The Almonda River crosses this city with its most notorious monument – the eleven-tower castle. You can still see the marks left by the Roman civilisation in the area, such as the Roman ruins of Villa Cardillio.
Castle of Torres Novas
The date in which the Castle of Torres Novas was built remains unknown along with the first people to occupy this city. The Greek, Romans, or Celts are believed to have had a fortification in the area before the Arabs occupied it. It is known that the Castle already existed at the time of the Christian Reconquest.
The 1755 earthquake caused great damage, and in the 19th century, Napoleon’s invasion ended up destroying the medieval wall. The Castle of Torres Novas would only recover its beauty from yonder years following the reconstruction works in the early 20th century.
GPS 39°28'48.62"N 8°32'27.52"W
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
One mile away from Torres Novas, we see the caves in the village of Lapas. This dug up labyrinth of galleries from the rock was probably discovered around the Neolithic period, in 10 000 B.C. The Romans are believed to have been the first exploring them, and according to legend these caves had a secret path connecting them to the Castle, although this was never confirmed.
Lapas caves are artificial – dug up by mankind. Part of the caves is located under houses and serves as workshops, basements, pens, or wine lodges, and is enclosed by walls. The other part is considered as a natural monument having been preserved and protected.
GPS 39°29'34.60"N 8°33'14.24"W
The Roman ruins of Villa Cardillio
The Roman ruins of Villa Cardillio are located about two miles away from Torres Novas. They were discovered during the excavations of Colonel Afonso Paço, in 1962.
These excavations uncovered the Roman heritage that had been hiding there for centuries: coins from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, ware, bronze pieces, Assyrian and Egyptian glass, coloured stuccoes, rings, and a statue of Eros.
You can also see at the Villa Cardillio the base of a building with coloured mosaics, a number of foundations, column bases, and decorated pavements with several tesserae patterns.
The name of this archaeological finding is due to the inscription therein, which reads ‘Cardilium’ – possibly the villa’s owner.