Museu Nacional Machado de Castro : Michelin's recommendations
This museum, which occupies the former Episcopal palace, which was modified in the 16C is named after the sculptor Machado de Castro, who was born in Coimbra in 1731. The Renaissance porch opens onto a patio-courtyard, and on the west side, a loggia by Philippe Terzi offers a wonderful view over the old cathedral and the lower town as far as Mondego. This museum is particularly rich in sculpture; it exhibits arches and columns from a 12C Roman cloister, and statues from the Middle Ages in the rooms of the left wing, including a small equestrian statue of a medieval knight and a pregnant Virgin (Nossa Senhora do O), by the master Pero. You will see Renaissance scupltures from the Coimbra school, and numerous statues from the 17 and 18C. Objets d'arts and paintings are exhibited in the first floor rooms, whose beautiful wood ceilings (Mudejar ceiling of the "arab room") and rich collection of Portuguese porcelain and ceramics are particularly noticeable. The Flemish and Portuguese painting is represented in the panels of the Santa Clara retable by Isembrand, and the Renaissance Assumption by the master, Vicente Gil. There is also some silverware, including noticeable pieces such as the Chalice of Gueda Mendes (1152) and the reliquary Virgin and Child, originating from Queen Isabel's treasure. In the basement, an impressive series of doors with rounded arches is the first sight of the cryptoportico, the foundation of the market of the roman city of Aeminium, which once stood on the site of Coimbra.