It was in the year 1903 that Camilo Pastoria Mourão began the construction of what would become Codessoso’s largest house, and one of the largest – if not the largest – of the county, surpassing the eternal rival João Domingues Enes.

João do Janela, as he was known, later responded to the ‘provocation’ with the construction of a richly decorated family tomb, with his back to Camilo’s, with access only through the churchyard through a private staircase.

No one knows for sure how the dispute started, what is known, and it is said, is that not even the dogs got along on the street.

Photo TR/VB

what is known, and it is said, is that not even the dogs got along on the street.

The casarão (big house), as it is known in the village of Codessoso, of seigniorial type, took ten years to rise and the ancients say that it has as many doors and windows as days a year.

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Part of the house was in 2005, adapted for Rural Tourism by the granddaughter and current owner, Maria de Lourdes Mourão Lopes, or (dona) Milocas, as she prefers to be treated.

Photo TR/VB

Part of the house WAS adapted for Rural Tourism by the granddaughter and current owner.

There are three suites, three double rooms and one double room, all with views of the garden and swimming pool, or the village, private bathroom, heating, television and telephone.

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Dona Milocas’ grandfather made a fortune in Brazil. Initially, it dedicated itself with great success to the production of flour broth, but it was with the importation of Port wine that saw the fortune grow. The firm with its name still exists.

Back in Portugal, she becomes an active member of Freemasonry and meets Delfina Ferreira, an ambitious seamstress who frequented the house and with whom she had seven children.

Delfina Ferreira. Photo DR

“It was common at that time for the seamstresses to attend the richest houses,” says dona Milocas, “after marrying my grandfather, he arranged her a teacher, Donana (dona Ana) to taught her how to be a lady.”

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The teacher, would have a tragic end in the house, after inadvertently pouring oil on her from a lamp she had a habit of filling up, and start a fire. People say that she ran towards the tank to throw herself into the water, but that when seeing a servant she returned back with shame. The servant, in shock, screamed thinking he had seen a ghost. Donana burns to death.

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These, are some of the stories that dona Milocas may tell, while drinking tea accompanied by a slice of homemade cake, at the fireplace, in one of the most traditional houses in the county.

Ask dona Milocas for the eldest son of Camilo and the daughter of his eternal rival, João do Janela.

Tiago Rodrigues

Tiago Rodrigues is a graphic designer and art editor at UMinho Editora. He founded Visit Boticas in 2017, where he performs various functions, from management and editorial direction, to design and production of content.