Despite the isolation of Marialva, Casas do Côro is a project, imagined and undertaken by the dynamic husband and wife team of Cármen and Paulo Romão, focused on reigniting a spark of life into a village which was once fast falling prey to the scourge of rural Portugal; desertification.
Casas do Côro
Casas do Côro describes itself as a combination of ‘country houses, eco-friendly concept spa, and historic village wine project’. The project instigated by this forward thinking , and a highly imaginative couple, began with the conversion of one of the village’s original dwellings – the Casa do Côro – into a cosy boutique hotel. Since those beginnings over 14 years ago, the project has grown immeasurably, transfiguring the village’s ambience, and which now comprises of accommodation in 11 delectably restored houses, where attention to design excellence and attention to detail is de-rigour.This highly praisable project also includes an eco-friendly spa, a restaurant of unquestionable taste and as the basis of a wine lover’s dream escape into the wilds of the Beira Alta. Before sunset Paulo and Cármen accompany their guests on a ‘wine picnic’ amid the estate’s living vineyard situated among a boulder-scattered landscape where tables are set with delicious snacks, taken on Arabesque style lounge beds in the open air and accompanied by the Casas do Côro’s own wines.
Sunset Wine Picnic at Casas do Côro
Within sight of Marialva’s towering castle on the hilltop it is difficult to imagine, amid the bucolic evening tranquillity, that this was once a place, outside of the castle’s protection, where people feared to go. The enemy once lurked here; Moors and Spaniards, brigands and thieves controlled the lands outside the sanctuary of the citadel. Now, on one of the Casas do Côro’s ‘sundowner’ wine picnics, the only danger is of over-consumption from the bountiful table and the wines chilling in ice buckets in the shade of the overhanging trees. As Paulo, himself quotes, while pointing towards the castle’s ruins and the vast plains which surround him, “In the middle of this nothing, we have all.” Long gone are the times when the presence of a fortress castle meant fear and trepidation, in its place has come the overwhelming feeling of escape, peace, tranquillity and safety.
This Casas do Côro in Centro de Portugal post is a part of a series of 7 posts I wrote based on my journey to Beira Alta in May 2016. Please find the links o the other articles bellow:
Casa da Cisterna in Centro de Portugal
This Casas do Côro in Centro de Portugal post was written by my inspiring friend Brendan Harding as part of my ongoing collaboration with the Centro de Portugal Tourism Board. All opinions are my own. Photo credits to my inspiring friend Emanuele Siracusa.