The Palace of the Viscounts of Balsemão is a manor house situated on the north side of Carlos Alberto Square, close to the First World War Memorial, the Monument to General Humberto Delgado and Teatro Carlos Alberto. It was built in the second half of the 18th century, and underwent profound changes in the two subsequent centuries.
Commissioned by José Alvo Brandão Coutinho Perestrelo Pereira da Azevedo, it came into the possession of the Balsemão family, by marriage of D. Maria Rosa with Luís Máximo Alfredo Pinto de Sousa Coutinho. Around 1840, it was leased to António Bernardino Peixe, who set up a renowned inn, where King Charles Albert of Sardinia stayed in 1849, during his exile in Porto. In 1854, the 1st Viscount of Trindade bought the palace and refurbished it. After the death of his widow in 1895, the building came into the possession of their daughter, D. Josefina Henriqueta Sousa Basto.
From 1907 until the First World War (1914-1918), it housed the Gas Company of Porto, and later, in 1988, the Municipal Gas and Electricity Services and EDP. Since 1996, it houses the Municipal Directorate for Culture and Tourism, of the City Council of Porto.
The building still boasts its ceilings decorated with stucco work, paintings and coffered ceilings, sliding doors with tinted glazing, and commemorative medals of distinguished guests.