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The São Bento district is the political center of the country, the place where the Assembleia da República Portuguesa is located in the building of the former São Bento da Saúde Monastery. The main streets of São Bento are Rua de São Bento and Rua do Poço dos Negros. São Bento is a neighborhood of narrow, winding and labyrinthine streets, the best way to get to know São Bento is on foot… From the Assembly of the Republic, you can walk down Avenida Dom Carlos I, and arrive in ten minutes to the coast of the Tagus river near Cais do Sodré. São Bento is the place where the politics of Portugal happens! It borders the Santos neighborhood, the Estrela neighborhood, it is close to the Alto neighborhood and the Principe Real. The highlights of São Bento’s landscape are the São Bento Convent and the Palácio da Flor da Murta. It was in São Bento that the Portuguese writer Alexandre Herculano was born, where the fado singer Amália Rodrigues and the poet Fernando Pessoa lived, two of the great symbols of Portuguese culture. São Bento is a quiet neighborhood where you can live in safety and harmony.
The neighborhood of São Bento is included in the parish of Estrela, which includes The neighborhood of Estrela | The neighborhood of Lapa | The neighborhood of Santos-O-Velho | The neighborhood of Madragoa | The neighborhood of São Bento.
Attractions to visit in the São Bento neighborhood (top 10)
1. The Palácio de São Bento (São Bento da Saúde Monastery) ![(38.713365, -9.153932)] is a neoclassical style palace where the seat of the Parliament of the Assembly of the Republic since 1834, the legislative body of the Portuguese State. Construction began in 1598 at Quinta da Saúde, a former monastery officially designated as São Bento da Saúde Monastery, and also known as Monastery of Blacks because it belonged to the Black Friars of Tibães. The Monastery was started by Baltazar Álvares (1560-1630) and completed by Friar Pedro Quaresma and Friar João Turriano. The original design of the monastery included four cloisters, a church with side chapels, two towers, a bedroom, a barbershop, a kitchen, a refectory, cellars, a mill, an oven and workshops. The São Bento da Saúde Monastery was handed over to the Cortes on September 4, 1833.
2. Jardim de São Bento ![(38.711659, -9.154793)] located next to the Palácio de São Bento, stands out for its statues called The Family, by Leopoldo de Almeida (1898-1975)
3. Fundação Mário Soares ![(38.712856, -9.152826)]: is a foundation with a mission to promote cultural and political activities, and preserve the memory and history of former President of the Republic Mário Soares (1924-2017), located near the Palace of São Bento. The Mário Soares Foundation was founded on September 12, 1991 by Mário Soares himself. The main highlights of the Mário Soares Foundation are:
- Archive and Library: stands out for its documentation related to Mário Soares, Contemporary History of Portugal, history of the Republic in Portugal and articles related to the Revolution of 25 April 1974 , also known as the Carnation Revolution, which ended the dictatorial regime that had been in force since 1933.
- Mário Soares House-Museum: Mário Soares House-Museum and the João Soares Cultural Center are located outside Lisbon, in the parish of Cortes, municipality of Leiria. These two institutions are managed by the Mário Soares Foundation. The Library, a tile panel by Heim Semke and the garden designed by the architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Teles
deserve to be highlighted.
4. São Bento Market ![(38.714039, -9.153220)]: located in front of the São Bento Palace, it is one of the main attractions of São Bento street due to its wide gastronomic variety. The São Bento Market was the place where the old garden of the friars of the Monastery of São Bento was located. The São Bento Market was inaugurated on January 1, 1881, with 29 stalls selling vegetables, fruits, poultry, meat, fish. Currently, the São Bento Market has been renovated with new offerings that deserve to be highlighted, namely the Tasquinha Dim Sum, the Austrian sausage shop Wurst or the Nannarella gelateria.
