The traditional village of Viana do Alentejo recognizes the transmission of the generational knowledge of the clay work as one of the lines of its cultural and artistic identity. From the “green clay” of the Baiões homestead to the alguidar de bordo saliente, the cultural heritage of Viana do Alentejo has the silhouette of the utilitarian shapes and the colors of modernity of the local ceramics: in a production centered on pieces of everyday use, we find a decoration with strong reminiscences in the teachings of the Escola de Olaria Médico de Sousa, where the geometric drawing and the figurative Alentejo representations of the countryside and local heritage scenarios are a record of memory for all generations.

With strong evidence in terms of the ceramic remains found in the vicinity of the Santuário de Nossa Senhora d’Aires and the Romeira hill, the roman and arab presences in Viana do Alentejo are attested by the archaeological works of names like Leite de Vasconcelos, Félix Alves and José Oliveira Caeiro.

In the medieval period, the King D.Dinis rescues the Herdade de Foxem for the Portuguese Crown, donated to D. Gil Martins Riba de Vizela by D. Afonso III, the same that in 1255 granted the local potters authorization to extract clay at the Baiões homestead.

The settlement was granted a charter in 1313, together with authorization to erect a fortification. In 1481, Viana do Alentejo was to receive the closure of the portuguese courts.

Guided by an ideal of social progress and economic development, António Isidoro de Sousa, leader of the movement that in 1898 would restore the municipality of Viana do Alentejo, implements two pioneering projects in 19th century Portugal: the União Vinícola e Oleícola do Sul (UVOS) ) in 1892, Portugal’s first cooperative winery, and in 1893 the Escola de Olaria Médico de Sousa, the country’s first ceramic school.

This school-workshop would become a true cultural pole for Portugal in the 50/60 of the 20th century: the reforms implemented by Aníbal Alcino, based on the work developed by Júlio Resende, and the results of his pedagogical plan (like the Colective Honorable Mention in the 1st National Ceramics Exhibition) would attract important cultural figures like Júlio Reis Pereira, António Charrua and Vergílio Ferreira.

Bernardino Bengalinha

Bernardino Bengalinha Pinto

Mayor of Viana do Alentejo

Message from the Mayor of Viana do Alentejo

The tranquil village of Viana do Alentejo draws its historical roots in its people and traditions, merging in its cultural heritage the eclecticism of the artistic styles of the built heritage with popular traditions.

Traditional pottery translates as a prominent cultural mark of the village, with utilitarian forms and decorative processes being true inheritances of Roman ceramics and the old Médico de Sousa school-workshop.

Safeguarding with increased heritage value of local clay are fundamental prerogatives for the connection of Viana with APTCVC and its programmatic lines.


Bernardino Bengalinha Pinto

Mayor of Viana do Alentejo