In the old quarter of Alfama, in rua do Salvador 83, you come across a small shop / atelier of a truly unique artist: Alberto. And guarding his shop, lying right under the door, is his cat Gordon.
Born in Angola in 1969, Alberto has lived in Lisbon for more than thirty years. He has lived in different neighborhoods, but for about 15 years Alfama has become his home.
When he arrived in this neighborhood and on this street almost nobody wanted to live there, he was part of the less well-kept, more abandoned Lisbon. But Alberto immediately showed his fighting spirit, also involving the other inhabitants of the area to participate, taking care of the cleaning and care of this street themselves. A few years later, the area was re-evaluated. But Alberto would have made yet another great little discovery: an ancient plaque, hidden by electric cables, which would later turn out to be a road sign from antiquity, the oldest in the city.
And it is precisely here that Alberto welcomes us into his world, into his atelier where he creates and sells his works. When we enter, we are immediately struck by the vintage atmosphere that reigns in the store. Everywhere, objects decorated with ancient magazines bring us back to the past: screens, paintings, mirrors, objects of all kinds. But above all suitcases: ancient suitcases of all shapes and sizes, to which Alberto has given new life.
And then I sit down and listen to him while he tells me how it started.
He was very young when his family sent him to Portugal, and the Carmo and Chiado will be his first home. Alberto begins to work in different fields, but his desire was to be able to use manual skills. The artistic spirit has always been part of him, after all in his family from the paternal side of him were artists, musicians, poets. Alberto has always had art in his genes.
His great dream had always been one day to make this passion for manual art his work. And be able to live on his art.
16/17 years ago a serious accident changes everythings, seriously injuring the fingers of one hand. But Alberto does not give up and begins to work at the Feira da Ladra, the famous flea market in Lisbon. And it is there that he finds himself projected into a world of ancient objects, and two things strike his attention: period magazines and old suitcases.
The suitcase: an object that today we link to travel and holidays, but which for Alberto is an important memory of his life. When he was still a child, in the middle of the civil war in his country, he had to move often, escape. And then the suitcase was the guardian of important things, it was the house that you carried with you.
From one place to another, with the life enclosed in a suitcase.
And so the suitcase for Alberto is the memory of this past, a past that he does not necessarily want to tell, not because he wants to forget it, but because he says that he is not one of those artists who feel the need to make public their own personal hell in order to be understood and appreciated.
What Alberto lived in his childhood years was certainly not easy, but it is not what he wants to remember. Alberto considers himself a lucky person and it is always with a smile that he wants to look at life, looking for the beautiful things he has to offer us.
And then this object linked to a memory of the past, the suitcase, is transformed and finds new life through period magazines.
Alberto thus begins to make collages of vintage images and with these he begins to decorate old suitcases and, in the very place that had inspired him, the Ladra fair, he begins to sell them.
Those were different times, at the time there was not too much space for authors, artists. An original idea of him, but which initially clashes with many prejudices, on the idea itself and on who had this idea.
But as we have already understood, Alberto does not give up easily and therefore continues on his path and begins to enjoy some success, at first more among foreigners than among Portuguese.
An episode will make him realize that he is on the right path: one day, an 8/9 year old girl is completely fascinated by one of Alberto’s suitcases and she begins to ask her parents to have it. If her mother responds with indecision, her father decides to please her daughter who reacts with a joy and happiness that Alberto can hardly describe. He remembers that moment perfectly, that little girl’s happiness, how she hugged her briefcase, how she was grateful to her parents. Alberto had understood that if a work of his had been able to make that child so happy, then that was precisely his path.
And remembering it he is still moved. And he confesses to us, that when he has a few moments of despair, even today, it is precisely that little girl that he thinks of.
The turning point came when the then owner of the famous shop A vida Portuguesa, which Alberto already knew, opens her first shop of this famous brand and asks Alberto to be able to sell his suitcases. Alberto also accepts because Catarina immediately shows great confidence in his work, offering to buy his works and then sell them in her shop. And there, the great turning point. Alberto’s suitcases begin to have enormous success and his work becomes more and more known. And Alberto understands that it is precisely this, being an artist, that he is destined.
Alberto’s life has not always been simple, various health problems in recent years have put him to the test, but he is a true warrior and has always come out of it. And it is also for this reason that the main purpose of his art is to give a smile.
Alberto makes it very clear that using sad episodes from his story in his art does not interest him. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to send a message. The images he chooses for the creation of his collages are never casual, but aimed at launching a message linked to today’s society, or to represent aspects of current life and of the people around us. But the message is for a few. Many stop at the beauty of the decoration. And for Alberto is fine. Whether you understand the message or just appreciate the beauty of the work, the important thing is for Alberto to give the positive message, observe Alberto’s work and smile, feel happy with his work in his hands.
This is what Alberto wants. He defines himself as an esthete, appreciates beauty and seeks beauty, in all its forms, in everything and every situation in his life. For him it is the most important thing. He says that life is a box full of surprises. He makes me think of Tom Hanks in the famous role of Forrest Gump when he says that life is a box of chocolates and you never know what happens to you.
After all, Alberto’s philosophy of life is precisely this: open the box and be surprised.
Sometimes there are moments of difficulty, also because in order to earn our place in society we end up belonging to a group, a category, and this sometimes also means learning to compromise. But Alberto shows patience for the most complicated situations and continues to emphasize how lucky he feels to be able to live with the job he loves and why in the end he got his place.
Alberto loves the contact with people and you can also see it from the comings and goings of people who pass, even just for a greeting, from his atelier.
Today his house is in Alfama, but he has toured almost all of Lisboa and knows it well. As he tells us, he went from hill to hill, from Chiado, when he arrived, in the most refined and least popular Lisbon, to Alfama, the most popular neighborhood in all of Lisbon. A neighborhood that Alberto remembers as very lively, with many people on the street. And even now that Lisbon is changing, modernizing, becoming more and more cosmopolitan, with many people passing by, Alberto sees the positive aspect of this change which, according to him, is giving new life to the city.
But in this modern and cosmopolitan Lisbon, his atelier remains a place almost out of time. Today Alberto devotes himself mostly to panels, small paintings. And when he can’t concentrate, he goes out, takes a walk, remains silent to contemplate and then comes back and begins to create.
Today we can only buy his works in his atelier but many people, especially Portuguese, ask Alberto to create tailor-made works.
Before leaving, I have one last question for Alberto: why the rose in the chest?
