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According to legend, Sertã owes its name to the wife of a Lusitanian nobleman who, after her husband died in a battle against the Romans, threw a "sertã" (frying pan) full of boiling oil from the battlements of the castle over the Romans, forcing them to retreat.

The castle, founded by the Romans, belonged to the Order of the Templars, and later to other religious and military Orders, such as the Hospitallers and those of Malta and of Crato, who made a large contribution to the settlement of the region. The castle is now partially in ruins, but still offers an excellent view of the town. It is essential to visit the 15th century Parish Church, inside which one can admire the baroque woodcarving and the 16th and 17th century tiles.

The region is bathed by the Amioso and Sertã rivers and the lagoons of the River Zêzere - Castelo de Bode, Cabril and Bouçã. It is situated in the largest forest area in Europe, so that there is a dominance of green and blue, where one can find the ideal setting for relaxation in contact with nature; alternatively, one can go in for active tourism, especially the various kinds of water sports.

Outstanding among the typical dishes are the famous maranhos (sheep`s innards with rice, chicken etc.), bucho recheado (stuffed pork stomach) and sausages, and for desserts the cartuchos de amêndoa (almond cornets) and the merendas doces (sweet buns).

The Festivals of São João (St John) (24th June) and São Pedro (St Peter) (29th June) enliven the streets of the town with their bonfires. Other festive occasions also deserve to be mentioned, such as those of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of the Cures) (14th and 15th August) and the Holy Week ceremonies.