Following the meeting with project partners iBuy, promoted by ANI - Agência Nacional de Inovação (National Agency for Innovation) in Lisbon, in partnership with the IMPIC - Instituto dos Mercados Públicos, do Imobiliário e da Construção (the Institute of Public Markets, Real Estate and Construction), a study visit took place on October 15 to the Park and Palace of Monserrate, which is currently managed by Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua SA.

Parques de Sintra welcomed the group of approximately 30 participants for a visit which provided varying experiences, all taking place within the Park and Palace of Monserrate - one of the most beautiful architectural and scenic creations related to Romanticism in Portugal. The participants had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the innovation public procurement process that Parques de Sintra is currently implementing, as well as a chance to experience the Palace and Park of Monserrate and the new Nature Interpretation Center.

Parques de Sintra’s testimonial served to complement and enrich the study on innovation public procurement which ANI had been developing, by way of the measures they have been introducing - resulting in an encounter with iBuy, the project financed by the European Commission, whose goal is to empower public authorities as promoters for innovation by way of public contracts. 

The first part of the visit consisted of a brief introduction to the palace and its background within Serra de Sintra (the Sintra Mountains). The palace itself dates back to the 19th century. It was designed by architect Thomas James Knowles, by order of Sir Francis Cook, viscount of Monserrate, and is considered to be one of the most prominent examples of national romantic architecture. The park surrounding the palace is one of the richest botanical gardens in Portugal, and one of the most beautiful landscapes associated with Romanticism in Portugal. Here, one may find thousands of species of autochthonous and exotic plants.

Inside one of the rooms of the Palace of Monserrate, a presentation regarding Parques de Sintra and its mission as the public entity which has assumed the responsibility for the protection and appreciation of the Cultural and Natural Landscape of Sintra, took place. The entity’s responsibilities include rehabilitation, revitalization, promotion, investigation and exploration of the properties which comprise: the Pena National Palace and Park, the Monserrate Palace and Park, the Capuchos Convent, the Garden and Chalet of Countess Edla, the Sintra National Palace, the Queluz National Palace and Gardens, and the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art - with headquarters at the historical Gardens of Queluz.

For the following moment, the group was made aware of the innovation public procurement process which Parques de Sintra is involved in, within the scope of the “Parques de Sintra Acolhem Melhor” (Parques de Sintra is a Better Accommodator) project, which seeks to improve the conditions of accessibility within the Parks and Monuments that are managed by the company, as well as make these an example of good practices for accessible tourism. Innovation public procurement aims to create new sensory perception visiting experiences for a wider range of visitors, regardless of their characteristics and capacities. Implementing innovation can therefore promote new forms of public service, which in turn can also boost the revitalization of heritage values and social progress.

The afternoon ended with a visit to the Nature Interpretation Center, a place which was recently inaugurated - and that has become yet another tool that Parques de Sintra places at the public's disposal - promoting a more complete and in-depth visit and at the same time taking advantage of the natural and cultural potential of its heritage. The Nature Interpretation Center is aimed towards schools and families, and has the purpose of promoting contact with nature, environmental awareness and the broadening of knowledge relative to the fauna and flora present in the ecosystems which typify the Serra de Sintra region. Also located within Park of Monserrate, it was inaugurated on October 17 - and is meant to promote the use of digital tools for augmented reality, education and learning as an essential means for the exchange of information.

© PSML | Luís Duarte (para as imagens do CIN)
© PSML | EMIGUS (para as imagens do Palácio de Monserrate)

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