, and many more.
The collection is beautifully arranged in display cases according to species. Informative wall placards and photography denote areas where the shells were collected, either by Macedo herself, teams she directed, or through dredging expeditions.
The sheer amount of shells and their diversity make this gallery a must-see in São Vicente.
Know Before You Go
On the same upper floor of the monastery where this collection is located, visitors will also find tiled depictions of 38 of La Fontaine’s Fables.