An odd fame hit Monsanto in 1938 when it was voted "most Portuguese villages in Portugal". The Village is at one with the granite hillside on wich it perches: its lanes blend into the grey rock, the houses squeezed beteween massive boulders. Tiny garders sprout from the granite and dogs drink from granite bowls.The ruined castle began as a castro, a Lusitanian fortified settlement, and suffered a long history of sieges and battles for its commanding position . It was finally destroyed by a 19th century gunpowder explosion. Cars cannot venture beyond the village centre, but the view alone is worth the walk up to the ruined walls.A story is told of how a long siege by the Moors drove the hungry villagers to a desperate ploy. They threw their last calf, full of their last grain, over the walls, a show of profligacy that convinced the Moors to give up. Each May there is a mock re-enactement of the victory amid much music and singing.