There is a street in Trancoso where anyone would want to live. A delight, even for those who do not love flowers. On both sides of street, there are countless flowers, flowers, flowers – most of all, leafy, bushy, blue, pink hydrangeas that fill the eyes of anyone crossing the appropriately named Rua da Alegria (Happiness Street).
Thanks to (also coincidentally named) Dona Rosa and her husband Mr. Adérito, who live at number 12 for 50 years. Actually, another neighbor started the custom and encouraged neighbors to do the same. “Plant flowers, plant flowers. And we planted them,” recalls Dona Rosa. That was almost 40 years ago, and today the street has few residents. However, these two alone are enough to keep the color from fading away.
Nevertheless, flowers were not always the symbol of this street. There are many Jewish insignias that decorate the door frames. Before it was Rua da Alegria, records indicate that it had been Rua da Judiaria (Jewish Street). There are traces from the time when the Jewish community enjoyed great economic development and freedom in this region. When the persecutions began later on, secret passages were created in the houses on this very street so that they could practice their religion away from the eyes of the Inquisition.
The Jewish symbols survived and attract tourists and anyone curious, but the hydrangeas hold the greatest surprise, especially at the end of July, when the flowers bloom in their greatest splendor. Sometimes, they invade the passage of passersby and need trimming. This happened some months ago with a bicycle race that passed through this street. “We had to cut almost everything,” said Dona Rosa with disgust, but the hydrangeas always return with renewed force and exuberance.
In addition to her devotion to the plants, Dona Rosa dedicates much of her time to the duties that her mother taught her: Knitting towels and crochet at the window with a patience and discipline that is very rare these days. Except for some pieces that she places carefully away for her granddaughter’s trousseau, she sells everything in the small artisan store under her house. The space is small but well-used. And here you can buy Trancoso’s famous sweet sardines, made by Dona Rosa’s daughter.
We cross Rua da Alegria back to the center of Trancoso. We look back once more. From the porch framed by flowers, Dona Rosa says goodbye, making us wish that each village, borough, and city had a Dona Rosa to tend to and beautify whatever does or does not belong to you, just to leave a smile on the lips of anyone passing by.
It is thanks to stories like these that the Historical Villages of Portugal are an authentic destination, unique throughout the world. A destination that is 12, where the priority is to preserve the traditions of the local people, nature and historical-cultural heritage of each village. And that is also why the Historical Villages of Portugal are the first network destination, worldwide, and the first national destination to receive the BIOSPHERE DESTINATION certificate.