Miguel de Cervantes is considered the greatest Spanish author—the Shakespeare of Spanish letters.
People who go to England make the excursion, the pilgrimage, to Stratford-on-Avon, to see Shakespeare’s house. Who goes to see Cervantes’? Few.
Where is it?
Not far from Madrid, in a little town called Esquivias.
It is an old farmhouse, with a pretty patio recently made into a theater, and a stable for a dozen mules that has been turned into an exhibition hall.
See the pictures at the Casa de Cervantes webpage.
Shakespeare’s place was the fruit of a prosperous career. He bought it after retirement and settled down to enjoy himself. Cervantes didn’t build this old farmhouse or even buy it. It belonged to his wife’s parents.
At the time of his marriage, Cervantes was broke. He had recently come back to Spain after five years of captivity in Northern Africa, with a left arm that made him useless for manual work. He had been a soldier and the maimed arm was a battle wound. Now he was trying to make a living as a writer in Madrid, and he wasn’t doing very well.
In the “office” of his wife’s house, now conditioned with furniture from his time to look just as it must have looked in 1584, he wrote a novel, now unreadable, and some plays, now never staged. He didn’t stay long in Catalina’s comfortable house. Seeing that he wasn’t going to become a famous playwright, he decided to go south and look for work as a tax collector.
It would be twenty years before he wrote the first part of his great Don Quijote.