A Casa vista por nós

From left to right: Matilde, Luísa and Maria do Mar (Palácio Ficalho, spring 1983). Photo by Maria José Gago


Palácio Ficalho is not a static place. It is an open house to interact with the past, the future, and reflect on all of us.

We inherited a house that represents the history of a town, a country, and a nation: a history that transcends us. And, at the same time, this is the house where we lived our family history, where we grew up, where we heard stories from our parents and grandparents, and learnt from them.

Our goal now is to create new memories around this space, sharing with you all that this house represents: its history and its beauty, but also a glimpse of those who see it as a home – with all that that implies. The challenge facing us is to achieve this with imagination and an open mind, simultaneously ensuring the conservation of the building while respecting the secular balance of things.

Three women — a mother and two daughters — with not always identical approaches, have learned to work together, through negotiation and building consensus. This journey has been a beautiful adventure and we believe that we can continue, now in dialogue with other structures, based on a broad and lasting program.

The beginning of the guided tours in spring 2021 was the first step in opening the house to the public. This was followed by the re-imagining and re-structuring of spaces for holding events, productions, and cultural initiatives. Finally, we have started an architectural project that encompasses the house and the garden as a whole, including the construction of accommodation and planned artistic/scientific residencies. 

For us, this is not a static place. It is a house that exists to interact with the past, the future, and to reflect on all of us.

Matilde, Luisa, and Maria