The Monte Palace Tropical Garden occupies an area of 70.000 square meters and houses an huge exotic plant’s collection, coming from all over the world, together with swans and duck’s, that populates the central lake, peacocks and chickens, that walk free in the main areas of the property. In the central lake, the visitor may also admire the beauty and majesty of the swans. They prefer the relatively shallow cool water of lakes and ponds as their natural habitat. Despite of being actually admired in gardens all over the world, the black swans originate from Australia, Tasmania and New Zeeland and the wild white swans have their origin in Iceland and Scandinavia.
The Monte Palace Museum is an ideal exhibition space nestled within the beautiful surroundings of a tropical garden. There are three floors, two of which are dedicated to sculptures and the third houses a unique mineral collection gathered from the four corners of the world.
The exposition entitled 'African Passion' shows part of a collection of contemporary Zimbabwean sculpture from the period 1966 to 1969. More than a 1000 sculptures are distributed on two floors of the museum. The top floor concentrates on individual creations, allowing the viewer time to observe the characteristics and workmanship of each artist. The second floor captures the environment in which these talented men and women work in order to create and display their sculptures to the world.
'Mother Nature's Secrets', on the lower floor, proudly exhibits one of the finest private collections of minerals, predominately from Brazil, Portugal, South Africa, Zambia, Peru, Argentina and North America. From more than a 1000 specimens, around 700 have been specially chosen for display. Some specimens are displayed in hollows designed to imitate the environment in which the minerals form in the depths of our planet, whilst others are “suspended in air” to give the sensation of a planetary space where rocky masses gravitate freely. Also for your enjoyment is an exhibition of more than 300 semiprecious and precious gems, with a particular focus on diamonds, both rough and cut.
One of the most interesting characteristics of the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is the existence of a large collection of tile panels placed along the walkways and amongst the vegetation acquired by José Berardo, under the specialist direction of Manuel Leitão. This collection, considered to be one of the most important in the country after that of the National Tile Museum, is made up of Hispano-Moorish tiles of the 15th and 16th centuries and panels produced in Portugal from the 19th to the 20th centuries.