This area is now home to the capital's bohemian crowd who reside amongst antique bookshops and vintage furniture stores hinting at the... more » district's illustrious past. However there was a time when Calle de la Huertas was, as its name in Spanish suggests, a series of allotments cultivated in order to supply the table of a marquis with fruit and vegetables. Part of what is known today as Plaza de Santa Ana was once called Calle de la Lechuga (Lettuce Street) and Atocha was given its name because a plant of that name, similar to esparto grass, grew abundantly there. During the 16th century, people began to inhabit the area delimited today by Puerta del Sol and Paseo del Prado, thus allowing Madrid to expand. The neighbourhood attracted swordsmen, squires, actors, and especially writers in search of inspiration.
During the Spanish Golden Age, the Literary Quarter was inhabited by such illustrious literary masters as Góngora, Tirso de Molina, Calderón de la Barca and Lope de Vega, who is buried in the Church of San Sebastián where many renowned writers, including Larra and Zorrilla, were married. It is right here where we start off our tour of Madrid’s most literary area. less «