Madrid was the center of the world for many famous writers, from Miguel Cervantes to Ernest Hemingway. This itinerary walks in the footsteps of their influence and presence in homes and public spaces, from the 16th to the present century.
The bulk of this journey follows a fascinating literary tribute created in metal and stone by the city of Madrid. These are sidewalks connecting the Prado to the Palace inlaid with the words and wisdom from the city’s writers.
This path’s heart center is Calle de las Huertas. Spain’s greatest writers and poets frequented this neighborhood. So much so that locals call it El Barrio de las Letras, “the literary neighborhood.”
Among these famous bards were Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Góngora, and Echegaray.
Today the neighborhood remains central to the city’s creative spirits and minds who live here and frequent its shops and cafes.
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The writer’s café par excellence in Madrid is the El Gran Café Gijón. Not too far from the Biblioteca Nacional, the storehouse of Spanish literature, these can make for a good start to a day of literary explorations.
Proceed from there to the Calle de las Huertas where inlaid plaques with quotes from Spain’s literary masters line the path.
Nearby you will also pass the house of Marcelino Menéndez y Pelay. Next is the location of the house of Miguel de Cervantes (now a shop). And just a few steps away, find Lope de Vega‘s former home, now a museum dedicated to his life.
Cervantes’ burial place is on the grounds of the neighboring Convento de San Ildefonso de las Trinitarias.
The Teatro Español is the living heart of Spain’s living literary arts. It is well worth the effort to book a ticket for a show here.
And finally, on the Plaza de España, pay hommage to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. You’ll find at their statues in the center of this romantic garden square.