São Paulo's central area (Centro) has some of the city's top historic attractions, and three of them are fresh from a long restoration process. Reopened in late November last year, they are all part of Museu da Cidade de São Paulo, which preserves constructions and sites that are highly significant to the city's history. Together, they make up the museum's conceptual and administrative core.
Solar da Marquesa de Santos (photo above) has an attractive, yet sparse display of historically valuable objects; what stands out is the beauty of the construction itself. There are many Portuguese-only documents on display, but the museum has English- and Spanish-speaking docents.
Incidentally, there's also good news for another property known as Solar da Marquesa de Santos, a house in Rio de Janeiro's São Cristóvão district where she lived for about seven years. That construction in neoclassical style, part of the Rio de Janeiro State Culture Secretariat, is going to be restored as well. BNDES, the Brazilian Development Bank, announced last December that it is going to support the first phase of the works with R$ 4,2 million.
Back in São Paulo, Casa da Imagem, next to the Solar, still had a faint smell of fresh paint when I visited last December. This venue preserves São Paulo's iconographic collection and showcases its treasures in selective exhibits.
Architectural details such as the entrance tile floor have been beautifully preserved.
Between those two attractions is Beco do Pinto, which used to be a passage for pedestrians and animals.
To the right of the group of constructions, is Pateo do Collegio, here seen from Casa da Imagem, with the Banespa Building in the background.
The site comprising a museum about city founder Father José de Anchieta, his crypt, and the church where the city's first mass was said also happens to have a delightful café with courtyard seating under an awning and the shade of mature trees.
This area is part of Turismetrô, São Paulo's subway tourism program. It is on the Sé route.
With many thanks to the staff - in this case, friendly and very well-informed Sandra and Janaína - at the Tietê Bus Terminal CIT (Tourist Information Center), who always have great tips on everything Sampa!
Photos: Patricia Ribeiro