• Dona Emília Guest House


27 / 01 / 2017
A century-old three-storey building located in the heart of Viana do Castelo, North of Portugal, was carefully restored and is now a charming new guesthouse named Dona Emília.

With walls and nooks full of stories, art and design, the house was styled like a boutique hotel, but the owners, the couple Nuno Freitas (architect) and Rute Esteves (teacher and performer), wanted to give it a familiar twist, offering to the guests an intimate, very unique and exclusive lodging experience.

Consisting of three floors and three fronts, the house has large windows and balconies giving on to Praça da República, the main square in the city, the Costume Museum and Santa Luzia, the famous temple-monument over Viana.

The idea for the name is an homage to Emília Freitas, 90 years old and a full life. Besides her culinary and sewing skills, Dona Emília, as she is simply known in the city, is mostly remembered for renting rooms and singing fado, sheltering the resistance during the dictatorship and fighting for equal rights for women. Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren inherited the family values of social solidarity, democracy and liberty.

For the hosts, the grandson Nuno Freitas, and his wife, Rute, the choice of the name explains the identity that they wanted to give to their project, combining human and affective aspects (here each guest is a friend and may feel literally at home) with a strong cultural dynamic.

Exhibitions, workshops and art residencies are part of the activities regularly presented to visitors and open to the public. The aim is to present the city, which is traditionally appreciated for its natural diversity, lifestyle and traditions, as a destination not only directed to the conventional tourist, but also as a place of excellence for the artistic creation. 

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