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Tour Rio 7 — Historic Rio Duration: 7 hours

Depar­ture: Hotel


Paço Impe­r­ial is a rare exam­ple of a His­toric Mon­u­ment that was on the cen­tre stage of Brazil’s Colo­nial, Royal and Impe­r­ial history.

Governor’s Res­i­dence — The Building’s his­tory starts in 1733 when then-Governor of the Province of Rio de Janeiro Gomes Freire de Andrade asked king D. João V per­mis­sion to con­struct a Gov­ern­ment Build­ing in Rio.

Vice-Roy’s Res­i­dence — In 1763 Rio de Janeiro became the cap­i­tal of the Vice-Kingdom and the build­ing served as the Vice-Roy’s res­i­dence and office, the Paço dos Vice-Reis.

Royal Res­i­dence — In 1808 with the Por­tuguese Royal Fam­ily arrival in Brazil the build­ing was “upgraded” to Royal Office to the Regent Prince, future King D. João VI. The Coro­na­tion Cer­e­mony took place at the “Paço”.

Paço Impe­r­ial — With the country’s inde­pen­dence the build­ing became “Paço Impe­r­ial” also known as “Paço do Rio de Janeiro” and served as office to Dom Pedro I and later D Pedro II. It was in the Paço that in May 13th 1888 Princess Isabel signed the Golden Law which abol­ished slav­ery in Brazil. After the Procla­ma­tion of the Repub­lic in 1889 all Royal Fam­ily prop­er­ties and assets were con­fis­cated and auc­tioned and the build­ing became Mail head office. In 1938 the “Paço” was declared a His­toric Build­ing and in 1980 restored to its 1918 fea­tures. Today it’s a Cul­tural Cen­tre with shops, exhibit rooms and a restaurant.


Arcos do Telles — Remains of the for­mer Sen­ate, located at the Praça XV

Cen­tro Cul­tural Banco do Brasil

Cen­tro Cul­tural Banco do Brasil — Cen­tro Cul­tural Banco do Brasil is housed in a neo­clas­si­cal build­ing con­structed in 1880. Inau­gu­rated in 1906 as the Com­mer­cial Asso­ci­a­tion of Rio de Janeiro, it was acquired by Banco do Brasil in the early 20’s to house its headquarter.

In 1989 the six-story domed build­ing with mar­ble floors was con­verted into a cul­tural cen­ter that today con­sists of two the­aters, four exhi­bi­tion halls, a com­put­er­ized library with over 100,000 vol­umes, an audi­to­rium, video rooms and a movie the­ater besides a restau­rant, a cof­fee shop, and a tearoom.

In addi­tion to its taste­ful archi­tec­ture, the Banco do Brasil Cul­tural Cen­ter offers a packed sched­ule of pro­grams that should not be missed by vis­i­tors eager to savor a wide vari­ety of cul­tural offerings.

Con­feitaria Colombo

Con­feitaria Colombo — Founded in 1894 by Por­tuguese immi­grants, the Colombo Patis­serie soon found its his­tory inter­twined with that of the cap­i­tal and, by exten­sion, of the nation. The build­ing has under­gone sev­eral reforms, but the first floor inte­rior remains pretty much the way cus­tomers found it dur­ing the 1913 reopen­ing. The style might be described as turn-of-the-century con­ti­nen­tal flam­boy­ant eclectic.

Ornate Por­tuguese tiles cover the floor. The light fix­tures are from France. The makeover at the Colombo reflected the broader urban renewal that had over­taken Rio de Janeiro around the turn of the cen­tury. Vis­it­ing in Octo­ber 1913, for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Teddy Roo­sevelt noted that since the dec­la­ra­tion of the Brazil­ian repub­lic in 1889, Rio de Janeiro had been con­verted “from a pic­turesque pest-hole into a sin­gu­larly beau­ti­ful, healthy, clean, and effi­cient mod­ern great city.”

Lunch — Con­feitaria Colombo. NOT INCLUDED.


Bib­lioteca Nacional — The National Library of Brazil traces its ori­gins to the library cre­ated by Dom José I, King of Por­tu­gal, to replace the Royal Library destroyed in the fire that fol­lowed the great Lis­bon earth­quake of Novem­ber 1, 1755.

Flee­ing from the invad­ing French armies, then prince regent Dom João VI, Queen Maria I, the rest of the royal fam­ily, and most of the Por­tuguese nobil­ity left Lis­bon for Brazil in Novem­ber 1807. They brought with them the Royal Library, which at the time con­sisted of approx­i­mately 60,000 items, includ­ing books, man­u­scripts, prints, maps, coins, and medals.

After Brazil’s inde­pen­dence, in 1822 the Library became the prop­erty of the Brazil­ian Empire. The Library con­tains the biggest doc­u­men­tary col­lec­tion in Latin Amer­ica and is one of the ten largest national libraries in the world. Its main col­lec­tion, as well as var­i­ous spe­cial­ized col­lec­tions, is avail­able to researchers and the aca­d­e­mic community.

The National Library uses the most mod­ern infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy to offer access to its col­lec­tions and pro­vide ser­vices to individuals.


Teatro Munic­i­pal — Part of the urban­is­tic project designed to embell­ish the country’s cap­i­tal in early 20th cen­tury, the Teatro Munic­i­pal is one of the most ele­gant build­ings in Rio.

Built between 1905 e 1909 the project by archi­tect Fran­cisco de Oliveira Pas­sos was inspired in the Paris Opera.

Its sump­tu­ous inte­rior dec­o­ra­tion matches the exte­rior impos­ing façade. Built of fine col­ored Car­rara mar­ble, bronze and onyx, it is out­fit­ted with mir­rors and period fur­ni­ture, paint­ings by Vis­conti and sculp­tures by Bernadelli.

The Assir­ius Restau­rant in the base­ment is dec­o­rated with Assyr­ian motifs.

Arturo Toscanini, Sarah Bern­hardt, Bidu Sayão, Eliane Coelho, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Igor Stravin­sky, Paul Hin­demith, Alexan­der Brailowsky are just some of the artists who have per­formed at the Teatro Municipal.

The Munic­i­pal is the only Brazil­ian The­atre to house an orches­tra, a bal­let and a chorus.


Real Gabi­nete Por­tuguês de Leitura — A tem­ple to books. This build­ing is a late 19th cen­tury imi­ta­tion of early 16th cen­tury Manuelina Archi­tec­ture (after Por­tuguese king Manuel I), “char­ac­ter­ized by plas­tic exu­ber­ance, nat­u­ral­ism, robust­ness, dynamic curves and reliance on motives inspired by mar­itime flora and sea­far­ing of the Age of Dis­cov­er­ies.” The inte­rior of Real Gabi­nete Por­tuguês is four sto­ries tall, capped with a stained-glass cupola and illu­mi­nated by an elab­o­rate chan­de­lier. The read­ing room con­tains over 350,000 vol­umes, many of them from the 17th and 18th cen­turies. Amongst them a rare 1572 edi­tion of Luís de Camões’ “Os Lusíadas.”