Alberto tells me that about 15 years ago he was fighting against a sickness he didn’t talk to anyone about. His colleagues in the Feira da Ladra had obviously noticed the physical change, but no one dared to ask. One day, a man who did not get along with Alberto at all, the one who had less well received him, approached him and asked Alberto how he was. And he had given him a flower to put on his chest, as a symbol of hope, of life, of trust. And since then Alberto has always carried a flower in his chest, because even today, when the sickness is over, that gesture should not be forgotten.
An unexpected gesture, a hand held out by those who did not expect, a message of hope that Alberto wants to keep remembering. Because, as he says, life surprises you when you least expect it.
The story we tell you today is that of Will, a great musician, an extraordinary person, who for years, “um dia de cada vez” has entered in my life and Alex’s.
Alex returning from work and I walking through the streets of Lisbon with my tourists, we have been surprised and enchanted many times by Will’s unique music.
Willfredo, to be precise. “But for everyone I’m Will,” he tells me as soon as we start talking.
Will is Swiss, but he has known Lisbon for about 40 years. Two marriages behind him, with two Portuguese women, two children, a 26-year-old girl and a 28-year-old boy, both abroad, and a girlfriend from Dakar who has been repatriated some time ago, leaving him here “suspended”, as he himself says .
Will’s life is an extraordinary life, difficult but courageous. And today it is up to us to try to tell you about it.
Will has a degree in anthropology, was an academic, translator, taught German, French and English to future interpreters at ISLA (Lisbon Institute of Languages and Administration, ed) for more than 10 years, but Will is above all a musician, a classical guitarist.
Will, is Willfredo Mergner, or Fredo Mergner as he is best known. Guitarist of the famous “Resistência” band of the 90s.
For those who have not had the opportunity to listen to it, I invite you to do so, for example in “A sombra da figueira”
A successful guitarist, a sensitive artist, a musician of great value, capable of ranging from Fado, to Jazz, to classical music.
But today is Will, who greets me saying “I don’t speak Italian, but I can speak with this” and starts playing “O sole mio” leaving me speechless. “It’s the Lisbon sun. It’s fado, ”he says.
There is confusion around him, people chat, laugh, drink. And they listen distractedly, without understanding the luck they have at that moment.
We are in Largo do Carmo, in Lisbon. It is getting evening. At the kiosk in the square there are many people sitting for a drink.
And among them, sitting on an improvised stool, embracing his guitar, there is him: Will.
Will has been playing on the street for a few years. Before he was often found in his favorite stage, the viewpoint at Largo Das Portas do Sol, then on the stairs of Calçada do Duque and now in Largo do Carmo.
Will has always had his audience, he tells us. The squares had become his concert halls. And there were always those who stopped to listen to him.
And in the meantime he continued to compose music: fado, jazz, sonatas.
It doesn’t matter why Will started playing on the street, that’s not the part of the story we want to tell.
But his love for music, for his guitar.
I ask him when he started playing and he explains to me that to play the guitar you have to be more adult, for the evolution of the hands, around 14 years old. But that he has practically always played. Music has accompanied him all his life.
And when I ask him if he plays other instruments, he says “No! No one who loves an instrument with all their heart can play another with the same intensity ”.
Because for Will it is like that. The guitar is his woman, his love, his life partner.
It is only on her that his hands can slide, it is only from her chest that the right harmony can come out to tell his soul.
Playing another instrument would be like betraying her. And Will can’t, because he loves her too much.
And we see this love, we feel it. Will never leaves his guitar, he holds it in his arms, like a lover the woman he loves.
And as he hugs her her gaze is lost.
The guitar that Will plays today is not the one he used in his concerts years ago, that was stolen. This one was given to him some time ago. But Will loves her the same way.
He can’t do without it, because playing is his life, his way of expressing himself. It is through music that Will talks about himself.
Better than he can’t do with words. Because in music there is his soul.
The pandemic has certainly made his life more complicated, added other hardships. And, today more than yesterday, playing helps him survive.
But Will is forced to do it in a more crowded place, because the pandemic has certainly limited the usual public that has always followed him.
And this just doesn’t suit him.
He says he feels tired, because playing like this doesn’t allow him to indulge in music. He could strum something modern and loud and earn a little more and with less effort, he tells me. But he doesn’t want to.
Quality music first and foremost. Good music must be respected. And it’s quality music that Will wants to play.
Will wants to abandon himself to the music, to let his soul express itself among the vibrating notes that come out of his guitar. “And this tires, it wears out,” he says. Because in this way you give yourself without filters, without limits, without discounts. You give yourself, and you do it completely. And playing like this is for few. And for few it is also to listen in respectful silence.
And it is this silence that is missing between the noises of glasses and the laughter of distracted people. And this for Will is the greatest pain. More than all the difficulties that life has put him and still puts before him, he suffers from the noise, from the fact of not being able to play in silence, of not being able to give himself completely as he would like.
But Will does not give up, he is already thinking about new projects. He already has an opera ready, a guitar concert that he has been working on for a while and that he hopes to see published.
Will works there with a fellow guitarist and the pandemic has suspended their meetings. But he is ready to start again, because he still has a lot to tell us.
And the difficulties have not extinguished the flame of his creativity at all.
We move away from the confusion a little. Let’s go and sit on the stairs of the Carmo church. And then Will plays for us, just for us, in silence as he likes it.
In a moment his eyes close, his hands begin to slide on his guitar, and the music of “Canção do mar” begins to spread on this warm summer evening.
Will plays hugging his guitar, squeezes it tightly as the chords follow each other fast. His eyes are closed, his mind is elsewhere, with his music, among those notes that have a whole life to tell.
In the Mouraria district, one of the most authentic but also multicultural neighborhoods of Lisbon, right at the foot of the church of São Cristovão, the ancient Santa Maria de Alcami Mozarabic, we find a shop that makes Vintage a way of life. This is Paolo’s Tropical Bairro.
Italian, from Monza, born in 1979, in Lisbon since 2016. Paolo’s story with Lisbon is that of many foreigners who have ended up being adopted by the Lusitanian city. Arriving here on vacation, Paolo is struck by the city, its extraordinary light, and begins to think that perhaps Lisbon could be the beginning of a new project.
The vintage world has been part of Paolo’s life for many years. And, to be honest, with his story he opens up a world to me. He explains to me that in reality there is what is defined as a subculture that is linked to the vintage world, with gatherings, thematic parties, complete with dress code, and a whole world linked to collecting, music, objects. A world truly to be discovered. And Paul is there to project us into this universe.
