Around 1 km from the city of Setúbal, there is the imposing Fort of São Filipe (Saint Philip) guarding access to the Sado river. It is named after the king who ordered its construction, Filipe I of Portugal and the II of Spain, in 1590. Italian military engineer Filipe Terzi, protégé of the Spanish Royal Court, was awarded the project. It was completed in 1600 but under the guidance of Leonardo Torreano due to the death of Filipe Terzi.
These fortifications are an example of the adaptations being made due to new military strategies and the progress in ballistic firepower that was being made at the beginning of the 17th century. The star shape and the thickness of the double walls, and wide moat, ensured attacks could not be so concentrated hence increasing the defensive effectiveness.
On the inside, the fort was protecting a number of buildings including the former governors residence and a small chapel decorated in tiles completed by the artist Policarpo de Oliveira Bernardes. These represent scenes from the life of Saint Philip and are dated 1736.
The Fort has now been transformed into the Pousada de São Filipe.