Tiles and Other Things to Do in Lisbon
Here we catch up with the Cortiço brothers - owners of Cortiço & Netos, a tile shop in Lisbon - to find out what they love about the Portugese capital...
"Tiles are the skin of Lisbon,” says João Cortiço, who inherited his grandfather’s tile shop, Cortiço & Netos, with brothers Pedro, Ricardo and Tiago. “You can find century-old tiles in churches and palaces, but also industrially produced tiles from the 1950s onwards. “The original store was created by our grandfather in 1979. It was in a street behind the cemetery of Benfica, and that, along with the fact it sold end-of-line tiles, meant the store was affectionately known as the ‘Tile Cemetery’.
“His business idea was unique. There was a real boom in industrial tile production in Portugal in the 1970s and 80s, and he started to buy the leftover tiles. People came to him to replace missing or broken ones, and his reputation grew nationwide.
“The tiles we inherited from our grandfather are probably in their millions! We all have childhood memories of helping in the shop during holidays. We knew we had to keep this heritage alive.
“We moved Cortiço & Netos into town, to Calçada de Santo André, and expanded the client base to include designers and decorators. Tourists often wander in too and buy a tile or two to remember their trip. They buy them because they think they are beautiful. I think that is wonderful.”
Here are three things the Cortiço brothers say you have to do in Lisbon:
Roam the streets of Lisbon
Have a coffee at every kiosk in town, cross the iconic bridge and discover the south side of the river. Talk to the locals, make friends – it’s easy in Lisbon – fall in love, and do it all again the next day.
Love the light
From the moment you wake up to overwhelmingly white light and wander the streets for breakfast, to watching the sun set and seeing the city bathed in gold as you drink a Ginja in Rossio Square...
Enjoy the blues music
Lisbon is cheerful and melancholic, all at once. Listen to our beautiful Fado music – a kind of Portuguese blues – in the Alfama neighbourhood. It’s a romantic city, but romance is always bittersweet.
Book it now… Ask your Travel Expert to arrange your city break to Lisbon.