Before arriving in Lisbon, he lived in Milan and was mostly dedicated to online sales and at some fair. But his idea had been for some time to create a place, in which to unite various aspects of this culture. Then the holiday in Lisbon and many evaluations: the place, the cost of living, the bureaucracy to follow to open a place there and so he begins to think about it seriously. And in the end, the big change. He arrives here and opens a first shop, in society, and in the meantime begins to integrate into the Italian community.
Among the first people he met was the writer Daniele Coltrinari (author of Lisbona é un’assurda speranza, editor’s note) and then the community of Italians in Lisbon. And so day by day Paolo takes his place in his new city. And he comes to live in Mouraria.
And the Mouraria will be the second big turning point. One day, the lady who owns this shop, which sold jewels, ceramics and local handicrafts, approaches Paolo and tells him that she had heard of his she was looking for a place all her own and proposes to rent him this shop. And Paolo accepts. And so Tropical Bairro was born.
But Paul’s life is much fuller and more complex than that. And then Alex and I follow him, to try to understand all the various facets of his “typical” day.
11:00 am: the shop is open and it’s time to start.
Paolo sets up the shop and puts on some good music. Oh yes, the music, which just cannot be missing. Because Tropical Bairro is not a normal shop, but more an expression of Paolo’s love for vintage culture.
In the shop we find clothing, vintage of course, and collectible records. Two different but complementary products, two expressions of the same culture.
Paolo arranges the clothes on the stands with care and great precision, and then, behind his counter, he devotes himself to music.
This is a passion that he carries with him as a kid. And Paolo is also a DJ.
But let’s not rush too much, let’s go in order. We had arrived at the shop.
There are more chaotic days, others calmer, some customers come in to take a look, someone buys. Others stop for a small talk. And Paolo continues to tell his story, while he polishes his beloved vinyls and plays some music.
The atmosphere here is obviously different from that of a classic shop. The background music, the relaxed atmosphere, make it an extremely pleasant environment, where people come in and feel at ease.
And I keep chatting with Paolo, who tells me about his past as a scenographic builder and his collaborations also with Italian TV, a job that accompanied him from his 19 to 27 years more or less.
And then the passion for music that has never been lacking.
What is most striking about being with Paolo at his shop is the comings and goings not only of the customers but also of the people of the neighborhood.
So I take the opportunity to ask him what it was like to be, as a foreigner, in such a popular neighborhood. But Paolo immediately tells me that he never had the feeling to be a foreigner in the Mouraria. The important thing, he explains to me, was to maintain a low profile, not to impose himself, but to respect the place where he is. Knowing how to integrate with the people who were already there. And today Paolo has integrated very well into that spirit, typical of Mouraria, which welcomes you into his “family” creating a bond between “neighbors” rather than between competing shops.
“And how do you manage the shop, the purchases, in particular of discs?” I ask him. And Paolo explains to me that that is the most complicated part because, if technology comes and help him for clothes, with online research and suppliers, for vinyls it is more complicated. Most come from private collections and the purchase is often the result of more elaborate work. Paolo must make an appointment, visit the collection, evaluate, and then deal with the aspect of the buying. And sometimes it’s also about making long enough trips to contact collectors.
Being able to manage everything on your own, therefore, can be really complicated at times.
But the working day is almost over, at least as far as the shop is concerned. And Paolo prepares to close.
But I take time out of one last question: “Why Tropical Bairro?” Paolo explains to me that the name comes from the link with music, the rhythms of the tropics that are so much part of his culture and his musical passion. And he wanted to pass it on in the name of his shop as well. At the same time he wanted a link with Lisbon and its Bairro (ed. District). And playing a little with Portuguese and English in the title, “Tropical Bairro” came out
19h: It’s really time to close. The sun has become less intense, a Pakistani child plays football, someone drinks a beer on the steps of São Cristovão, and the shutters of the Tropical Bairro are lowered.
But our story is not over!
As I told you, there is a passion that has always accompanied Paolo since he was a teenager, and that is music. And he has always dedicated himself to DJ’s job.
I ask him how this passion of his was born and he explains to me that it all began with films and soundtracks. When cinematic music struck him, he would go in search of the film’s soundtrack and from there to the song, then the artist and his music. A real research.
And this is how Paolo discovers Reggae music, the American one of the 1950s, and begins to discover the influences between Jamaican music and that of New Orleans. And then the Latin, Brazilian and above all African, in particular that of Cape Verde and Angola.
And it was precisely the music that welded the meeting between Paolo and our Alex, who knows Cape Verdean culture and music well, who worked in Angola. And it is from there, from the common passion for this music, that a meeting, “um dia de cada vez”, was transformed into a friendship.
And when the shop’s shutters are lowered, the curtain rises on Paolo DJ, on his ability to mix sounds from many countries.
After all, he confesses to me, one of the things that fascinated him about Lisbon was the musical culture that came from the former Portuguese colonies.
10pm: Time to start. The vinyls are ready, Paolo has prepared his selection.
And there he is, with his original headset in the shape of a telephone handset, in perfect vintage style of course, to slide the vinyls on the plates. And his music spreads.
“What do you feel when you play? Do you get lost a bit in your world and in your music? “, I ask him. And Paolo explains to me that it is precisely what he tries not to do, to isolate himself in his music. For him it is important to share, to be able to convey those same emotions to those who are listening to him, to observe those around him to also see his reaction to the music of that moment.
“It’s not always easy,” he explains to me. “You have to know how to adapt to the place and occasion in which you are”.
On some occasions Paolo’s music plays the background in a lounge bar, other times it animates parties and evenings in which the “must” is to dance.
And it is in his role as DJ that Paolo is probably more comfortable than him.
What is certain, whether when you enter the Tropical Bairro, or when the Tropical Bairro comes to you through his music, you cannot help but be carried away by this fascinating world about which Paolo still has a lot to tell.
A very famous fado says: “Uma casa Portuguesa com certeza” (a Portuguese house, no doubt) and when you enter in Zé dos Cornos you may think that this phrase was meant for them.
Let’s put a family, add traditional Portuguese dishes, join a nice handful of joy, a pinch of irony, season with the typical welcome of the beautiful Minho region, and here you have Zé dos Cornos, a traditional place from four generations.
