Cities must often catch up with their fame or try to deny the stereotypes that represent them. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are like the Beauty and the Best of Brazil, the Wonderful city [Cidade Maravilhosa] and the Jungle of concrete. Surely at first sight there is no comparison: Rio with its breathless geography enchants, while São Paulo with its endless skyscrapers intimidates.
However São Paulo seduces gradually while you explore it, with its urban energy of south American metropolis, cultural center of reference of Brazil, of the Portuguese speaking countries and of the American continent. The main artery road is the famous Avenida Paulista, a sort of city within the city, financial and cultural center from which unfold the streets of fashion and luxury as Oscar Freire or of night entertainment as Rua Augusta / Consolação.
The high concentration of museums and cultural centers makes of the Avenida Paulista a real cultural corridor that from Paulista Station to Paraíso lists:
- The Instituto Moreira Salles, cultural center dedicated mainly to photography and visual arts that hosts also a cinema theatre.
- The Livraria Cultura, the biggest Portuguese speaking library in the world.
- MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo – its structure supported by two lateral beams designed by the Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi (author also of the spectacular Teatro Oficina), creates a covered piazza that hosts events and gatherings, a sort of cultural oasis between the tall buildings of high finance.
- The Casa das Rosas located in a classic palacete, a typical building of the XX Century and now one of the last remaining between the surrounding skyscrapers. With events dedicated mainly to poetry and literature it is the ideal place to take a break from the hectic Avenida.
- The Japan House: not everybody knows that Brazil hosts the biggest Japanese descendant community in the world outside Japan and that in particular São Paulo owes to this community part of its cosmopolitan identity.
- The Centro Cultural São Paulo, located not far from Avenida should be visited, not only for its cultural agenda, but also for its architecture and for the roof garden from which you can enjoy an amazing view over the city.
- SESC Avenida Paulista, will open its doors in the following months a new branch of SESC, a network of cultural centers located across the Brazilian territory with a wide cultural programme.
Stepping aside from the Avenida a special mention goes to the CCBB, Centro Cultural do Banco do Brazil, that hosts the most interesting events and the most innovative exhibitions: we have visited the one of Jean-Michel Basquiat in São Paulo and the one of Ex Africa in Rio de Janeiro, first big exhibition of African artists at the CCBB. Theater, cinema, music and visual arts, in the past years it has become one of the cultural center of reference and of distribution with its programme moving among the four locations: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte.
In light of this never-ending list it is really worth to become paulistanos for some days!