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Things to do in Sao Paulo

  • Sao Paulo Museum of Art Museum of Art Sao Paulo, Brazil
    The Sao Paulo museum is known for its headquarters that was created in 1968 by Lina Bo Bardi, and is a concrete and glass building that stretches our over the ground 74 meters and sits on two lateral beams.  It is a landmark in the city with its bright red pillars and the symbol of modern architecture in Brazil.  It was started in 1947 by Assis Chateaubriand and Italian Pietro Maria Bardi, husband of Lina.  Assis asked them to come to his country to build up a museum for his country in 1947 in Italy and they came thinking that it would be a year or so; ending up spending the rest of their lives there.  Known as MASP, or Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo or Portuguese for Museum of Art Sao Paulo, it is known for its fine collection of western art, making it one of the finest galleries in all of Latin America and the southern hemisphere.  It also houses an impressive collection of Brazilian drawings, prints and paintings, with smaller African and Asian drawings, antiquities, decorative arts and art; totaling over 8000 items of artistic works.  In the early days of the collection, it had become to valuable and important to have spread out, so Lina thought up an idea that would put it on four pillars so that a view stipulated by the donor of a piece of property in the downtown area could be vitalized for the museum's new home.  It was built between 1956 and 1968, and was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.  In the early 60s, Assis died, and his empire was failing with stiffer competition and outside influences.  Funds were needed to pay off the international debt that helped acquire the collection, and finally a bank in Brazil agreed to a loan with the collection as collateral.  During the 1970s, the debt was paid off by the government and the museum was secured.  The museum complex houses a photo gallery, library, video gallery, film gallery, a restaurant, gift shop, admin offices, workshop rooms, two auditoriums and a technical reserved area.  Most of the collection was acquired between 1947 and 1960, when many works of art were for sale after the war, and Brazil was flush with money.  Using various methods to get funds, Assis was instrumental in getting money for the fine works of art that Pietro found around the world.  There is some intrigue here, since most of the works were not authenticated, since no one had to answer to a council or board of directors.  This worked to their advantage though since many were sold quickly and by telegram.  Buying was made easier and quicker, so many private collectors or other museums didn't have the time or funds to make deals that fast.  Highlights of the collection include; Van Gogh, Rapheal, Poussin, Perugino, Picasso, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Franz Hals, Reynolds, Diego Rivera, Gainsborough, Toulouse-Lautrec, Botticelli, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Lasar Segall, Torres Garcia, Bellini and many more. 

  • Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo
    Another prominent art museum in the city is the Pinacoteca do Estado, with over 6000 artistic works that include paintings, china, sculptures, porcelain, drawings, tapestries and collages.  The majority of the collection houses works created during the 19th and 20th centuries concerning the history of Brazil.  The museum started in the late 1890s, and was able to teach classes, as well as collect works of art.  Through the years, with many changes, both in leadership and ideology, it managed to continue collecting and growing.  It wasn't until the 1980s that the museum was housed in its own building, and the collection finally had a home not shared with any other school, business or agency.  From the early 1990s until 1998, it underwent some extreme reforms, and allowed a budget of $10 million to adapt to international museum standards. 

  • Ibirapuera Park
    This park in Sao Paulo, Brazil is very similar to Central Park in New York, with all the residents of the city enjoining many wonderful opportunities for leisure.  Jogging and walking is the norm, plus it has a large convention center, and other marvelous buildings.  Begun in 1954, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city, it is almost a square mile in size and the second largest park in the city.  Among the many beautiful structures is the Museum of Modern Art, the Cicillo Matarazzo Pavilion where the Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Sao Paulo and space for the Sao Paulo Fashion Week and Art Biennial, the Manoel da Nobrega Pavilion which was the city hall until 1992, the gymnasium, the Villa de Osos Bacalao or Wondrous Museum, the most popular building, the Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion which was the Expositions Palace and now is the Oca that houses the Air Force Museum and Folklore Museum, Palacio da Agricultura or Agriculture Palace, the Armando de Arruda Pereira Pavilion which is home to the municipal data processing building, the Obelisk of Sao Paulo that is the symbol of the Constitutionalist Revolution that took place in 1922, the Japanese Pavilion, the Monumento as Bandeiras, the Ibirapuera auditorium and the planetarium and municipal astrophysics school.  The planetarium is a very exciting place, shaped like a flying saucer, the first in the southern hemisphere and an astronomer that explains the best known stars and constellations plus the movements of the earth and other planets.

