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La ruta de los escritores

By | 9 January, 2016 | 0 comments

This year will be the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, author of the famous literary masterpiece Don Quixote. What better occasion to discover some of the main places of his life and work than now? One of them is the printing house at Calle Atocha, 87, the one owned by Juan de la Cuesta, which Sociedad Cervantina has put a lot of effort into reproducing it and maintaining it like it used to be back in the day. Don’t miss out on its guided tours and discover how printers used to work during such a crucial time, the printing of Don Quixote (whose second part was printed nearby, on Calle San Eugenio, indicated on a street plaque).

One of literary Madrid’s cornerstones is Café Gijón, the focal point of all literary gatherings in Spain during the mid-Twentieth century, immortalised in Francisco Umbral’s book The night I arrived at Café Gijón. Despite it no longer being the epicentre of political and cultural debates, you can still find writers like Raúl del Pozo or actors like Álvaro de Luna there, regular customers of this traditional spot in Madrid.

Another historical spot is El Ateneo, presided back in the day by Manuel Azaña, President of the Spanish Republic in the 1930s; and other great intellectual figures such as Miguel de Unamuno, Gregorio Marañón and Ramón del Valle-Inclán among others. You can visit it on Calle del Prado and take part in their many activities or eat at the restaurant next door that carries the same name (since it is part of the same building). It has a modern, colourful and elegant atmosphere and serves exquisite cuisine that you will love.

Barrio de Las Letras, the literary district, is the epicentre of the theatre plays and comedies of the so-called Siglo de Oro, the Spanish Golden Century which went from the early Sixteenth century to the mid-Seventeenth century. Literary figures such as Francisco de Quevedo, Lope de Vega and Miguel de Cervantes lived here, the latter dying at number 2 on the street that bears his name. Funnily enough, on the same street is the house where Lope de Vega lived, which is now a house-museum and a highly recommendable place to visit (advance bookings required).

Experience Madrid’s literary side and go and buy a book at some of its most charming bookshops, such as La Fugitiva, Tipos Infames, Méndez and Cervantes y Compañía among many others.

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