The Várzea House (Casa da Várzea) was built in 1901, in the Portuguese colonial style. In 1960 our family came from Vila do Conde, Portugal and settled in Recife, buying this house a few years later. It served well to welcome James and Albina Maia and their children. At that time, living in this neighborhood was like living in the country and the family liked the quiet, the trees and the bucolic setting. Mendes Martins Street, where the house is located, was then narrow and dark, making romantic encounters easy! Hence it became known as the “Alley of Hugs”. But of course, things have changed since then and the street has been widened, paved and lighted. The children grew up, got married and moved to new homes. But when they came to visit their parents, they used to say: “let’s go to the Várzea house”, and so the name stuck. The “Casa da Várzea” therefore reflects a history of cheerful and welcoming family gatherings.

After the death of our parents, we continued to live in the house where we finished raising our kids. The custom of receiving family and friends continues and now the house is also called the “house of joy” because here we celebrate important dates and traditional festivals such as St. John, Christmas and New Year.

With our children growing up and going their separate ways, the house once again became too big and so we thought: why not open it to others? Decision made, it was necessary to adapt the spaces to meet these new requirements. For example: to change the roof to eliminate leaks, replace the wiring for getting everything working satisfactorily and improve the hydraulic system, making it more economical. It took a lot of work, but it was worth it! We hope that our guests feel welcome and enjoy the garden, the peace and tranquility that still envelopes the old “Casa da Várzea”.

All are welcome!

Fernando Maia