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Going through Santa Teresa is like walking back in time. On its narrow streets, you walk through the history of Rio.
The preferred area of the wealthy classes back then, as it offered a fresher and healthier climate than the coast where they built their mansions surrounded by gardens and organised fancy parties which brought together the crème de la crème of society. At present, it is a neighbourhood you must visit. A district full of leisure and cultural options.
Long before this, in 1750, Jacinta and Francisca Rodrigues, two sisters belonging to a wealthy family, decided to devote themselves to religious life and erected on the site of an ancient chapel the Convent of Saint Teresa of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, thus becoming the first female convent in Rio. People got used to call the hillock "Santa Teresa's hill", which eventually become the name of the neighbourhood that emerged around the convent.
The neighbourhood, with its beautiful colonial mansions, although some of them show signs of the years passed, is imbued with a special character and style.
Many Brazilian artists live and have their galleries here, while seeking refuge and peace to unleash their creativity, so much so that the district has earned the title of "Rio's Montmartre".
Go up until you get to Largo dos Guimarães, which is a small square that is the epicentre of bohemian and gastronomic life in the neighbourhood.
Interesting places to visit are the Parque das Ruinas and the Chácara do Céu Museum, which are located on top of the morro (hill) of Santa Teresa, where you will be able to enjoy fantastic views of the centre and the Lapa district.
And, undoubtedly, in Santa Teresa you will be able to eat the presumably best feijoada of the whole city, this traditional stew ofblack beans and pork that is often accompanied by rice and oranges. Where? At the Bar do Mineiro, a very popular bar specialising in food originating from the region of Minas Gerais. Located on Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno 99, little has changed over the years, as the bar still features a unique decor and the atmosphere is very lively. And for an after-lunch coffee, a little further away, at number 121, you will find the lovely Cafecito.
Other interesting lunch options, as they are located on the same street Almirante Alexandrino, are Bar do Arnaudo, at number 316, with its typical food from the northeast, Espírito Santa, at number 264, with its dishes from the Amazon region, and Sobrenatural, at number 432, specialising in seafood. And to have coffee on the same street, but at number 501, you will find a bookstore/café, hidden like a small paradise, which is called Largo das Letras.
It is a fairly safe neighbourhood, though close to the unsafe slums, so be a little cautious and do not venture on your own on narrow streets with little traffic.
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