Casa da Hera Overview:
Updated on June 19, 2012
Museu Casa da Hera, one of the top attractions in Vassouras, RJ, was once the home of Eufrásia Teixeira Leite (1850-1930), an aristocratic business woman and philantropist.
The museum is also known as Chácara da Hera.
With 22 rooms, the house sits on land which spreads over 33,000 square meters and features one of the best known bamboo tunnels in Brazil as well as rows of royal palm and lush blooming vines.
The name of the property (Ivy House) owes itself to the ancient ivy which grows on the walls, planted around 1887.
The house is listed by IPHAN, the Brazilian Institute for National and Artistic Heritage.
Eufrásia Teixeira Leite:
Born into a prestigious and wealthy family that included several coffee barons, Eufrásia Teixeira Leite had lost both her parents, Joaquim José and Ana Esméria Teixeira Leite, the original owners of Casa da Hera, by the age of 23.
She and her sister Francisca Bernardina, known as Chiquinha, moved to Paris, where Eufrásia led a privileged social life and honed her talent as an investor. She lived a love story with Brazilian politician, diplomat and abolitionist Joaquim Nabuco (1849-1910).
Eufrásia died single and childless; in her will, she left all her estate to charity and requested that Casa da Hera and the objects in it be preserved as a way to honor her parents' memory.
Visitors to Casa da Hera will tour rooms finely decorated with French wallpaper and Joaquim José Teixeira Leite's furniture, silver objects, porcelain, and personal items.
Some of the highlights are the Red Room and the Yellow Room, formal parlors where Eufrásia entertained her illustrious guests. The 19th century Henri Herz piano in the Yellow Room is, according to Casa da Hera, one of two in the world in working condition - the other one is in Strasbourg.
Note the English faience service with gold details and the monogram JJTL for Eufrásia's father, Joaquim José Teixeira Leite.
The house is open to individual visitors. Only groups of up to 20 people can take part in the guided tour at a time. Booking in advance is recommended.
Guided tours in English and Portuguese can be scheduled, but it's necessary to check availability in advance.
Tue-Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat, Sun and holidays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Address & Contact Information:Rua Dr. Fernandes Jr. 160
Vassouras - RJ
Phones: 55-24-2471-2930/ 2471-2961
Casa da Hera is still not fully accessible, but staff say they strive to accommodate the needs of visitors with disabilities.
June 19, 2012 updates: Apologies; some of the information in the article was incorrect or outdated. That has now been corrected. Thanks to Museu Casa da Hera docent Cinthia Rocha for the feedback.