The secrets of Lisbon’s Chiado
Have you ever wondered what’s underneath one of the most popular neighbourhoods of Lisbon? The Chiado, home of some of the oldest functioning stores and pastries of Portugal, still has a lot of cool places and history to discover!
Ok, ok. By this point, you’ll probably had realised that everybody who goes to Lisbon, comes back with the same picture. You know the one: casually zipping a cup of coffee next to Fernando Pessoa’s statue, right outside the Café A Brasileira.
That could be the post card of Lisbon’s Chiado, one of the most traditional neighborhoods of the city. If it weren’t because Chiado is much, much more.
It’s origins could be traced to the XIII century, when the firsts convents came to this hill. The name, though, would come a couple of centuries later, thanks to the street poet António Ribeiro, who was known as “the sizzler”, or, in portuguese, “the chiado”. Actually, right in front of Pessoa’s statue, you can see another statue honoring Ribeiro, right in the Largo of Chiado.
Chiado’s history it’s deeply connected with Portugal’s literature. Fernando Pessoa, Alexandre Herculano and Eça de Queirós frequented (in different times) the cafés and bars of Chiado, and even the main square of the neighborhood is named after the biggest portuguese writer of all time: Luis de Camões.
Beside the A Brasileria -that has an excellent coffee and a beautiful decorated interior-, the Chiado it’s the home of a lot of the oldest stores in Lisbon. The Livraria Bertrand it’s the oldest functioning bookstore in the world (funded in 1732), and the Bénard pastry (funded in 1868) has one of the best croissants in town.
If you are looking to walk away from the crowds, you can get lost in the small streets and squares of Chiado. Take the Calçada do Sacramento to the Largo do Carmo and see the ruins of the cathedral, walk the Rua da Trinidade and appreciate the azulejos of the Ferreira das Tabuletas house, or find your way to the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos.
In the Chiado, you can also taste some vegan pastéis de nata (the best in town!) in the beautiful Café A Carioca.