A Vida Portuguesa it’s not just a store where you can buy traditional Portuguese products. This is a place where you can find the soul of the country, as the shop manifesto indicates. And why should a commercial shop have a manifesto?! The question appears naturally and the answer helps to tell the story of this peculiar vintage space.
Catarina Portas, a former Portuguese journalist, created the concept in 2004 when she launched the brand “Uma Casa Portuguesa” (in English, “A Portuguese Home”). Her idea was to restore and recreate some of the very best products of Portuguese tradition. I mean those items that were 100% national and essential at the time of our grandmothers but that were being muffled by the globalization times.
The first shop was opened in Lisbon, in 2007. The Porto store opened only in 2009 and is located on the first floor of an 1886 fabric shop, with great views to Clérigos Tower, one of the city landmarks. There you can sit on a sofa, properly situated near the store’s large windows, and just enjoy the vintage atmosphere.
A Vida Portuguesa doesn’t just sells the old and original products of Portuguese manufacture; it tells their story and ergo tells the story of the country. From canned sardines to tBordalo Pinheiro swallows; or from Viarco pencils to Secla ceramics and Serrote notepads; from Portuguese jewelry to toiletries and cleaning products; from embroidery and aluminum to food and drink. And, off course, the wonderful Ach Brito soaps recommended by Oprah herself on one of her shows. Yes, that Oprah! :)
There is an immense range of products, from northern to southern Portugal, in large and sober shelves. You can be sure to find genuine products and that special and unique souvenir to take for a friend in among all this “delicate trade”, has the responsible of the store likes to state. And their spell has already spread worldwide; in 2010 the store was included in the Retail Directory of Wallpaper magazine and several international media have paid attention to its existence.
Since 2009 A Vida Portuguesa is also an online shop, so you can buy its products from anywhere in the world. But that should not make you forsake a visit to the Porto store. It is really a must see and a unique experience, even if it’s only to appreciate the charm of the vintage touch in the old style packages of the products.
The store opens from Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 8pm.