You should allow approximately 2 hours for the tour.
Solar Branco 1885 is located just above the small town of Livramento. There are several original manor houses or “Solares” located within the parish, constructed during the first half of the 19th century, during the height of the orange cycle, when the Azores was an obligatory stopover for the collection of oranges, for long-distance sea voyages to the United Kingdom.
Your hike around the area starts from the gardens of Solar Branco 1885 with a short introduction of the history of the citrus trade and the grounds of the house. From the gardens, you can see one of the original look-out towers where a watchman would alert the orchard owners of the approaching British clippers, and thus the need to start picking the fruit. For in those days there was no refrigeration, so this was a race against time, The short hike up to this landmark gives a stunning view of the town and ocean.
“Even today there is evidence of the great orange-growing industry that dominated several of the islands in the 19th century; look in the numerous small gardens with their tall enclosing hedges of banksias and pittosporum. Grand townhouses also reflect the wealth this crop generated, and the development of the countryside by land purchased for rural estates is significant history. Far less known are the implications all these oranges had for transportation between the Azores and England, the major export customer. Citrus was a luxury fruit, available in season from November to May only, and its peak of desirability for the Victorians was Christmas when oranges and lemons were the fruit to have displayed on the table. And most of these came from the Azores.” – David Sayers, Azores
From the look-out tower, we will walk through the town of Livramento, taking in the original church, built in the early 17th century. Moving through the town, you will walk past several other “Solares” built from the wealth that the citrus trade brought to the islands.
The walk finishes back at the house with a cup of tea or G&T as you prefer.