The Café Tortoni
150 years of History, Poetry and Tradition in Buenos Aires.
Opened in 1858, the Tortoni is one of the mythical places of Buenos Aires, not only because of its beauty and tradition, also because EVERYBODY have been there: Jorge Luis Borges, Benito Quinquela Martín, Carlos Gardel, Alfonsina Storni, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Tita Merello and other famous artists used to assist to this Cafe. We are talking about poets, writters, painters and acclaimed Tango singers, many of them remembered in portraits or sculptures. Others as Perez Celis have painting works exhibited there. Whole these points turns the Café Tortoni in a point of Architecture, History, Art, and Cultural not-to-miss in Buenos Aires. Fortunately, this is not the only jewel of this sort in the City, but undoubtedly is one of the most beauty and representatives of them.
Locals and Tourist daily attend to Tortoni for living a special part of Buenos Aires and this is another good point, even when Tortoni is an “star hounded by flash lights”, there are still Porteños who go to take a Coffee in the same way they have been done it since years, at the porteñean way, and it still possible to see “grupetes” (groups) of porteñeans “fixing the world” while they are drinking coffee around a table, well done at the Argentinian way. As private tour guide for Buenos Aires, I use read and check on the websites and travel guides recommendations about the famous chocolate with churros. Well, I go 250 times per year, so when I join my Customers there, I open for them a precious secret drink, full of fun and also photographable.
The design of Tortoni is a Masterpiece of the Danish Christophersen, an architect of the begining of 20th Century, who done, between others, the Stock Market building, Churches, Banks and Schools. Who would image that a “little work” like the Café Tortoni would also turn in a recognized piece of Art? Christophersen didn't know, but he built an georgeous front for the Tortoni, in a way of premonition about that this would be his Masterpiece for posterity.
By mid of 19th century, while Monet or Victor Hugo used to meet for talk in a coffee of a Napolitan named Tortoni at the Parisian Boulevard des Italiens, Touan, a french exiled at Buenos Aires, were building, at the other side of the world, a Cafe where it would be breathed the same spirit. Both cafés Tortoni were incubating, greats artist and their masterpieces.
From those meetings in which almost nothing were consumed, but there was a lot of conversation, remains the memories, the black and white images that covers the walls, the hairdressing salon (now a museum), the first familiar saloon in the city -in whitch the single men where forbidden-, and the inspirating atmosphere of the first habitues.
And there are so much things to know about the Café Tortoni and Buenos Aires, But I will tell you about when we visit it together!
This text is based on an article of La Nación Newspaper, writen by Lidia Maseres Girbés. Pictures are from the same newspaper.
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