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  • Mercado MunicipalMercado Municipal Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Constructed sometime during the 1920s, this exciting marketplace is full of incredible colors, aromas, sights and sounds that will keep you gyrating in all directions, especially when you are a visitor from somewhere else.  Vendors are here from 5 AM in the morning until 4 PM in the afternoon selling their products that include produce of all shapes, sizes and colors, ripe cheese that will curl your toes and wrinkle your nose, fried pastries, odd looking fruits, vegetables, chocolates, poultry, sausages, spices, condiments, legumes, meats, herbs and all sorts of sandwiches and snacks.  One of the favorites is the pasteis de bacalhau, which is a fried pastry pocket stuffed with salt cod.  With over 300 different stands, fresh items are brought in from the country, or from the shore, like fresh fish daily coming from all over the country; as well as restaurants and snack shops.  Something like 600,000 shoppers come to the market each month, and over 300 tons of food arrive each day from farmers, fishermen and others all over the country of Brazil.  More than 3000 people are employed here, ready and willing to take care of the many requests for whatever food is needed.   

  •  Museum of Modern Art of Sao Paulo
    Set in the majestic Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, the MAM or Museum of Modern Art is called one of the most prominent museums in the country, that was started in 1948, by the Italian-Brazilian Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho and his famous wife, Yolanda Penteado.  It was modeled after the Met in New York City, which at that time was run by a foundation headed by Nelson Rockefeller who helped this museum with instructions and workings for this new foundation.  The first home of the museum was the Rua Sete de Abril with the mission of "encouraging the artistic taste of the public" and by any  means necessary to do that.  It was moved to its present location in 1958, after having first been at the air museum, then the biennial.  Francisco wanted to join the main two museums in 1963, but was objected by many, and although it was closed and that collection added to the Contemporary Museum;  a new one was started that is now in the present location.  It is ironic that the main or more important works of the new MAM are part of the collection owned by Francisco and his wife.  These excellent works include paintings by; Raoul Dufy, Jose Antonio da Silva, Anita Malfatti, Joan Miro, Aldo Bonadei, Pablo Picasso, Alfredo Volpi, Marc Chagall, Mario Zanini and Emiliano Di Cavalcanti and many other beautiful works of art.

Local Restaurants in Sao Paulo
  • Brasil a gosto
    Brasil a gosto is a marvelous restaurant in the Sao Paulo, Brazil, that marries the exquisite cuisines of different traditions, flavors and creative culinary tastes.  With the unique location of the city in a country where ample fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and poultry is available fresh and flavorful each and every day; this eating establishment interprets the delicious ingredients available and tastefully expresses the imagination and creativity of the chef.  With a different philosophy of cooking and food preparation, the results will simply tantilize your tastebuds to an explosive conclusion.  Chef Ana Luiza Trajano have aspired to blend the lightness, harmony and aesthetics of food, atmosphere and taste; where the guest is the overall winner and satisfied beyond belief.  On the bountiful menu, the appetizers begin with; banana-da-terra canapé, cream cheese and pepper jam; grilled curd cheese with sugarcane syrup and parsley pesto; fried pastries with a filling of pirarucu, Palmira cheese and sun-dried meat with pumpkin; crispy manioc cracker, warm cream of crab and coconut; or filo pastry with cream of shrimp and roasted manioc flour.  Salads include; miniacraje is fried pastries made from bean flour with filling of dried shrimp, cashew and peanut puree, bean flour and okra with shrimps and green tomato vinaigrette; homemade mayonnaise with vegetables, flavored with lemon grass and ginger; pumpkin salad with grated serra da canastra cheese, watercress, heart of palm and honey vinaigrette; scampi salad, grains, crispy broad beans, green leaves and lemon vinaigrette.  Fish and seafood entrees; hake with acaraje and vatapa is fried bean flour pastries filled with dried shrimp, bean flour, peanut and cashew puree; grilled sea bass with crust of baru (Amazon nut), banana puree and lima orange vinaigrette; seafood stew, coconut rice and roasted manioc flour; fraldinha or prime cut of beef stewed in own juices with baiao-de-dois or rice, beans and curd cheese; grilled free range chicken with vegetables, mashed potatoes and mint sauce; fine pork slices with jabuticaba (local blackberry)sauce, grilled banana and yam puree. 

