55 21 2522-4810
55 21 99988-1616

Tour Rio 12 — Petrópolis. Duration: 8 hours




The set­tle­ment of Petrópo­lis was founded on March 16, 1843, being pro­moted to dis­trict in 1844 and finally city in 1857.


The town’s name (“city of Peter”) hon­ors Emperor Pedro I, the nation’s first monarch. Dom Pedro I, on route to Minas Gerais, stopped at the Padre Cor­reas farm. He found the region’s cli­mate agree­able and offered to buy the prop­erty but faced with the owner’s refusal to sell he bought the Cór­rego Seco farm.


It was under Pedro II that Petrópo­lis flour­ished. In 1845 he ordered the Sum­mer Palace built and a batch of Euro­pean immi­grants, mainly Ger­mans dashed to work on the city’s con­struc­tion under Engi­neer Julio Fred­erico Koeler lead. These immi­grants ulti­mately set­tled in the dis­trict and helped cre­ate the charm­ing Euro­pean like city Petrópo­lis became.


The Emperor was fol­lowed by Aris­to­crats that built their beau­ti­ful sum­mer res­i­dences which adorn the city to this day.


Impe­r­ial Museum — One of the most impor­tant muse­ums in Brazil. This pink neo­clas­si­cal palace offers a glimpse of what the impe­r­ial fam­ily every­day life was like. The museum used to be the impe­r­ial sum­mer res­i­dence and is exquis­itely dec­o­rated, from the white Car­rara and black Bel­gian mar­ble at the entrance to the din­ing hall’s mahogany fur­ni­ture. The col­lec­tion of arti­facts on view con­tains jew­elry, crowns (the impe­r­ial crown is here), paint­ings (check out the por­trait of Princess Isabel by famous Brazil­ian painter Vic­tor Meirelles) and per­sonal effects. The gar­dens, designed by French land­scape artist Jean Bap­tiste Binot, sport impos­ing impe­r­ial palms and over one hun­dred species of exotic plants and trees such as the Por­tuguese cypress.


Cathe­dral — The Cathe­dral was built in 1884 by D Pedro II, who ded­i­cated the church to São Pedro de Alcân­tara, patron saint of the Brazil­ian Empire. Made of brick and gran­ite, the church fol­lows the French Gothic style of the 18th Cen­tury. On its altar, made of bronze and mar­ble, there is a cross made of black gran­ite from Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. In the cen­ter of the altar, there is a mar­ble piece, weigh­ing three tons, on which are the stat­ues of Dom Pedro II, the sec­ond and last Brazil­ian Emperor, and is wife Dona Teresa Cristina, donated to the church by the Baroness of São Joaquim. At the back of the chapel you can see the stat­ues of Princess Isabel and her hus­band the Count D’Eu, under which are kept their mor­tal remains.


Palá­cio de Cristal — Crys­tal Palace. The metal and glass com­po­nents of the Palace were man­u­fac­tured in 1879 in Saint-Saveur-les-Arras, France and assem­bled on the site by Brazil­ian engi­neer Bon­jean; it was built in the same period dur­ing which the Eifell Tower was being con­structed, and it is one of the fine exam­ples of the influ­ence played by the Indus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion over the archi­tec­tural styles. On 1st, April 1888, four years after the Palace’s open­ing, Princess Isabel held a spec­tac­u­lar party; at that his­tor­i­cal event, she granted free­dom to the last 103 slaves of Petrópo­lis, in a pre­lude to her sign­ing, a month later, on 13th, March the “Golden Law” which abol­ished slav­ery in Brazil.


Princess Isabel House — Princess Isabel, Dom Pedro II daugh­ter, entered His­tory when she signed the law which freed slaves in Brazil. This pink Neo­clas­si­cal build­ing was home to the Princess and her hus­band Count D´Eu until 1889. Now it’s head­quar­ters for a real estate firm which belongs to descen­dants of the impe­r­ial fam­ily; the firm owns the orig­i­nal map of the sub-divisions that gave rise to the city.


Palá­cio Qui­tand­inha — Con­structed in 1944, the Qui­tand­inha Palace is one of the most impres­sive archi­tec­tonic mon­u­ments in Petrópo­lis, with its 50 thou­sand square meters and six floors, and 10 meter high rooms. There are 440 apart­ments plus 13 large rooms. In one of these rooms, the ceil­ing is an impres­sive achieve­ment of engi­neer­ing: a deep blue dome 30 meters high and with 50 meters in diam­e­ter, which pro­duces an inter­est­ing echo effect — if you stand on the right “echo point”, your voice may be echoed up to 14 times! The project fol­lowed the Nor­man style, which pres­ence in Petrópo­lis is very strong, due to its Ger­man col­o­niza­tion. Qui­tand­inha Palace was for­merly Qui­tand­inha Cassino, Latin America’s largest cassino, dur­ing the period when gam­bling was per­mit­ted in Brazil, from 1930 to 1946.


Casa de San­tos Dumont — Alberto Santos-Dumont was the most impor­tant early pio­neer of avi­a­tion and con­sid­ered the “Father of Avi­a­tion”. Born in Brazil on July 20, 1873 he spent most of his life in France where he designed, built, and flew the first prac­ti­cal diri­gi­ble bal­loons (i.e. air­ships), demon­strat­ing that rou­tine, con­trolled flight was pos­si­ble. In addi­tion to his pio­neer­ing work in air­ships, Santos-Dumont made the first pub­lic flight of an air­plane in Europe, in Paris on Octo­ber, 1906. That air­craft, des­ig­nated 14 Bis or Oiseau de proie (French for “bird of prey”), was the first air­ship ever to take off, fly, and land with­out the use of cat­a­pults, high winds, launch rails, or other exter­nal assis­tance. His sum­mer retreat in Petrópo­lis was built in 1918 after he had made a bet with friends that he could built a house on a scanty piece of land on the steep hill­side of Morro do Encanto. Need­less to say that he won the box of whiskey prize. The 3 storey house was named “A Encan­tada” after the street where it is.


San­tos Dumont pro­jected the place him­self – a very orig­i­nal and inven­tive con­struc­tion pretty much like a Cot­tage from the French Alps but with many unusual fea­tures: The house was con­ceived as a Loft, with­out inter­nal walls sep­a­rat­ing rooms with dif­fer­ent func­tion. Because the stairs were too steep, San­tos Dumont invari­ably hit his ankles against the next step board. His solu­tion was then to have alter­nate half steps which forced one to use either the left or right foot on each par­tic­u­lar step. The bath­room sports a hot water shower made of an alco­hol heat­ing sys­tem and a bucket which includes a tem­per­a­ture reg­u­lat­ing device. This was San­tos Dumont last invention.


Lunch – Alcobaça ou Solar do Império, Quinta do Lago – Not included