There is a small and very charming village called Provesende, lying within the Douro demarcated wine region, in the county of Sabrosa (northern Portugal), which is an absolute must to visit. Sabrosa incidently is the birthplace (cerca 1480) of the famous Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first person to circumnavigate the world.
Provesende’s history dates back to Moorish times when Zaide, brother of King Jahia of Toledo, lived in the castle of São Domingos in the vicinity of Provesende. It is said that one day the castle was attacked by Christian forces and the moors perished but Zaide escaped only later to be captured, tortured and eventually murdered. Provesende is said to have derived its name from the fact that during Zaide’s last moments of suffering, it was exclaimed “Prove Zaide, Prove Zaide” (meaning taste Zaide) – hence the resulting homonym “Provesende”.
Exploring the village on foot is the best solution as it is very quiet and almost untouched, boasting numerous historical sites such as its pillory (1573), Baroque church (1720), fountain (1755), as well as an array of very beautiful XVIII stately manor houses which attested to the economic strength of the region’s fertile land at the time. Today sadly, many of these old manor houses are in ruins and it is heartbreaking to see them crumbling away with time.
I absolutely love Provesende and one particular place that I always stop at is the Café Bar ‘Arado Museu’ in the main square, where the owners have gone out of their way to establish the most amazing little museum kept in mint condition and just a sight to see.
The moment we step through the door, one is drawn into another era of Portuguese history where every imaginable piece of farm equipment, kitchen item, stuffed animal, wine making utensil, household item can be viewed. The owners have gone to great lengths to ensure that each piece is polished and beautifully preserved and in some cases they have added their own characteurs and personal touches thus adding life to some of the exhibits.
Enjoy a excellent expresso or beer up at the bar and just sit and take in all the detail that surrounds you – it is unbelievable. Spend a moment to see the slideshow of photos of what this little treasure trove of a café has to offer to the local traveller.