My parents bought this property in 1998, bringing my family back to our roots. I spent many holidays and weekends with my family amongst these mountains that embrace us. I fell in love with this place, and when I became responsible for it, I completely changed my life to keep it alive. It's four hectares of olive trees, a plantation of goji berries, and two houses.
I convinced myself I had to do everything by myself on this adventure of an alternative lifestyle. I quickly realised that it was unsustainable, but that desire is still deep-rooted in the project’s identity. In addition to the farm labour, I’m the one who welcomes the guests and who is always around to help out when needed - it doesn’t make sense any other way. Maybe because of the connection I have with this land, and in particular with this property, I’m convinced I’m the best person to share with others what’s so special about this place.
My main challenge is to make sure there are balance and coherence between all areas and that people feel like home here as they do in their houses. Just like I've always felt at home here.
This rural tourism business is about peace, tranquillity, and silence. A place that reflects the essence of Alentejo - real and genuine.
One day when I was riding my motorcycle through the fields, I found an abandoned train station - the Évoramonte train station. It had been inactive for years and completely forgotten in the middle of Nature. It was framed by a unique landscape, right in the middle of the countryside, so I thought I had to do something. After a lot of hard work, we recently started to restore the station. Something extraordinary will happen there soon.
Our story and mission
Évoramonte is the birthplace of my father's side of the family. My great grandparents, my grandparents, and my father lived here part of their lives. In the old days, the farmers in Alentejo would place their children in boarding schools, and my father left home at 16 to enrol in one. At that time, my grandfather decided to change his life a little, and he moved to Évora. Since then, Évora became the base for my family. I spent my childhood and teen years there, but we never lost the connection to this village.
A few years later, my parents bought this property, and we returned to our roots. It was like coming back to my homeland, and my love for it grew. This was our country house - it was just the main house then, where we spent holidays, weekends, and Christmases. I have fond memories of living here.
Alentejo has its senses right under the skin, and you can't escape that. I want to keep on protecting it and doing my share.
Life led me to become responsible for this place and at that time, my life gravitated around Lisbon. Besides having my family there - a wife and three children - I had a high-level job at a big corporation. It's costly to maintain a farm, and if it's not profitable, it could mean serious trouble. So in 2014, I listed the main house as a short-term rental to have a side income. At the same time, I applied for a project to plant goji berries supported by the Jovem Agricultor (Young Farmer) program. The project was approved, and the accommodation business was doing well. I was out of touch with city life and my desire to change and do something different increased when the project was approved. In 2017 I moved here permanently to move forward with the plantation and to build a new house.
I became the entrepreneur behind this project. If I hadn't changed my life and moved here, this would be one more abandoned estate in Alentejo. It was a great adventure - it still is - but I love Alentejo. I felt like the land was calling me and I had to come. I left the city because it lacked essence and here I see it everywhere. This region is very authentic and real, in all its dimensions. To be a guardian is to feel all this and share these emotions and our love with everyone. It's to defend the land and value it.
All you hear is the birds and the silence at this old monk convent with a view to Évoramonte’s castle. Casas de Santa Rita are 28km from Évora and 17km from Estremoz, a project that is more than a rural tourism business. It's my home. It's my roots. Come right in, the countryside is calling for you, just like it called for me.
Changing life to embrace Alentejo
Casas de Santa Rita are located at a former convent of Santa Rita de Cácia. Here, amongst mountains and with a view to Serra D’Ossa, monks lived and welcomed the many pilgrims who came to honour their promises. The church, now closed, remains untouched, right next to the main house. When heritage was reformed, some of the church's assets were privatised, and when the sanctuary of Fátima was built, people stopped coming here.
We're in the middle of the countryside - enticing in its different seasons. People are used to seeing the countryside closer to the roads, but there is a lot more to it, and there's a lot to discover in this part of Alentejo.
Here we focus on peaceful time, cuisine, and traditions.
Évoramonte is one of the most beautiful historical villages of Portugal. I usually say it's a smaller-scale Monsaraz. It has a castle with a unique mystique and allows people to enjoy time and space away from the masses. Like me, there are other people, Portuguese and foreigners, always doing something new in the village. It’s a land full of potential and close to everything.
We're between Évora, Estremoz, Arraiolos, and Vila Viçosa. Those are beautiful cities with a lot to offer. Estremoz is the white land, our marble producer, and one of the most prosperous and active winemaking centres in Alentejo. The Saturday market that takes place there is one of the most genuine and interesting ones in the region, absolutely unmissable. In Vila Viçosa, the majestic Paço Local is worth the visit, and so is the view from Arraiolos castle. As for Évora, it’s the capital city of Alentejo and the centre of everything. It has some of the best restaurants and historical monuments.
Évoramonte is the land of peace, and that’s a historical fact. This is where King Miguel and King Pedro signed the Peace Convention (Convenção de Paz). Both brothers fought each other during the Civil War that opposed the absolutists and the liberals. The conflict lasted for six years until 26 May 1834, when commanders of both armies got together in Évoramonte to negotiate the peace terms.