To try to reconstruct the long history of this family and the place, we ask Marco for help. João Marco Ferreira to be precise. But not to confuse him with his father, João Ferreira, for everyone he is Marco, the youngest of this family.
Marco, through memories also linked to conversations with his grandmother, helps us retrace the history of the Ferreira family and Zé dos cornos. But his father João can’t resist, and from time to time he leaves the counter to join Marco’s story and also tell some of his details and memories, giving rise to an extraordinary father-son duet that immediately introduces us to the atmosphere of this place, a place where you can breathe a family feeling.
But let’s try to go in order and, with some steps back in the time, let’s try to retrace this story.
Originally this place was not a restaurant but a carvoeria, that is a charcoal shop, a place that sold coal, oil, and everything that could be used to light and heat the houses. At the time, there was no electricity in the city. This was a job that normally did in Lisbon the Galicians, who, given the geographical proximity, often worked in Portugal. And this place belonged to Celia Cabo, and was managed by two Galician sisters.
Domingos João Ferreira, João’s grandfather and Marco’s great-grandfather, originally from Ponte de Lima in the beautiful Minho region, after his military service decides to buy this place and therefore continue with the tradition of coal.
The shop served the entire Mouraria area and beyond.
As in a perfect family saga, the family shop passes to his son José, for all Zé, who arrives here at the age of 13 and who, later, begins to manage it together with his wife Maria.
And here is the first evolution of the place: together with the charcoal shop, Maria begins to prepare some dishes in a small space next to it. Simple things, such as could be found in this kind of place. The family lived and worked here.
The kitchen, Marco explains to me, was located where today there is a small bathroom and, where the kitchen currently is, there was a room with a large table, and behind this room, the family house with a small courtyard. A typical Portuguese house.
And here João intervenes to tell us that as a kid he practically had to go through the shop entrance to go home.
The charcoal shop of Zé is transformed, thanks to Maria’s dishes, into the Casa de pasto (a tavern) of Zé Ferreira. But people kept connecting Zé to his work as a charcoal burner, and it becomes Zé Carvoeiro – Zé Coalman.
But how did we get to the name of Zé dos cornos (Zé of the horns) then? I ask Marco.
And he explains to me that in reality it all begins on the day when Zé, whose portrait dominates the entrance of the restaurant, comes home with a pair of horns, the ones to hang on the walls as a hunting trophy and which still dominate today on the head of his portrait. From there, people began to call it Zé dos cornos. Marco also shows us a sticker, one of the first made for the restaurant, where in fact we see Zé with these horns.
And so I joke with Marco, because I knew a different version, namely that this nickname came from the fame of womanizer who accompanied his grandfather. And Marco and João laughed. And they tell me that the name does not come from there, but that this is not exactly an urban legend because Zé really was a Don Giovanni.
João tells me that when there was a woman at the restaurant, she didn’t get rid of his father so easily. And he says it has always been like this, until the end. Unfortunately, Mr. Zé cannot be here to disprove as he passed away in 2013 after a fulminant liver disease.
And today to hold the restaurant, there are João and his wife Carmelinda, for all Minda. Another generation, the third, another story.
In the meantime, the place hasn’t changed a lot, also because Mr. Zé, João tells us, didn’t like big transformations, he was very conservative, and convincing him to modernize the place was not easy. For example, the steel counter of the restaurant has been there for at least 40 years and it was already 32 years ago that this tavern took on its current appearance, except for some minor renovations.
The great innovation of this place was the great embers that were offered to them and that allow to the tavern to prepare its specialties: grilled dishes, meat and fish cooked on the grill. So delicious!
There are other family members in the kitchen, most notably Minda’s sister Maria. And it was thanks to Maria, albeit indirectly, that Minda and João met.
And then Marco explains to us that Minda worked in Braga and had arrived in Lisbon to help her sister Maria after her childbirth.
Maria lived not far from the restaurant and Minda therefore passed in front of the tavern door. And when João saw Minda … “He never more gave up on me!” Minda intervenes. “Of course I wasn’t expecting him, I had another boyfriend in Braga!” she continues, amid general laughter.
Minda is like this, the soul of this place, a woman of great spirit and sympathy.
And so in the end Minda and João got married, 28 years ago. And now they live together, they work together… “I can’t take it anymore” she says laughing. But theirs is a really beautiful union.
Maria also tells us that always staying together in the family is not always easy, sometimes at work there may be small tensions, but then affection always wins over everything and they forget and very quickly everything is ok.
And in the last years, Marco, the son of Minda and João, the fourth generation of this extraordinary family, has also been working in the tavern.
Marco says that he had started working in another field, but that after his study he finally decided to join the family.
As he tells us, it’s hard work, mostly because of the working time, but it’s their place, their family and what they do best.
This tavern keeps intact the spirit of the typical Portuguese “tascas”, with large tables and wooden stools. And the tradition of this place has always been to combine complete strangers at the same table, a truly impeccable way to find yourself having lunch and making new friends.
Marco tells us that when, for example, people of the same nationality arrived, he joined them at the same table to make them feel more at ease. And he has, in this way, also lit the spark between some people. He tells us, for example, that years ago he had seated at the same table an Italian and a Brazilian who had ended up chatting for a long time and they had continued long after that lunch at Zé dos cornos. Finally they got married and even wanted to organize the wedding dinner there in the tavern, where their love was born.
There are many stories to tell, Marco tells us. Zé dos cornos remains an authentic place despite the great publicity it has received over the years and which has attracted many tourists. An advertisement not sought, Marco tells us, but happened, with old customers who recommended the place to others, journalists who showed up at the door, they also talked about them on Dutch TV. And many famous people have passed and still pass by. “But for us, famous or not, it makes no difference,” says Marco, because anyone who arrives is welcomed in the same way.
Definitely a place out of the ordinary, where tourists and regular customers have met in the last years, where hospitality reigns supreme and where you can still enjoy a cup of red green vinho. A Minho specialty that is very rare to find outside that region, because it is produced only for local customers. But like a good Minho family, the Ferreira da Zé dos cornos have it.
One more reason to visit this place and immerse yourself in a familiar, fun, relaxed atmosphere while enjoying a plate of meat or grilled cod, sipping a glass of wine, “red green” of course.
Zé dos cornos is in Beco dos Surradores 5.
In the Mouraria, the neighborhood that was granted to the Moors after the Christian conquest, what is considered one of the most mystical and ancient places in Lisbon, the cradle of Fado, where the spirit of Maria Severa hovers among the narrow streets, there is a place which is now part of the spirit of the Mouraria: the tavern “Os Amigos da Severa”.