5. Fundação Amália Rodrigues ![(38.715434, -9.154642)]: located at Rua de São Bento, 193, it integrates the Casa-Museu de Amália Rodrigues. The House-Museum of Amália Rodrigues was inaugurated on the 24th of July 2001 and presents itself with the same appearance since the death of Amália Rodrigues on the 6th of October 1999. The Amália Rodrigues Foundation was created by the fado singer in her will. . The main points of interest are a display with decorations that Amália Rodrigues received throughout her career, ceramic pieces from Companhia das Índias, a portrait of Amália Rodrigues by Luís Pinto Coelho, the dining room and the bedroom.
6. Café São Bento ![(38.713239, -9.153074)]: is known for having the Best Steak in Lisbon according to TimeOut, located at Rua de São Bento, number 212. Café de São Bento was inaugurated on July 12, 1982 with the aim of recreating the Bife à Marrare, which was served in cafés and restaurants in Lisbon in the 18th and 19th centuries. António Marrare, a Neapolitan, came to Lisbon at the end of the 18th century and opened several cafes and restaurants, near the Teatro de São Carlos, Cais do Sodré, Chiado and Rua dos Sapateiros. It was at the restaurant on Rua dos Sapateiros, known as Marrare das Sete Portas that Bife à Marrare appeared in 1884. Café de São Bento received several awards, namely one of the ten best restaurants in Lisbon for the English portal The Culture Trip and for the US magazine Times in an article Where Top Chefs Eat
7. Mestre João da Silva House-Museum ![(38.718392, -9.154408)]: located near Rua de São Bento and Largo do Rato stands out for its collection of 5595 pieces of jewelery , sculpture, numismatics, medalistics, ceramics, plaster and approximately 300 works by art. It was in this house that João da Silva (1880-1960), sculptor, medalist and chisel, lived and worked. Mestre João da Silva stood out due to several works, namely the First Gold Medal of the Republic of 1916, the First Commemorative Medal of the centenary of Silva Porto in 1950, the monuments in honor of the dead of the First World War* (1914-1918) in Poulignen, Évora and Valença do Minho, monument in honor of Júlio Diniz in Porto or of Sousa Lara in Angola.
8. IADE: Creative University ![(38.707321, -9.152542)]: It is a design building where the IADE university is located, located on Avenida Dom Carlos I, stands out for its dimension and architecture in the design of metallic crosses which features on the facade. IADE was founded in 1969, having been the first design school in Portugal. IADE is part of Laureate International Universities, the largest higher education group since 2015 and the European University since 2016
9. Atelier Museu Júlio Pomar ![(38.711585, -9.150404)]: located near Rua de São Bento, it stands out for the promotion and preservation of the work of Júlio Pomar. Júlio Pomar stands out due to several works in the areas of ceramics, painting, drawing and engraving, specifically painting The trolha lunch from 1946-1950, the tile panel on Avenida Infante Santo in Lisbon, the frame Gadanheiro. Júlio Pomar has won several awards and decorations, including the Engraving Prize in 1957, the Bissaya Barreto Prize in 2018, Grand Officer of the Ordem da Liberdade in 2004 and Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Lisbon in 2013. The main points of interest of the Atelier Museu Júlio Pomar are the work of Júlio Pomar, the holding of conferences and cultural activities and the publication Cadernos do Atelier.
10. Aqueduct from Rua do Arco to São Mamede ![(38.717167, -9.154731)]: located on Rua de São Mamede, the aqueduct connects Rua de São Bento and Rua da Escola Politécnica. The Aqueduct from Rua do Arco to São Mamede was part of the 127 arches of the Águas Livres Aqueduct, built between 1732 and 1748 by the King of Portugal Dom João V (1689-1750) with the aim of supplying water water to Lisbon. Next to the arch of the aqueduct is a fountain built by architect Reinaldo Manuel dos Santos (1731-1791), an engineer and military architect who participated in the elaboration of several works in the country, namely the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires in Lisbon, the spring of Largo do Carmo or the Basílica da Estrela[.]
