Bookworms, here’s an unmissable date for your diary. This weekend (Saturday May 15 and Sunday May 16), the bohemian hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa will host its second annual literary festival.
Completely free of charge, the event, which was launched with great success last year, will see poetry recitals, book swaps, film screenings and live theater take place among the parks and colonial mansions of this beautiful bairro
Of course, it helps if you can speak at least a little Portuguese, but even those who haven’t got to grips with the language will find plenty to hold their attention. No cultural event in Rio is complete without drum beats and dancing, and, true to form, there will be live samba performances throughout the weekend.
While the events will be dotted around the neighborhood, the main hub of activity will be Parque das Ruinas, an attraction that is well worth a visit in itself. One of the neighborhood’s finest old mansions has been refurbished and opened to the public, and the views from the top floor are breathtaking.
And if all this book browsing works up an appetite, there are plenty of excellent places to refuel in Santa Teresa. For delicious, filling Northeastern Brazilian food that won’t blow the budget, head for Bar do Arnaudo, which is less than 10 minutes’ walk from Parque das Ruinas (or a couple of minutes on the famous Santa Teresa tram). Look out for the set meals ‘for one’, which comfortably feed two or even three people.
After dark, head along to Bar do Gomes, Simplesmente or Bar do Mineiro, and hang out with the musicians, artists, writers and assorted eccentrics that have made their home in the neighborhood.
For a full schedule and details of the event, visit the Flist (Festival Literatura Santa Teresa) site at www.flist.org.br Photo: Santa Teresa, courtesy of Lucy Bryson