Imagine a little enchanted village with only 12 people…
Just 3 families live in this place, hidden in a protected natural area called Penedo do Lexim. Even during the pandemic, the village continued to receive guests in the summer. I’m telling you the story of a sweet village that became the dream of a couple, Diogo Batalha and Ana Partidário. They lived in Lisbon but were searching for a country house in the region of Mafra known as “Saloia”, in Portugal. They search within military letters, trying to find their dream. They’ve compared two letters separated by 180 years and found out that the Aldeia da Mata Pequena, was one of the rare cases, where the number of houses remained the same through time, faithful to their origins.
They found this preciousness and bought their home in 1998. After the reconstruction, they started to live there in 2001. But the dream was just starting, they wanted to make more and more, and they began to build a touristic project. Nowadays, they receive people from all corners of the world, and they own 14 of the 22 houses in the village. Come to meet this amazing place that receives guests in the local grocery and that maintains intact its history with all the architecture and objects from other times…
1. How did you start to make your dream come true?
We started to rebuild our own house in 1998 and then we rehabilitated 13 more. The works began in 2004 and in 2006 we already were receiving guests. Besides that, and because in the village we are 3 different families, we’ve talked with them to also improve their homes. We had a first dream that was to live in a country house, and we had a second part of the dream, which was to recover patrimony to tourism and turn it into rural tourism.
2. What did you try to preserve in these houses and the village?
We had the concern to preserve the original architecture and the identity of the houses, we were very strict with that to preserve the history of the place. We try to do this not only in the architecture but also in maintaining the inside format of the houses and their furniture such as the old crockeries and the typical ovens. There are homes with stables, manger, salt chests, mezzanines, and antique kitchens. We have preserved everything, but we didn’t forget to insert good comfort conditions and habitability, to ensure tourism with absolute quality.
3. Which are your sources to be faithful to the past?
We’ve talked with the people that lived here to obtain all kinds of information about the area and the houses. The ruins are a rich source of information, and the old houses in the surroundings were also an inspiration for us. We rehabilitated many houses in ruins that are now beautiful. We receive the guests in our grocery store, we have the reception there.
4. What kind of guests do you have and can you tell us about your projects in a near future?
We have 50% national guests and the other 50% are foreigners, but in summer things are different, because we have 80% international visitors against only 20% of national guests. In a near future, I can say that in a month and a half, we will open two windmills, that is another old dream come true.
5. Which impact did the pandemic brought to your business?
We had some impact due to coronavirus. From 15 of March to 1 of June, we had to close. We had noticeable breaks but not in an abrupt way, the summer was not that bad.
If you want to try this admirable place that takes us to the past, you have houses of different typologies. There are houses with a room for two people, and houses with a maximum of 4 bedrooms that can accommodate 8 persons. The prices of the single room start at 60 euros in the low season and 75 in the high season, per night.
Find out more here and come to live the past and tradition like you never thought possible…