Other attractions to explore in Bairro de São Bento
- Alma Lusa ![(38.719186, -9.155741)]: is a store with collectibles related to typical Portuguese themes, located near Largo do Rato and Rua de São Bento.;
- Casa de Chá Santa Isabel ![(38.719537, -9.155504)]: Located on Rua de São Bento, Casa de Chá Santa Isabel recreates the Tea Recipes of Grupo de Vicentinas of the Work of Our Lady of Amparo. In the 1950s, Vicentinas integrated fashion shows with the offer of teas and scones to spectators. What came to be called the Best Snack in Lisbon appeared. The profits of the Santa Isabel Tea House were donated to the social works of the Parish of Santa Isabel.;
- Denegro ![(38.718531, -9.155671)]: It is the first artisan chocolate workshop dedicated to the manufacture of chocolates, a chocolate restaurant located on Rua de São Bento. The Oficina Denegro stands out for its workshops, for the customization of candies for individuals and companies and for the carrying out of get-togethers* . Denegro opened in 2008;
- Loja Apaixonarte ![(38.710743, -9.151258)]: located on Poiais de São Bento street, this store stands out for its presence of Portuguese art. Loja Apaixonarte promotes local artists every month. Apaixonarte was created by Cláudia Cordeiro with the aim of making art accessible to everyone in 2012. Exhibitions by various artists have already passed through the store, including Tamara Alves, Margarida Girão, Pedro Zamith, Rita Cascais or Sara Feio.;
- Wurst ![(38.713989, -9.153318)]: is an Austrian sausage kiosk where you can taste typical German or Austrian food, located on Rua Nova da Piedade and integrated in the Mercado de St. Benedict.;
- Galerias de São Bento ![(38.710907, -9.152729)]: located on Rua de São Bento, Galerias de São Bento stand out for the existence of spaces for sharing work and launching innovative projects in areas related to arts and culture. The São Bento Galleries integrate spaces such as the Boca Café Restaurant and a concept store;
- Santa Isabel Tea House;
- Fountain of Hope;
- Stairways of Travessa de Arrochela.
Illustrious Figures of the São Bento neighborhood
- Alexandre Herculano: (1810-1877) was born in Lisbon, in the former Pátio do Gil, in São Bento, and died at Quinta de Vale de Lobos, in Santarém. Alexandre Herculano is considered the father of Portuguese Historiography and was, together with Almeida Garrett (1799-1854), one of those responsible for introducing the political, artistic and philosophical movement of Romanticism in Portugal. Alexandre Herculano had a difficult childhood due to his parents’ poverty, he joined the liberal revolt and in 1831 he asked for asylum on a French frigate that was in Lisbon. From this year onwards he traveled to France, England, the Azores and Porto, where he was named Second Librarian of the Public Library. In 1839 Alexandre Herculano was appointed director of the Royal Libraries. Alexandre Herculano became famous in Portugal with the publication of the book “A Voz do Prophet”. Alexandre Herculano was the author of several works, namely the “Letters on the History of Portugal” (1842), “O Bobo” (1843), “Eurico “, “The Presbítero” (1844) , “History of Portugal” (1846) and “The Booklets” (1836) -1857);
- Amália Rodrigues(1920-1999): was the best known fado singer in Portugal, was born in the parish of Pena and died in São Bento, Lisbon. Amália Rodrigues was the greatest fado singer in Portugal and the first artist to internationalize fado. Amália Rodrigues started her career at the age of eighteen in the “Concurso da Primavera”, a fado contest. In 1940, Amália Rodrigues began singing at “Retiro da Severa”, the most prestigious fado house in Lisbon. At 23, she began her international career in Madrid, sang in Japan, the Soviet Union, France, Brazil, the United States of America, and in several European countries, participated in several films and received numerous awards. Amália Rodrigues’ last performance was in Lisbon at the age of 74 years. Amália Rodrigues edited more than 150 records, namely “Ai Mouraria”, “Black Boat”, “Songs in an Ancient Language”, “Amália on Broadway”, “Amália’s Best: Strange way of life”;
