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São Lourenço do Barrocal – where luxury and sustainability meet.

The location, the natural involvement of the village and the (relative) isolation are, without a shadow of a doubt, in their happy combination, the great merits of Aldeia da Cuada. It is located in one of the most remote parts of Europe, in the middle of the Atlantic, halfway to the Americas. On the island of Flores, the second smallest of the Azores archipelago, about three hundred nautical miles from São Miguel, the western most inhabited piece of land on the European continent. It is a village where no motorised vehicle has ever driven and which remains faithful to the island’s rural architecture. There are fifteen bare stone houses rehabilitated in a unique setting of mountain and sea. The village is located on the north coast of the island, and experienced the abandonment and decay caused by emigration in the 1960s, mainly to the American continent. From the 1970s onwards, Cuada was practically depopulated, the houses surrounded by brambles and with the guarantee of an uncertain fate. But twenty years later, in the last decade of the century, a visitor appeared interested in acquiring a house to restore as a holiday home. A few years later, lulled by the tranquillity of the place and the unique atmosphere of the village, the number of houses he acquired was already in the tens, most of them in declared ruin. Soon after, the idea of investing in village tourism began to take shape. The endeavour was foolhardy, to say the least. Most of the walls of the houses were falling to the ground and the roofs had crumbled into dust under the weather. The very location of Cuada seemed to discourage idealistic daydreams. Located on a plateau by the sea, a hundred metres from the main road, the only passable access was a dirt track, and inside the village the streets were narrow lanes covered with irregular stone slabs. And they remain so today, keeping the village on the fringes, as it has always been, of any motorised traffic, an aspect that can well be taken as symbolic of the spirit that guided the rehabilitation. The village’s built heritage includes fifteen restored houses, including three haystacks that have been adapted for new housing functions. The buildings, of varying types, have exposed stone and are more or less dispersed, separated by meadows and stone walls. Almost all of them are single-storey houses, rebuilt with the same stones that designed the village’s ruin scene, and retain their original architectural features. Almost everything is elementary, even the decoration of the houses, so as not to lose the scenic timbre of an era that, although past, has left material, architectural traces. Even the names of the houses retain signs of those times and honour the previous owners. A stone’s throw from mass tourism, the traveller can pick the flower of a pleasant solitude and let himself be immersed in the imponderable whims of the elements: the wind, the rain, the mists that embrace the lagoons, or the sun that bursts out tender caresses on sudden spring mornings. Those who stop there know what they are going to and what they are looking for. A unique intimacy with nature, with the wind, the mist, the roar of the shearwaters at night, the rabbits prowling the meadows around the houses.