Quinta da Saraiva has a family history dating back to the 18th century. The current house was built by the great-grandparents of the last generation of siblings: Ester, Anália, Salete, Sidónio, Alzira and Heliodoro. They were born on the farm with the help of the midwife Senhora Agostinha. The history of the property was collected through interviews and discussions recorded by the descendants of the Figueira family. The surname “Figueira” has Jewish origins due to the Inquisition. Some family members have physical characteristics that suggest a mixed heritage, possibly Celtic or Norse. Although the ancient family tree is unknown, there is a Figueira tree on the Saraiva property – just ask the staff where to find it.
WORK & LIFE
In the first half of the 20th century, growing up in Madeira usually meant receiving only a basic education up to fourth grade, focused on grammar and arithmetic. Boys went on to commercial business or agriculture, while girls learned domestic chores and wifely duties. The schools offering education beyond fourth grade were in Funchal, but this was not practical for the Figuereans as the bus ride was expensive and time-consuming.
To get around this, great-grandmother Ines decided that her children would attend the local convent, where the priests and nuns of the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Victories taught. The children went to the convent daily, bringing their own food with them in wicker baskets.
Despite this, the Figueira made annual trips around the island with family and friends, renting a bus to explore the region. It is remarkable how these trips were a significant occurrence, considering that a trip within the island at that time was similar in terms of difficulty and rarity to a trip to a different continent in modern times.
Finally, we must devote a final section to the special relationship between Quinta da Saraiva (and Madeira in general) with the country of Venezuela. Due to poverty and the policies of the dictator Salazar, many young Madeirans were conscripted into the army, while others sought opportunities abroad, such as Australia, South Africa and Venezuela. Two Figueira siblings established permanent lives in Venezuela, where Portuguese immigrants thrived, forming a united community and contributing significantly to the country’s economy. Anália, from the Figueira family, married José Rodrigues Diniz, a neighbor from Câmara de Lobos, who looked after Quinta da Saraiva until his death in March 2018.
QUINTA DA SARAIVA HOTEL
To maintain the legacy and spirit of Saraiva, it is the descendants of Analia and José who took over making Quinta da Saraiva Hotel a reality over a span of 3 years from September 2016 until its inauguration in November 2019 – led by grandson Juan Daniel Gonçalves Rodrigues. We all hope that you can join us and share an unforgettable and authentic Madeiran experience that will live on with you and your loved ones forever. Quinta da Saraiva truly is a special place that is meant to be shared.