The Aldeias do Xisto project emerged when the idealistic young pretenders to utopia joined the custodians of ancient culture.

Thus heritage and utopia met

The Aldeias do Xisto Network is made up of 27 villages in the interior of the Central Region of Portugal and is a sustainable development project which encompasses the entire region. Led by ADXTUR – Schist Villages Tourism Development Agency, the project includes 230 public and private entities, amongst them 23 Local Authorities, 3 Intermunicipal Communities, 7 Local Action Groups and more than 150 companies operating in the area. ADXTUR brings the region’s public and private interests together under a single banner for the promotion of the region, the preservation of rural culture and heritage, and the creation of wealth through the expansion of tourism services.

ADXTUR's mission is to generate interest in the region, stimulating sustainable, inclusive and shared social and economic development. Fulfilling this mission, considering the difficulties the Aldeias do Xisto territory faces, means we must explore paths less travelled. As such, ADXTUR has been fulfilling the role of agent-experimenter, summoning new actors, thoughts and skills to interact with their communities and, therefore, generate discussion to create and offer goods and services that are crucial to local identity, and promote them to demanding audiences and markets in terms of nature tourism and social responsibility.

The Aldeias do Xisto (Schist Villages) are a brand destination that, over the past few years, have managed to establish a unique enclave within the Central Region, and in the country as a whole, based on tourism, innovation and intuition – a place to live, invest and create. They have done so by always seeking out what is most distinctive and authentic in the landscape and communities, attracting investment and opening the door to projects that generate innovation from the very essence of these places. The relationship with nature, with the land, and with the people has been the guiding principle of this activity, which seeks to revitalise the area based on its unique culture. 

Through several commercial, arts and entrepreneurial endeavours, Aldeias do Xisto have outlined ways to transform ideas into action and resources into returns. In short, to make local culture an asset for economic and social development. Re-creating the culture of places with the people who live in them is the thrust of Aldeias do Xisto’s plans to produce social and economic value in the region. We are exploring our cultural identity, drawing upon creativity and know-how. We can make this area a living laboratory, open to new thinking from people capable of establishing connections to transform the social fabric and giving rise to new ways of doing, living and being.

The spirit of cooperation

ADXTUR – Schist Villages Tourism Development Agency is now a supra-municipal, public-private regional cooperation platform, anchored in continuous, careful, and specialised mobilisation of populations, pooling of wills, and support for investment, all for the development of the territory and a vision for the future. From its inception, the Aldeias do Xisto brand has been drawing the country's attention to a wealth of culture that must be preserved and promoted, challenging Portugal to think about its future without excluding the villages.

This collective vision of the future points to the affirmation of the Aldeias do Xisto as the nexus of territorial attractiveness and supra-municipal concerted action to qualify and mobilise the homegrown potential of the Pinhal Interior and to generate economic activity and employment in the tourism sector, promoting culture and local resources.

The region as a laboratory

Come to the land of wine, new gods! 
Come for its grape juices
The smile of gods and people
When the truth dazzles their faces.

There was Olympus where there was sea and mountains. 
Where the flower of bitterness brought forth perfume.
Where cupped hands took from the fountains 
A freshness that tasted like fire.

Come, beloved lords of youth! 
You have here the laurel of virtue,
The olive branch of peace and the wild lily...

And oak trees, and ancient chestnuts,
In whose shadow a heavenly slumber 
Can make dreams come true.

Miguel Torga

The development strategy focuses on the region's appeal, which requires people to be able to access it. This is only possible if there is an openness to the outside world and the ability to offer unique and unrepeatable experiences based on its distinctive cultural identity. This principle led Aldeias do Xisto to build a living laboratory, bringing creativity and experimentation to the Region to make a centre where transformation of the social fabric might give rise to new ways of doing, living and being.

This approach is intended to continue and deepen the model of research, creative immersion, representation and production, inviting artists, researchers and thinkers to develop projects and artefacts that carry meaning and message, and that stimulate the emergence of new ways of doing, living and being. The focus remains on the laboratory format, traversing different skills, techniques (artisanal and digital) and audiences (craftspeople and students), involving small industrial or family production units, through the project approach that is already well incorporated in the modus operandi of the Aldeias do Xisto: the development of welcoming and creative immersion programmes, technical and artistic research, design, prototyping and production of artefacts and development of projects, boosting knowledge and skill centres in the territory.

