The Painted Houses owe their name to the unique set of 16th century Frescoes that decorate the gallery and adjoining oratory in the garden. The Painted Houses are classified as Building of Public Interest since 1950.
At the time the frescoes were painted, the House was owned by Francisco da Silveira, 3º Coudel-Mor (Master of the Horse) of the Kings Manuel I and João III and also a poet referred to in Cancioneiro Popular (General Songbook).
In the late 16th century, the Painted Houses were adjoined to the Palace of the Inquisition, housing the judges of the Holy Office.
In the 19th century, a theatre called "Teatro Eborense", Évora's first public entertainment venue, was installed in the housing complex of Casas Pintadas.
In the early sixties of the 20th century, Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida, who instituted the Foundation, acquired the property, which he adapted and ceded, to house the Society of Jesus in Évora. The Jesuit priests were responsible for the scientific coordination of ISESE (Economic and Social Institute of Évora), established in 1964 which operated in the adjoining Palace of the Inquisition, by then owned by the Foundation and which today houses the Eugénio de Almeida Forum.
The decorations in the garden gallery are among the most interesting artistic manifestations of the sort existing in Portugal, a unique example of palatial mural paintings from the first half of the 16th century.
In 2008, the Foundation undertook a project aimed at enhancing and requalifying the garden of Casas Pintadas and in 2011 the set of frescoes was the object of study and of an intervention designed to consolidate and restore, being now accessible to the public through a program of guided tours.