Lisbon’s historical café Martinho da Arcada —where the acclaimed Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa used to go — is planning to occupy the upstairs floor and become a literary café, Portuguese newspaper Público reported this week.
Martinho’s owner, António de Sousa, and writer Luís Machado developed the project called “Pessoa Plural”. The aim is “to preserve the memory” of Fernando Pessoa through conferences, round-tables, poetry reciting sessions, shows, film screenings and perhaps a bookshop dedicated to the poet. They also plan to organise a Pessoa-inspired dinner once a month.
Mr de Sousa and Mr Machado are now waiting to know whether the Portuguese ministry of Finance will hand them the space, since the Directorate-General of Treasure owns the upstairs floor. The minister of Culture, João Soares, has already issued a dispatch considering the project of “high cultural interest”, the newspaper reported.
The café Martinho da Arcada “is the oldest cafe in Lisbon [to have] always [been] in activity,” according to Público. It opened in 1782, known then as Casa da Neve (House of Snow, in English), as it sold ice and ice-creams.