Aside from Copacabana and Ipanema, the hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa attracts all types of tourists. It was named after the small Carmelite Convent located the area which was built in 1750 by a group of nuns who established the place in honor of St Theresa of Avila.
Art and Architecture haven
Santa Teresa is a haven for tourists who adore art and architectural designs.
It has numerous attractions such as museums and monuments like the Museu da Chacara do Ceu which was previously the home of an art collector named Ramundo Maya.
His art collection is now on display which includes artworks of Monet, Matisse, Candido Portinari, and Picasso. Another mansion which was also converted into a museum is the Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo.
This mansion was previously owned Laurinda Santos Lobo but is now a museum where concerts and art exhibitions are being held. Laurinda Santos Lobo was popular for having soirees in her mansion which was attended by popular personalities such as Isadora Duncan.
The Villa Lobos
Another “mansion turned museum” is the former 1860 home of Benjamin Constant de Magalhaes, he was the head of the Republican Movement of Brazil during that time.
The mansion still exudes its glamour until now and is presently a museum that housed numerous artifacts, books, art collections, and photographs about Rio’s history.
The Santa Teresa Tramway
The Santa Teresa Tramways which is considered as a heritage tramway is locally called ‘bonde’. This historic tramway was built in 1896 and sup to this day is still in operation. Tourists who board the tram start their journey at Centro until they pass through the aqua duct called Arcos da Lapa and continue onto the hills of Santa Teresa giving tourists the chance to appreciate the picturesque view of the city.
The Staircase of Selaron
A staircase that measures almost 125 meters, connects Santa Teresa and Lapa. This 250 step mosaic staircase is the work of artist Jorge Selaron and is still an ongoing piece of art.
The Chilean artist claims that the mosaic pieces were taken from 60 different countries; the pieces are combined with painted tiles and up to this day, the artist continuously replaces any unattractive piece that he sees and replaces it with an even better piece that makes up the splendid Selaron staircase.
Bloco das Carmelitas
During the Rio Carnival Parade, Santa Teresa has their very own parade organized by the Bloco das Carmelitas.
There are two types of parades organized at the Bloco das Carmelitas but both are parades about a nun. The first one which takes place on the first day of the carnival tells the story of how the nun escaped from the convent and the second parades happens on a Carnival Tuesday and tells about the nun’s return to the convent.
Members of the bloco are all dressed up as nuns.
Just like any tourist, you can never go home without buying a souvenir! You can find only a few handicraft and souvenir stores in Santa Teresa, the best one is the La Veresa which can be reached by riding the Santa Teresa Tramway and sells a wide array of local goods such as handicrafts and souvenir old photos.