In this now legendary place, where it is said that Maria Severa herself (considered the first fado singer in the nineteenth century, Ed.) sang, we are welcomed by Mr. Antonio, who everyone call Antonio da Severa.
Antonio was born in Beira Alta in 1953, he moved to Lisbon with his family, who arrived in the capital for work reasons.
At that time Antonio was 10 years old. He himself begins to work very early. He tells us about a job for the water company, in which he physically distributed water to people. Hard work, but getting busy was necessary.
Then, returning from military service, the big change: Antonio was just over twenty years old and decides to invest his savings in buying a tavern, his place, in which to start building his future.
And so in 1976, 45 years ago, he became the owner of the “Os Amigos da Severa” tavern.
This place is an incredible, original and out of time (and out of this world). Landmark of the neighborhood, many traditions come together in it: ginjinha, fado, Our Lady of Fatima …
No, I am not confused. I actually said Our Lady of Fatima
Because when you enter in this tavern, between bottles of wine and ginjinha, photographs and ancient paintings, she, Our Lady, stands on the counter to bless the place and whoever enters it.
Antonio tells us that it is a gift from a customer, which dates back to many years ago. This person had proposed to Antonio to offer him a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to protect him and this place, which for this client was a special place. And Antonio accepted, giving this statue a place of honor on his counter. It has since become a small sanctuary. It may sound irreverent, but it is an interesting example of how official and popular religious devotion come together. In the hands of Our Lady many rosaries and Antonio explains to us that many people pass by to ask for a grace and, when their prayer is answered, then they leave a rosary as a thank you in the hands of Our Lay. And even Antonio, when he makes a toast, never forgets to dedicate a word to Our Lady and invoke her blessing on him.
But in addition to this corner of faith, in this mystical place you can really find everything.
On the walls old record covers, of fado, of course. There are Amalia and Fernando Mauricio, a myth for the people of the neighborhood. Actually, Fernando said that as a child he would sit on a barrel, right outside this tavern, to listen to fado. And even today, fado is never lacking here. The “vadio”, vagabond, the most popular and spontaneous one. And when there is no one who sings, then there is radio Amalia, which broadcasts fado at any time and which never fails in Antonio’s tavern.
Antonio proudly displays the ancient paintings on the walls of his tavern, those representing Maria Severa, but also the inevitable Santo Antonio, to whom the June festivities so loved by the neighborhood are dedicated.
And then there are the photos, lots of photos, from different years. But the one who always has the most important place is Antonio, the spirit of this place.
Just follow the photos along the walls to reconstruct the history of this place.
There is Antonio younger, in the company of musicians, who usually animate the tavern’s evenings, there are more recent photos and even a comic that represents him.
Antonio is not only the owner of “Os Amigos da Severa”, Antonio is “os amigos da Severa”. Anyone who passes by, looks out even for a moment to greet him, or to have a quick drink, preferably with him, who is always available to keep you company.
At Antonio’s you go in for a cold beer, or a glass of wine without too many pretensions, or a ginjinha, which unlike the other bars here is served in a less alcoholic and cold version.
Antonio is very proud of it. He shows us a sentence stuck to the refrigerator which reads “Of Severa and Antonio I remember a good thing, there is a famous ginjinha which is the best in Lisbon”
And Antonio’s ginjinha is really famous, as it is also mentioned in a book of wines and spirits.
And if there were still doubts as to whether Antonio’s life is closely linked to this place, he continues to tell us how he now knows each of his clients. There are the regular ones he doesn’t even have to ask what they want, because Antonio already knows. And even with people passing by, he can figure out what he would like to drink. Years of experience, contacts with people. After all this is what most him like it. In this place Antonio has combined the need to earn with the pleasure of being among others, in the neighborhood that he loves most.
Antonio has been living in Mouraria for some years. Before, he lived in the Benfica neighborhood, but he had always been a “resident of Mouraria”. “The house is what we choose, where we feel good” he tells us. And he loves this place; it is no coincidence that he welcomes us proudly wearing the neighborhood shirt.
It is now part of the “Bairro” (neighborhood), a real institution. He knows it, has lived it, has seen it change, passing from the poor and infamous neighborhood to the neighborhood finally recognized as historic and authentic.
And Antonio’s tavern is part of this place that the Moors have left us. It was there, according to history, already two hundred years ago. And in the last 45 years the life of this place has been intertwined with that of Antonio, who proudly shows us the documents of the time, to attest to a link between him and that place that has lasted for a long time.
When you decide to walk through the Mouraria then, right next to the house of Maria Severa Onofriana, which now is an important fado house (Maria da Mouraria), stop for a glass with Mr. Antonio. Take advantage of it to breathe an air of authenticity, without letting yourself be impressed by the rather original aspect of the place, but enjoying a unique atmosphere.
After all, at the tavern “Os amigos da severa” it’s like having a drink with friends.
And as the sign that looks at us from above says: “Drink, without fear, until you drink one glass too much, we will keep the secret and take you home”.
Reading in an article that 10 Guinness World Records were achieved in New York City in 2021 impresses us.
But what if we told you that in Almada, in the little Cacilhas, there are three Records?
And they are all concentrated in the hands of the same person: Eduardo Diniz Henriques.
But let’s go in order and begin to get to know Eduardo and his story more closely.
Born in Coimbra, he arrived in Lisbon as a child; and today he tells us a story worthy of a book.
He leaves for military service with the air force and thus arrives in Mozambique. Contact with Africa marks him forever.
He begins to talk about those lands, its people, the years of work that are linked to those lands and what comes out is an evident love for Africa and a nostalgia for those lands that still accompanies him. His regret, he says, is not having stayed there.
It is in Mozambique that Eduardo decides to embark and begin his life at sea. Initially as a “Load Controller” and later as a “Navigation Pilot”. In the meantime, he studies sailing and becomes a pilot (the one who helps the captain in port waters in docking or departure maneuvers). He will devote about fifteen years of his life to work on ships.
When he talks to us about those years, he does it with enthusiasm. Basically he comes from a land of navigators. And Eduardo does not forget it. And he carries this historical and cultural heritage with pride.
He alternates his story with Portuguese history, remembers the places where the Lusitanian people docked many centuries ago and when he himself was able to visit them.
Somehow having lived by sea, having crossed those places, allowed him to understand the difficulties that his ancestors had experienced before him.