To defend and promote artistic trades, research, creativity and daring, experimentation and innovation, in short, the anchoring of people, projects and investment based on these principles represents the investment of the Aldeias do Xisto in creating a homeland where new makers and investors are invited to create the identity of the time and space we inhabit.


The villages are schools - learning spaces where bread, cheese, vegetables, olive oil, walls and houses are made traditionally and where the whole landscape is a reference book. The villages are cultural heritage made of stones and people, the merging of man and nature where we can return to what is essentially human, where it is still possible to imagine a future that trades egocentricity for ecocentricity. 

In this spirit, the Aldeias do Xisto are implementing a series of tourist experiences, with educational and experiential content, with a view to disseminating knowledge that contributes to a more balanced, fair and happy society. They showcase local techniques and knowledge with entrepreneurship and innovation, focusing on the values, practices and resources of the rural world. They bring generations together and create the conditions for people to adapt, endure and transform the settings in which they interact. 

These experiences are founded on local knowledge and hands-on learning, combining traditional and scientific knowledge with innovative solutions for social interaction and integration. Based in the various knowledge and skill centres of the Aldeias do Xisto region, they combine traditional practices with technical and scientific research, in a light-hearted approach to hands-on learning and in a close relationship with the community and its wisdom

It is hoped that they will promote the settlement of people and companies by providing them with the knowledge, techniques and tools needed to deal with the various aspects of living in the context of these places – so they are able to leave urban centres behind and engage with the land, living and enjoying the whole of the country. 


  • Implementation of an entertainment programme entirely dedicated to sharing locally and traditionally based knowledge, bringing generations together and empowering more people to live in the region.
  • Promotion of the Region and the Aldeias do Xisto brand as a destination for living, investing and creating.
  • Diversification of activities and entertainment associated with the Aldeias do Xisto brand
  • Enabling more people to settle in the territory.
  • Deepening society's commitment to the region.
  • Creation of an innovative ecosystem of permanent learning, the development of knowledge and sharing.
  • Creation of the conditions for the flourishing of a community and intergenerational environment of mutual help and support.
  • Preservation and sharing of traditions and local knowledge.

Cultivate your Culture

Re-creating the culture of places with the people who live in them is the thrust of Aldeias do Xisto’s plans to produce social and economic value in the region. It is from this spark of authenticity that Aldeias do Xisto have been building a living laboratory in the Aldeias do Xisto, calling upon the territory's creativity and experimentation to create nuclei where the transformation of the social fabric can give rise to new ways of doing, living and being.

This process is based on three areas of activity:

  • Strategy: Positioning Aldeias do Xisto as a dynamic and contemporary brand that is in line with the principles of environmental, economic and social sustainability.
  • Social: Calling new actors to the territory to participate in economic and human development through modern techniques, revitalising traditional technologies and integrating themselves into the social context.
  • Product: Creating attractive, modern products that tell the story of this region and its identity, contemporary icons that act as symbolic ambassadors for their place of origin, artefacts that speak to the identity and meaningful relationship with the region.

Live, Create, Invest, Enjoy

Regional ambition combined with ADXTUR's know-how led to a proposal for worldwide initiative in both the public and private sectors, anchored in four strategic actions:

  • Visit & Enjoy – Commitment to the tourism sector, structured on consolidated strategic products and stimulating the emergence of new proposals based on local assets and resources.
  • Create & Learn – The promotion of scientific and artistic immersion in order to generate new experiences, prototypes, products and services, that increase and diversify the territory's offer and, at the same time, enable the development of proximity initiatives to improve access to knowledge and new services in the villages, and stimulate joint learning amongst inhabitants, tourists and visitors.
  • Live – Attracting businesses and residents to the area, encouraging urban regeneration incentives that combine traditional materials and techniques with the use of new materials and technology in the service of quality of life, as well as new forms of residence adapted to specific target markets.
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Invest – Attracting and supporting investment in the region, focused on strategic products and related areas with a view to generating employment and sustainable growth