SOLAR, MANSÃO, CASA DE CAMPO GRANDE/ NOUN-PORTUGUESE; SOLAR: MEANING: LARGE COUNTRY HOUSE. BRANCO (PORTUGUESE) /BRANCO, BRANCURA/ NOUN-PORTUGUESE: MEANING: WHITE.
We are asked what Solar Branco means in English, as this is a Portuguese name. Solar or Case de Campo Grande, translates into English as a large country house. Branco, meaning white. There are a number of Solars in the town of Livermeno, the most of any district in fact as these were large country houses, built outside of the port of Ponta Delgada. The town originally grew many oranges due to its location on the south of the island and proximity to the port. This access meant that it was a perfect place to build these palatial houses.
The difference between a Quinta and a Solar is interestingly not always the size of the land. A Quina in English means “working farm.” The people who owned and worked on the land would live in the house or Quinta. The Solar as a building would house the rich landowners, typically Engish or Portuguese merchants involved with the citrus trade, sailing from Sao Miguel to London. Solars will also typically have a chapel on the grounds as well. Our property is believed to have had a small chapel, sadly this was building was lost in a previous renovation but the outline can still be found if you look carefully.
Solars are protected buildings under Portuguese law, with strict building codes to ensure the preservation as part of the history of the Azores and mainland Portugal.