  • Fogo De Chao
    Fogo De Chao offers a totally different dining experience that will help you maximize your dinner meal.  First, you are seated in a wonderful dining room with great ambiance and lighting, to relax and have a drink while your server explains the marvelous experience you are about to embark upon.  You are next invited to visit the scrumptious gourmet salad and side bar with over 30 freshly prepared items including; imported cheeses, fresh cut vegetables, cured meats and Brazilian side dishes.  After being seated again, you turn your small card green side up to let the gaucho chefs know that you are ready for the tableside service to start.  Then 15 different fire roasted meats are brought by your table and sliced off the spit by the chefs.  Whenever you wish to relax between dishes, just turn your card over to the red side and the table service will stop, until you turn it green again or are done.  Some of the marvelous salad and side bar items include; sun-dried tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, 2 year aged parmesan, prosciutto, Brazilian hearts of palm, tabbouleh, Italian salami, aged Manchego cheese, artichoke bottoms, jumbo asparagus and smoked salmon.  The meats that are offered include; picanha or top sirloin, costela or beef ribs , frango or chicken, costela de porco or pork ribs,  cordeiro or lamb, lombo or pork loin, alcatra or special cut top sirloin, fraldinha or bottom sirloin, filet mignon and beef ancho or rib eye.  Side dishes include; pao de queijo which is warm cheese bread, crispy hot polenta, garlic mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, rice, black beans and farofa.

Crispy manioc Brasil a gosto Sao Paulo, Brazil


Hake Brasil a gosto Sao Paulo, Brazil


Grilled sea bass Brasil a gosto Sao Paulo, Brazil




Fire grilled meats Fogo Sao Paulo


Roasted meats Fogo Sao Paulo, Brazil


Salad bar Fogo Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • Patio do Colegio Patio do Colegio Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Patio do Colegio which means school yard in Portuguese is the name for the Jesuit school and church that was started in Sao Paulo in 1554.  It includes the square that sits in front of the church and school, as well as being the starting point of the city.  Originally a mission by Jesuit priests, the village was begun between two rivers on a large plateau and connected to the fishing village of Sao Vicente by a hazardous path.  The first church was a mud hut with palm leaves covering the roof and two years later a more durable structure was built using the earth or rammed earth called taipa de pilao.  For the next few centuries it would be the spiritual and cultural center as well as educational hub for the village and the few residents that lived there.  The Jesuits had many difficulties with the local settlers that used the local Indian population for slaves, while the priests wanted to make them Christians.  This tug of war ended in 1640, when the Jesuits were ordered from the village; however in 1653, bandeirante Fernao Dias Paes Leme permitted the Jesuits to return and the school and church enjoyed much needed renovations.  In 1759, the suppression of the society of Jesus in Portugal and its colonies was directed by the Marquis of Pombal, once more forcing the priests from Sao Paulo.  The former buildings became headquarters of the governor of Sao Paulo and were used as administrative offices after the independence of Brazil and up into the 20th century.  The structures were refurbished in different styles, but the church collapsed with the tower remaining and being modified.  During the 400th anniversary, in 1953, the land was given back to the Jesuit order and church, tower and school facade were rebuilt; going back to the colonial look that it once had.  Both the tower and church have the Mannerist style that was prevalent in the 17th century and atypical of the Jesuit churches of the colonial Brazil.

