Visiting Villa do Corvo Town in Azores
|January 1, 2012||Posted by Chris under Travel Destinations|
For those visitors who are content to admire the views of Corvo island from the base of the Vila do Corvo church staircase and from the church itself there is a funicular to the top or a steep twisting road to drive up. On the terrace around the church there are two B&B’s and a tea shop, and dramatic views over the surrounding countryside. The statues of historical figures that are arranged around the terrace are attractively stately and though there are many visitors the atmosphere remains that of a national shrine rather than that of a world-renowned tourist venue.
The main doorway of the church is flanked by statues of Josiah and Jeremiah, and is richly decorated. The interior, too, in a neoÂ-Classical style somewhat unusual for the area, is well proportioned, though with too great and unnecessary prominence given to the central pillars The altarpiece is quite extraordinary with its life-size representation of the scene at Calvary including the family of Jesus, Roman soldiers and sixteen figures in all.
The strangest sight in the church, however, is the preservation and display of a figure that is claimed to be the mortal remains of St Clement. The pinched, drawn figure, its skin tightly drawn across its bones, is bizarrely dressed in light blue and white cap and knickerÂbockers. On some of the side altars pilgrims leave votive offerings, affliction for which intercession is sought. Pictures and photographs of loved ones for whom prayers are sought are also left.
In rather lighter mood there is a pleasant walk in the woods behind the church and, hidden amongst the trees, surprisingly, there is a boating lake and tennis courts.
There is a nominal entrance fee but in return one receives a small map and guide to the settlement. Most of the smaller items have been removed to the Martins Sarmento Museum in Angra, but the scale of the site is in itself surprising and intriguing.