- Fernando Pessoa: Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa (1888-1935) was one of the most important poets and writers in Portugal, born in front of the São Carlos National Theater and died in Lisbon, she has had multiple personalities throughout her life, her first personality having been created when she was six years old. His father died when Fernando Pessoa was 5 years old and since then he has been forced to move to a smaller house with his mother and grandmother, who suffered from mental illness. Fernando Pessoa moved in 1896 to Durban, South Africa with his mother, where he studied English Literature and created the first heteronyms, having been awarded the Queen Victoria Award for the category of Best Essay in the English Language in 1903 for Cape Hope University. Fernando Pessoa returned to Lisbon in 1905 where he studied Greek and German philosophers, theology, history, French literature and where he makes several attempts to start businesses on his own, however, without success. Fernando Pessoa worked over thirty jobs with the goal of not working all day to be able to write. The Portuguese writer lived in more than twenty houses, namely in Calçada da Estrela, in Rua de São Bento, in Largo do Carmo, in Rua da Bela Vista à Lapa. Fernando Pessoa met his friends António Ferreo, Mário de Sá-Carneiro and Almada Negreiros, in cafes all over Lisbon, namely in the Brazilian cafe, in Chiado, and in the café Martinho da Arcada, in Terreiro do Paço, where Modernism was born with the creation of Orpheu magazine. Fernando Pessoa wrote several works, namely “The Message“, “O Guardador de Rebanhos” (1914), “O Livro do Desassossego” ( 1914), “The Message” (1934);
- Marshal Duque de Saldanha: João Carlos Gregório Vicente Francisco de Saldanha Oliveira e Daun was born in Lisbon in 1790 and died in London in 1876. The Duque de Saldanha (1790-1876) played important roles in the Napoleonic Invasions of Portugal, in the Liberal Struggles and in the Revolt of the Marshals. The Duke of Saldanha held various political positions, including Minister for War Affairs, Minister for Ecclesiastical and Justice, Finance and Overseas, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Public Works, Trade and Industry, Minister of the Kingdom and President of the Council in Constitutional Governments . The Duke of Saldanha was also Grand Master of Southern Freemasonry and Chief of Staff;
- Hintze Ribeiro, Ernesto Rodolfo Hintze Ribeiro (1849-1907) was born in Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel in the Azores and died in Lisbon in 1907. Hintze Ribeiro stood out as Minister of Foreigners and Public Works, Commerce and Industry and leader of the Regenerator Party in 1900. Hintze Ribeiro was named Peer of the Kingdom on January 1, 1886;
- Laura Alves Magno was born in 1921 and died in 1986 in Lisbon. Laura Alves performed more than 400 theater performances throughout her career and was considered Queen of the Stage. Laura Alves began her career at Teatro Politeama at the age of thirteen. Most of the plays she performed were performed in the old Teatro Monumental. Laura Alves’ career had several successes, namely “The Two Girls of Paris” (1935), “The Father Tyrant” (1941), “The Courtyard” das Cantigas” (1941) or “The Star Lion” (1947).
Curiosities related to the neighborhood of São Bento
- São Bento was the place where the first slave community lived in Lisbon;
- Rua de São Bento is managed by four parish councils: Estrela, Misericórdia, Santo António and Campo de Ourique;
- The Convent of São Bento was known as the Convento da Saúde;
- The upper part of Rua de São Bento may have been named Rua São Bento as Trinas due to the existence of Trinas in Largo do Rato;
- On Rua de São Bento there was a film studio, Portugália Filmes, where many Portuguese artists acted;
- Historian and writer Alexandre Herculano was born in Pátio do Gil, at number 458;
- The politician Hintze Ribeiro lived in the street of São Bento;
- The fadista Amália Rodrigues lived in the street of São Bento.
- Luso-Swiss College
Places to shop
Fairs, Parties and Pilgrimages
- São Bento Nights: held annually in September. The antique shops in the neighborhood of São Bento are open until 24 hours
- Lisbon São Bento Hotel