I love places with history. History of daily life. History, which can be seen and felt in the air. History, which involves so many people who are being connected through time by a simple cup of coffee. And here I am about cafés, which opened their doors such a long time ago for great artists, important politicians, wealthy families, high society members or simply strangers, and till nowadays are warmly welcoming people. During the last few months I had a pleasure to visit two legendary ones: café “Majestic” in Porto (Portugal) and café “Pedrocchi” in Padua (Italy).
Café “Majestic” in Porto
When you are passing by Rua Santa Catarina street in Porto – have a jump into café “Majestic”, which is considered as one of the most beautiful cafés in the whole world. This pearl from Belle Époque was opened in 1921. Interior with wooden frames, curved mirrors, marble walls, splendid lamps and sculptures very easy turns you back to long decades ago when intellectuals, artists and writers were enjoying their cups of coffee there.
This place is really worth visiting – if not for a seat, so at least for having a look. History of the place, interior, uniformed waiters create really specific, heightened atmosphere. I must admit that a big part of all the guests there were tourists, but at the same time you could see Portuguese people as well, for who seems that coming there is like a longtime ritual of life.
In “Majestic” café you can order not only drinks, but pastries and food as well. Prices are higher there, but affordable.
Café “Pedrocchi” in Padua
Once in Padua – don’t miss the elegant “Pedrocchi” café in Via VIII Febbraio street. This place, firstly opened in 1831, during the Second World War was destroyed, but afterwards – rebuilt in its original neoclassical style. It is incredible that a place, its soul can be alive for such a long time. From outside it even doesn’t look like café, but when you enter – elite atmosphere, smell of coffee and eyes of regular local visitors, especially the older ones, meet you. There comes the thought in mind that more than a century ago Stendhal described this place as le meilleur d’Italie – “the best of Italy”. You can admit or reject this idea, but even today café “Pedrocchi” really has its unique charm.
This place acts a big role in the life of local people. If there is a big occasion within the family, very likely that they will choose to celebrate it exactly in “Pedrocchi” café. That is simply a part of city traditions.
Interesting, ’cause among the students of University of Padova exists a superstition that they cannot enter this place until they graduate from the University. But probably today that is not followed anymore.
Sometimes my head cannot realize, how such thing as café from the past in today’s “use and throw” society can still exist. But probably it is true that the real classics is immortal.