Be ready to be truly amazed when you book a tour of the workshops of the Museum of Decorative Artes (Museu Artes Decorativas FRESS) This is exactly what Gwen McCauley of Algarve Experiences was when I took her there last month. Check our her reactions below to my choice of a Lisbon site not to be missed if you are a connoisseur of the finer things in life.
"When I first arrived back in Portugal, Your-Lisbon-Guide arranged for us to visit the Museum of Decorative Arts Museu Artes Decorativas FRESS. Turns out it is one of those hidden gems that Lisbon is so famous for. Thank goodness I had a knowledgeable insider to show me around!
This is a stunning museum, especially because it offers tours of its workshops, where you can see exceptionally skilled artisans using skills that were common in the 15th to 18th century but which are now exceptionally rare. Whether they are refurbishing ancient art treasures or creating replicas, I was astounded not only by their skills but by the degree of friendly acceptance they offered to me as a tourist.
For the next few days, we'll view the 6 different workshops Mary and I visited. And before we even get to our first workshop, we'll have a look at the array of wood veneers that Magdalena showed us in the Gift Shop. I've dabbled a bit in woodworking, just enough to understand the richness and diversity of treasures we were being shown.
This is one museum I'll not soon forget. And sadly, it may not be available to the public much longer. Margarida Serra, our guide and the Museum's Tour Liaison Officer has told us that they have just lost sponsorship from their major funder. So get there soon. Better still, let me know if you know anyone who is seeking a fine establishment to sponsor and support. Once these skills are lost, the world will be a much poorer place!