When you are in the centre of Porto it is hard to miss the 18th century Clerigos tower. As it loomed over the skyline, it made a good landmark for me to navigate by. Just as its architect, Nicolau Nasoni, is hard to miss when you are in Porto. As I rapidly skimmed the pages on Porto’s architecture which Google collected at my request, the name of Nasoni popped up again and again. After visiting the cathedral we decided to walk to the Clerigos church. Porto’s center is very compact, and it is a really short walk between the cathedral and this lovely Baroque church.
The inside was quite as ornate as a Baroque church is expected to be (see the detail of the vault in the featured image). The striking exceptionality of the design is that it stands in a very narrow parcel of land. The interior is terribly cramped, as you realize when you squeeze past other tourists. But when you sit down on one of the benches in the church, the perspective feels like you are in a spacious church. The manipulation of perspective becomes apparent only when you approach the altar or the decorations on the walls: they are much higher than you expected them to be. This is Nicolau Nasoni’s masterpiece. He probably thought he hadn’t done anything better, since he chose to be interred here.
We did not have the energy to climb the high tower and look out over the rooftops of Porto. We walked out and found that in the square behind it (Largo Amores de Pedrição) there is a large building which houses the Portuguese Center for Photography. The building was under renovation, and the exhibits were essentially in one downstairs room. It was a small but nice collection, and we were happy to spend some time looking through it.