And he begins to tell us about when for work, on a ship, the Induna (which, he explains, in the Zulu language means “the one who commands”) made trips lasting three days between Durban and Cape Town. He explains that during those trips he had understood the difficulties that the navigators before him had encountered in the passage of the Cape of Good Hope. The currents that meet and collide between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean create terrible storms.
And he, just like in an adventure book, went through those storms, working at that time as a second pilot.
He tells us about that experience with many small details, drawing a path through an imaginary line on the table. And his gaze lights up when he talks about how he survived the storm and the vision of a huge rock rising from the sea. “I understood what the Portuguese sailors felt and why they thought that great monsters inhabited those waters” – he tells us.
And it is from these experiences linked to the sea and its many adventures that the passion for the nautical world comes, and two activities that, he tells us, are interconnected: the collection of nautical art objects and the creation of huge paintings decorated with coins of all the world.
The first passion was born out of a pride: in the years 76/77 he worked on a refrigeration ship in Holland and found, in a Dutch port, various nautical objects and parts of Portuguese ships. And then he told himself that it wasn’t fair for him, a Portuguese, to watch while other countries bought and exhibited parts of his country’s history.
And after that he had begun to buy pieces of ancient ships, some even very rare, and to collect them. His dream would be to be able to buy a villa in Malaga that he has visited and which is full of nautical objects. A real treasure. Today he resells some, it has become his job. But the few customers are foreigners.
And foreigners are also those who are usually interested in his great passion, the one that has earned him three world records: the creation of paintings with coins from all over the world.
The creation of these paintings, often of enormous dimensions, involves a whole rather complicated procedure. Once he had the idea of the subject, linked to the theme of Portuguese maritime expansion, he realizes the drawing on a sheet in order to create the measures to scale. Then he chooses the coins, because they must be suitable for the measures to be achieved, and counts how many coins will be needed to make the picture.
At that point he moves on to drawing and painting and, finally, to the patient application of coins, to which a piece of double-sided tape is applied. And in the end, he tops it all off with a clear coat.
Obviously everything is prepared with care, even the color to be used as the basis of the design, which must highlight the color of the coins, and the coins themselves, which are sometimes new (lighter and brighter), sometimes older but polished and other ancient and unpolished, to create different variations and intensities of colors.
The preparation of a painting, depending on the size, can take around six months.
Incredible, for examples, it is the painting Brasil with 17,630 coins, half Brazilian and half Portuguese
But how did this idea come about? Why this theme and why coins?
Eduardo tells us that he had been dedicating himself for some time to the collection of coins and therefore had many. Some bought, others exchanged at fairs of antiques for other items.
He had thought of doing something with it and then he had linked the idea of coins to the idea of luck, and what greater luck than that of the great Portuguese maritime history?
Eduardo does not hide the fact that behind this idea there is also a lot of bitterness. Today when we talk about Portugal, we often talk about a small poor country. It seems that it is almost difficult to remember the glorious era of this country. And Eduardo says he is very disappointed with the attitude of the Portuguese people themselves who often seem resigned to this idea of their own country and who do nothing to show to the world a different reality.
Eduardo is very fierce and defends his freedom of expression and is keen to emphasize that April 25 (1974, the end of the dictatorship Ed.) from a certain point of view was the 25 “of the misfortune” because many things have changed, the country has forgotten its glory and its past.
And it is precisely that glory that Eduardo wants to rediscover through his works.
The first painting he had no more: during an exhibition at the Lusophone university it was purchased by the rector. It represented the Adamastor monster, that of Luis Vaz de Camões’ Lusiades, all made with Portuguese coins.
But there are three other paintings that have earned him the titles of Guinness World Records, in order:
– The painting Bandeira (Flag) made with 19,045 coins
In the center, the map of Portugal. Below the words LUSITANIA, PORTUGAL, PATRIA, FAITH IN GOD. On the bottom the Portuguese flag.
– The painting Portuguese Empire, with 37,121 coins and five meters in length made with coins from all former Portuguese colonies
– The painting Europe, 8 meters 40 and 183 cm high, 67,567 coins of different values and metals.
Now such large paintings he does not make any more, because they require a large financial investment. Then he creates smaller paintings, with the insertion of some coins.
There remains the project of a last work that he was unable to create and of which he shows us the drawings: a 20 meter long painting in which Brazil and the Castle of São Jorge were to be represented and for which 150,000 coins would be needed.
Eduardo’s dream would have been to be able to exhibit these works, including his paintings, but also nativity scenes, nautical objects and clocks made with coins, in a museum space.
Eduardo is combative and has really tried everything: he wrote to the newspapers, to the President of the European Bank and the Portuguese one, to all the institutions linked to culture, but until now his dream was not realized.
Some foreigners visit him from time to time, a Canadian journalist has even dedicated an article to him. But his works continue to be piled up in his atelier.
Today, at the age of 76, he tells us that he does not already expect to realize this dream, but he says it with evident regret and sadness.
He also proudly shows a letter from José Hermano Saraiva, to whom he had sent a small book, in which the historical popularizer promises to keep this book in his library, and another letter from Pope John Paul II who thanks him for the book he had donated. Even Pope Francis wrote to him, he tells us.
We leave with one last question: his dream.
And Eduardo gives us perhaps the only answer that a man with a thousand adventures like him could give us: “To win the lottery to be able to build a museum in which to leave my works to all those who want to see them and then buy a small boat and go around the world”.
Will he succeed? We can only imagine what other adventures he will then have to tell us.
If you want to visit Eduardo’s atelier in Cacilhas, it is in Rua Elias Garcia, 34
If you are in Lisbon in the month of June, during the festivities of Saint Anthony, you will probably come across a throne. Not that of a king, but that of the Saint. An ancient tradition that is hardly maintained, at least in its most traditional form.
The throne is a kind of staircase where on the top there is the statue of St. Anthony and on the stairs other saints, or married couples (St. Anthony is a casamenteiro saint, you have to pray to him when you are looking for a husband / wife) . And the throne of Saint Anthony is built for the feast of the Saint and then destroyed at the end of June with the conclusion of the feast.
But in Alfama there are thrones that are not taken apart, which remain on display all year round, and they are those of João.
In the small garden of his house, where he has lived since 1998, various decorations are combined, all different, which are the expression of a world to be discovered and of moments that are part of João’s life and his story, which he agrees to tell us.
