Probably the most iconic building in Aveiro – and certainly the most beautiful – is Casa Major Pessoa, the bright turquoise art nouveau building located pretty much in the centre of town.
Casa Major Pessoa is the architectural love child of Silvia Rocha and Ernest Korrodi. Its stunning exterior features extraordinary details in both the stone façade and wrought ironwork, and the art nouveau (arte nova) theme continues throughout.
The Casa Major Pessoa is home to the Aveiro Museu Arte Nova (Museum of Art Nouveau) and for a small price (currently one euro) you can take a look around the building. An exhibition details where art nouveau stems from (movements in nature such as the trajectory of a dove’s wings etc) and includes modern pieces that still draw from art nouveau, along with excerpts from the encyclopaedia of arte nouveau. Another room shows footage of different examples of art nouveau from all around the world. There is some gorgeous black and white footage. The whole film runs for around fifteen minutes and is well worth watching, especially as you get to take the weight of your feet in an air-conditioned room.
On the ground floor level, you will find the Casa da Cha where inside you can enjoy delicious cakes and teas, sandwiches, coffees and fresh juices surrounded by beautiful art nouveau tiles. And outside, neon bean bags and giant parasols allow you to sit in the terrace (all day long in our case) enjoying the mild climate and drinking from a range of delicious teas expertly prepared and served in gorgeous fluidy tea pots – that do nothing to let down Casa de Cha’s strong sense of absolute class. During the evenings you can drink cocktails here and enjoy musical events that feature local fado and jazz quartets.
Casa de Cha say that they don’t allow dogs, however, they were quite happy to let us and Sweep and our foster-puppy Cloud sit in the terrace, tucked away for several hours.
They also have free wi-fi and the hot chocolate, (I had the piri-piri) is divine. It’s a thick hot chocolate spiced with chilli and topped with fresh cream, and it even comes served with a fresh chilli (pictured). The cakes are gorgeous too and the sandwiches. In fact, everything we tried from the sandwiches to the cakes to the juices – were all of great quality. And the prices aren’t painful in the slightest.
This is a divine place to sit and sup, in the sun but sheltered, in front of a bit of classic architecture. Comes highly recommended.