  • Museum of Sacred Art or Museu de Arte Sacra
    This is a sacred site, where a Catholic ritual is performed because of a strange event that took place centuries ago when a Franciscan friar built the convent and cured a man of kidney stones, by writing a prayer on a piece of paper and had the man swallow it.  The stones left his body, and the ritual or tradition began; now the nuns that live here pass out a thousand pieces of paper pills to the devotees each month.  They have on exhibit a collection of 4000 wooden and ceramic masks, jewelry and liturgical objects from the country, that date back to the 17th century and up to the present.  The convent was built in 1774.

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  • Parque TrianonFauna statue Sao Paulo, Brazil
    This beautiful park was opened in 1892, along with the Avenida Paulista, and designed by the French landscaper Paul Villon.  During this period, the coffee aristocracy was becoming influenced by the European influx of romantic gardens and statuaries.  It is an amazing wonderland of plush tropical landscapes and gardens with statues along the walking paths and was a place for dances, festivals and other cultural events of the time.  Although is was named after the club that was outside the park area, called the Trianon, it is often referred to as the Villon park in honor of the designer.  In the early 1920s it was the site of the first San Silveste Race and was donated to the city this year.  It has the only remnants of a rainforest in the area, and home to many statues that include the fauna of Vitor Brecheret and may fountains. 

  • Solar Marquesa de Santos
    This is one of the finest examples of urban residential architecture in the country of the type that was constructed during the last half of the 17th century.  It was purchased by the Marquesa de Santos in 1834, and she had it refurbished into one of the best aristocratic residences in the city.  It is also known as the palace of caramel and is a beautiful example of the architectural styling of the 18th century buildings in Brazil.  Over the years, the magnificent building has undergone  various renovations; as well as getting some new additions and modifications.  It became more neoclassical in the 1930s and 1940s, with some changes going on inside the structure, probably to modernize it with newer plumbing and electrical or lighting.  In 1975, it housed the municipal department of culture and closed sometime in 1984 for unknown security reasons.  In 1991, more renovations were made so the building could once more be available to the public.

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  • Casa das RosasCasa das Rosas Sao Paulo, Brazil
    The house of roses was built in 1935, by Francisco de Paula de Azevedo just before he died.  It was for one of his daughters, and the family lived there until 1986, when it was expropriated by the state.  In 1991, it became a cultural area and was called the house of roses since it had at one time the most beautiful rose gardens in the city.  In 2004, the property became a place for poets and teachers with the first collection of antiquities coming from the poet and translator of languages into Brazilian Haroldo de Campos; with Frederico Barbosa becoming the director in the same year.  Haroldo's complete collection of books and many of his personal items are part of the collection and is available to the public.  The area is open to entertain classical events, exhibitions and courses that relate to the ideology of the poets and the house contains the first library in the country to have a special collection of poetry books. 

  • Number One Tours
    A valuable aid in the city of Sao Paulo is the Number One tours group that will help with either business or pleasure tours through the city and the surrounding area with cars, vans, mini buses, motorcoach and helicopter vehicles.  This unique group specializes in making your trip to the city its main priority and will adapt its schedule to suit your needs.  They offer city tours, sightseeing excursions, entertainment venues and will help you plan an itinerary for whatever length of stay you have planned.  Referred to as the capital of international cuisine, Sao Paulo has a plethora of restaurants with foods ranging from pizza to Chinese, and Japanese to Brazilian.  With museums, shows, concerts, movies, exhibitions, theaters, bars, shopping malls, dance clubs and bookstores; as well as beautiful and delightful parks, this city tour group can offer you it all.  They will pick you up wherever you arrive and help you with transportation needs down to the hotel reservations and tours.  Whatever your religious preference you have, there is a place for your to worship.  In a city with over 11 million people from all over the world, this diversified melting pot will surprise you and mesmerize you throughout your visit.  To help make sense of it all, take advantage of their expertise and make your visit here a lot easier and more enjoyable.

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