The first question, unavoidable, is where does this strong passion for building thrones come from. Definitely from the desire to put into practice an innate talent for DIY, but above all from the love for traditions and for the feast of Saint Anthony.
His passion, he tells us, begins as a child, when with 7/8 years he kept company with his aunt who built a throne for the Saint near her shop.
And João had the right to be with her, proud next to the throne, elegantly dressed to honor the Saint and the party. And he could also go around asking for “a coin for Saint Anthony”.
This tradition began in the 18th century when, after the terrible earthquake of 1755, money was collected to rebuild the church of the Saint. In modern times, João tells us, these coins were used to buy candies, cookies or other sweets.
And it is to his childhood that his first memory of the throne is linked. And this passion has never stopped since then. He started building them for the festival, then for his children (who sometimes pretended they had built it) and then he continued for passion.
Although he did not do anything for work that had to do with art and craftsmanship, João seems to have done nothing else in his life.
He takes about thirty minutes to assemble a throne, he explains to us, but what matters and requires work is the preparation of the structure, of the elements that compose it.
His thrones have become so famous that a few days ago he was invited to a Sunday broadcast on the Sic channel. And of course he is very proud of it. He was able to show live how he creates these small pieces of art. And the Lisbon Cultural Agenda dedicated a page of his article on thrones to him. “A little celebrity” – we tell him.
João is proud to present his works to us: there is the most classic throne with the Saint, the most decorated one, there is the spectacular one dedicated to Amalia, last year, on the centenary of her birth. A throne in which the work of Vhils “Calçada” which represents the face of Amalia made on the Portuguese calcada (and which you can admire in Largo de Sao Tomé ed.) become the basis of a throne where the typical Portuguese cobblestone pavement is the master; there is a lamppost, and on top a Portuguese guitar, that of Fado. And of course Saint Anthony on the top.
With the pandemic, the popular festivals were suspended and then João felt even stronger the desire to carry on this tradition anyway.
“Everything is born with an idea and then I start creating,” João tells us. This passion for art has inherited his daughter, one of his five children. Two have left Portugal, one for England and the other for Spain.
His children are also linked to traditions, they also participated in popular marches (which are held every year on June 12th on the Avenida da Liberdade Ed.) but for different neighborhoods.
I’m surprised. “How, not for Alfama?”.
And João explains to us that sometimes Alfama does not pamper his “children” as she should. That the times when this neighborhood was a big family, without envy or jealousy, seems to be a distant memory. The memory of a cheerful neighborhood, animated by children who are fewer and fewer today. And so also a tradition such as the throne, which is created especially for the youngest of the family, begins to get lost. Or it becomes a commercial object, explains João, in shop windows, to promote the products on sale.
But the throne is another thing and it is what João tries to promote and preserve. And many people in the neighborhood have asked him to keep these works and his small garden now looks almost like a museum, where his thrones are on display all year round.
But the thrones are not the only work that João makes.
“The world of art and entertainment fascinates me” he confesses. And he shows us a vase in the window, made with a fake leg complete with a garter (sewn by him of course).
He tells us how he wanted to create something with this piece of mannequin and then he had thought of the Moulin Rouge and the Can Can dancers and had decided to transform that leg into something original, unusual, his personal homage to the world of entertainment.
But there is still something that attracts our attention in his small garden: a statue, perhaps Saint Anthony, perhaps not. Certainly a Franciscan, with his head covered.
But what strikes us most is the story.
João tells us that this statue he found near the waste, broken sideways, ruined, and he wanted to recover it, but he couldn’t. He then found it in the nearby viewpoint and therefore thought that the statue now had a new location.
Days later the statue was there again, abandoned in the garbage. Then João had not hesitated, he had recovered, repaired, repainted it and given it the place of honor in his small garden.
And then he confesses that in reality that statue had reminded him of a person, a hermit monk, dressed in white, who had represented a father for him, who had been a guide for him (one of his sons bears his name) and who died in the same year as Amalia (1999), leaving a great void in his life.
And when that statue appeared, it was like a sign to him that he couldn’t ignore; he had to take her home.
Before leaving us, João tells us that his art also extends to Nativities, which he does not exhibit because he does not want anyone to damage them as has happened with some thrones.
And then he promises that he will show them to us someday.
In the meantime, we have to “settle” for his small open-air museum which proudly preserves one of the oldest popular traditions in Lisbon.
When you go down the streets of Alfama, through the long staircase that starts from Largo das Portas do Sol, the one in which the remains of the old wall take you back to distant times, Dora, a classic Portuguese mother, welcomes you in the portico of a house.
A loving mother who doesn’t forget to kiss or caress her children.
And Lisbon guides cannot fail to get to know her, because when you pass through Alfama, her kind look and cheerful greeting are inevitable.
And that’s how I met her, because as I passed by that street, her smile and her kindness always impressed me. And when she didn’t see me pass by for a few days, she asked everyone who knew me about my news. And since then, she adopted me, since then I’m “her daughter” and when I need a hug from Mom, Dora’s never fails.
Dora sells ginjinha on the street, the traditional cherry liqueur, enriched with sugar, cinnamon and brandy, which, according to tradition, was already sold in the 19th century as a remedy for sore throats.
In Lisbon it’s a tradition, a little glass of ginjinha can’t be missed. And whoever comes to Lisbon as a tourist can’t fail to try the ginjinha and usually do so in one of the city’s bars.
But Dora sells the ginjinha on the street, like in the old days. The municipality of Lisbon allows it, in the old area of Alfama, in exchange for a monthly fee.
And before this pandemic, during the popular festivals in June, Dora also prepared the traditional rice pudding with her special recipe (Delicious!)
Dora is a woman from Alfama, it’s her neighborhood and she’s proud of it. It was here that she was born, in her grandparents’ house, a few streets from where she now lives. This is where she has always lived, on the same street where she was born, in a house nearby.
It was in Alfama that Dora met João. A love that was born when she was 13 and he was 18, crowned by marriage three years later. A great love embellished by three children. A love that cannot be forgotten. And the emotion starts to be felt, because João, her João, passed away few months ago. A void, the one he left in Dora’s life, that cannot be filled.
But she doesn’t want to make us sad and she doesn’t want to be sad, so she changes the subject.
She talks about her family, the children she loves, her grandson Dinis, born three years ago. And then Dora’s eyes shine again, the proud grandmother can’t resist showing us the last pictures of “the love of her life”.
So I ask her why this choice, why sell ginjinha on the street.
