Fernando Pessoa's Table
Type: Art & Culture, Attractions, Food & Wine, Free Attractions, Historic Sites, Sightseeing, Uniquely Here, Unusual
Do you know where one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century used to hang out? Well, there's a café-restaurant in downtown Lisbon called Martinho da Arcada that is synonymous... Read More
Do you know where one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century used to hang out? Well, there's a café-restaurant in downtown Lisbon called Martinho da Arcada that is synonymous with a man called Fernando Pessoa, one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. Born in 1888, Pessoa was a writer, critic, translator, publisher, philosopher… and a rather heavy drinker! Fortunately, his penchant for alcohol-fuelled rather than dulled his ability to put pen to paper, and his literary canon includes such works as Mensagem (Message), a collection of 44 short poems. Most of his writings, however, were published after his death in 1935 aged just 47, reportedly from cirrhosis of the liver. Pessoa was a frequent customer at Martinho da Arcada, a café set on Praça do Comércio, which became an "office" of sorts. It's here that the table he regularly sat at has been preserved for posterity, along with the coffee cup he drank out of and a shot glass that was rarely empty.
- Historic Sites: "Visitors are allowed to take photographs of the table, but it's polite to ask first. Note that it's not permitted to sit at the table."
- Best for Historic Sites Because: Founded in 1782, Martinho da Arcada is one of Lisbon's oldest cafes. Its association with Fernando Pessoa has placed it on the world literary map.