And Dora says that she has always worked, especially in restaurants, but a fractured leg in 1995 forced her to wear prostheses for four years and then to a pain that no longer allowed her to continue with her previous work.
And then she starts to get lost in the history of the past, she tells us about the first days after the wedding, the house they lived in, the in-laws’ house, always in Alfama of course, and that they had to leave years ago, following the laws that in Portugal, had allowed many evictions. So Dora and her family lost their home, the one where they were building their future, and moved to the one where Dora lives today.
“It was my great-grandmother’s house”, she tells us, then it was her mother’s and finally hers.
And many times Dora is there, at the window on the first floor, and all you have to do is call her down and ask a glass of ginjinha.
Dora’s story continues to go back in time and the portrait that emerges is that of a tireless and adventurous woman. Pregnant with her second child, and well into her pregnancy, she traveled between Spain and Portugal to work. And one day, in her eighth month of pregnancy, her second child was almost born during a trip.
Tireless, even with the baby’s belly, because she had to work, for the family.
The work never scared her.
And three years ago, a new idea, a new challenge. One day her son came home and said: “Mother, I know a lady who makes ginjinha at home. Why don’t you sell it? ”
Dora had decided to accept her son’s proposal, “she needed to work”, she says. But she was embarrassed.
And the first day she ended up with no customers. She wanted to give up. It was the perfect reason to do this, the excuse she needed for her son. But she didn’t. She decided to try again.
And today she continues, not only to earn something, but especially “because she doesn’t want to be alone at home”
She has no fixed hours; if she is not there, she tells us, just call her.
She positions herself there, under the door of her house, around 11am and then again some in the afternoon. It depends on the time, it depends on people’s passage.
But for Dora, this work hides a value far more important than money: people. The passage of people through the streets of Alfama, exchanging a smile with her, wishing her a good day, makes her feel good, doesn’t give her time to feel alone.
And Dora needs to surround herself with people, she who is so happy, sociable, smiling. It doesn’t take much. Sometimes her affectionate cry “Daughter!” it reaches me from far away on the street in Alfama, all you have to do is send her a kiss from afar or shout “how are you?” to see the smile in her eyes.
The pandemic was a heavy blow for Dora, and not only because the tourists disappeared and with them much of her work, but because fewer and fewer people passed through the streets of Alfama for many months. And those comings and goings that so fill Dora’s heart with joy no longer exist.
And then she anxiously waits for this period to end, for people to laugh again in the streets and hug each other without fear, come back to keep company, chatting and drinking a ginjinha.
That’s what Dora is. Chilly and covered in more coats in winter, with a classic dress in summer, but always her, and always there, under the door of her house, with her bottle of homemade ginjinha.
One euro for Dora’s ginjinha – says the sign hanging next to the banquet – one euro for the glass of liqueur, but above all for a smile, for her affection and for her incredible humanity.
How many times, strolling through the small streets of Lisbon, you meet a look, a smile, from someone you meet every day, but who deep down you don’t know.
And maybe you’ve asked yourself many times what history these people, who are unknowingly part of your daily life, keep.
That’s why our project #Um dia de cada vez was born: we’re going to talk about Lisbon, but without focusing on the city. We will do it by talking about the people.
Are you ready to find out who is hiding behind the people that you meet around the corner, sitting in a cafe or looking out the window?
We are Alex and Rossana, two Italians adopted by Portugal and in love with this country, which we have chosen as our new land. And from today, what we will try to tell you through stories and images, will be the people we have met and we’re meeting, people that day by day, Um dia de cada vez, became part of our lives.
Um dia de cada vez, is a typical Portuguese expression that means “Day by day” and also hides an idea of hope, of patience.
And this is the meaning of our project: open the doors of these people, look out the window with them, sit with them in a cafe… and tell their story. The story of the people who, day by day, are part of our life. Ordinary people, artists, musicians, vendors…
Um dia de cada vez, we will get to know them and, when we meet their gaze, we will know the story that they hide behind their eyes.
Start this journey with us, come and meet the people of Lisbon, through Rossana’s words and Alex’s images.
And on this journey we will not be alone: if you also have someone who, Um dia de cada vez, has become part of your daily life and you want to know more about him, let us know.
We will immediately start discovering his story.
WHO WE ARE
Alex Paganelli is an Advertising Creative and self-taught photographer.
He studied Sociology and Communication at the University of Urbino and began his career working as a graphic designer in Rome, the city where he was born.
In 2008 he moved to Lisbon for love and soon fell in love with the light and streets of the Portuguese capital.
He currently works as a Creative in an advertising agency and develops personal photography projects.
His work has appeared in national and international online publications, including Expresso (Portugal), Viajes National Geographic (Spain), Marie Claire (Spain), Forbes (Czech Republic), Harper’s Bazaar Arabia (Dubai), CNN Greece and Remix Magazine (New Zealand).
Rossana Crisci, 100% Neapolitan, is an archaeologist and studied History of Art and Museology at the École du Louvre in Paris. Author of two books, after many years spent in Vienna, where she worked as a guide in the Hofburg-imperial apartments, she arrived in Lisbon and it was love at first sight. Every hidden corner of this city, the labyrinthine streets of the city center, the sound of Fado in the hidden alleys, the smell of sardines grilled in the summer, all this captivated her heart. And she did not go away.
Today, her job is to make others fall in love with this country, guiding them through the most representative streets and in the most hidden corners of the city and doing what she loves most: telling stories.
Each year at the Cathedral of Lisbon, sixteen couples celebrate their wedding together on the eve of St. Anthony’s Day, 12th June. These are the Santo António weddings. To be able to enroll, you must apply from January to March, and at least one of the bride and groom must be a resident of Lisbon.
For one day, they will be true stars, with an interview on television and in the newspapers and a parade through the streets of the city. And they receive the honeymoon offered by the city.
This event, of great importance for Lisbon, in 2008 commemorated its 50th anniversary. It was in 1958 that, for the first time, 26 couples were united by marriage in the Church of Santo António. The aim of the initiative was to make marriage possible for couples with greater financial difficulties.
After sixteen years of well-attended editions, the tradition was interrupted in the troubled year of 1974. Thirty years later, the Lisbon City Council recovered the Santo António Weddings with the same purpose of providing the union of sixteen couples in a memorable day for their families and for all Lisboners.
Today, the Weddings of Santo António constitute an unavoidable mark in the popular tradition of Lisbon, contributing, each year, to affirm the cultural identity of the City.