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Brazil Intensive

TIRADENTES / SÃO JOÃO DEL REI / CONGONHAS / OURO PRETO / MARIANA / DIAMANTINA

7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS

DAY 1

Belo Horizonte / Tiradentes

Arrive in Belo Horizonte and continue to Tiradentes (3 hours driving), a beautiful historical city in Minas Gerais state, also known for its lively arts. In the afternoon, you will walk through the historical center and visit the most important sites such as the baroque churches. Overnight in Tiradentes.

DAY 2

Tiradentes & São João Del Rei

Breakfast at the lodge. A short trekking in the morning. We will have lunch in the neighbor town of São João Del Rei. Possibility of getting back to Tiradentes by an ancient historic train. Overnight in Tiradentes. (B)

DAY 3

Tiradentes / Congonhas / Ouro Preto

Free morning to enjoy leisurely walks through the old streets of Tiradentes or do some shopping. After lunch, we leave for 2 and a half hours drive to Ouro Preto, an incredibly beautiful town of cobblestone streets winding up and down hills all crowned by churches and chapels. During the way, stop at Congonhas to visit a religious complex with small chapels and the much larger Church of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, built in 1757. The church is renowned for its rococo interior with 89 offerings covering the walls of "The House of Miracles". Overnight in Ouro Preto (B, L)

DAY 4

Ouro Preto / Mariana

Depart for a Full day tour of Ouro Preto including lunch. The highlights of a visit to Ouro Preto are: Church of St.Francis of Assissi, a masterpiece of Brazilian religious architecture, designed and sculpted in wood and soapstone by Aleijadinho; Museum of the School of Mines: gives a complete mineralogical view of Brazil, in addition to displays of geological artifacts from other countries; Church of Our Lady of Pilar: a church that marked the culmination of Golden Age architecture, with carved works painted entirely in gold. Lunch will be a taste of typical Mineira dishes of the regions: Feijão Tropeiro and Tutu à Mineira (two different dishes using beans). we head to the village of Mariana to explore an old flooded gold mine. We descend with strollers to the old dark entrance of the mine. Return to Ouro Preto by the end of the afternoon. Overnight in Ouro Preto (B, L)

DAY 5

Ouro Preto / Diamantina

You will leave to Diamantina town following the beautiful road on the mountains. On the way, you will stop and enjoy the scenery and the waterfalls. The hospitality and the simplicity of the local people will amaze you. You will reach Diamantina by the end of the afternoon. Overnight in Diamantina (B).

DAY 6

Diamantina

Today you will have a full day to explore Diamantina. Our geologist guide explains you all the aspects of the diamond cycle and history. You will also meet artists who work with original materials to produce rugs, ceramics and other crafts. Overnight in Diamantina (B).

DAY 7

Diamantina / Belo Horizonte

You will have a free morning for walking around town and shopping. Return to Belo Horizonte in the afternoon (4 hours driving).

== end of services ==

Tiradentes is a cozy and charming town, known for its cobblestone’s streets, churches, arts and nice restaurants. Congonhas contains important works from the Golden Age of Brazil and was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1985 . The main points of interest are Aleijadinho´s sculptural masterpieces of the Twelve Prophets and the Via Crucies (Stations of the Cross). The set of life-sized sculptures is one of Brazil´s greatest artistic treasure.

Ouro Preto : Founded in the early eighteenth century, Ouro Preto was the first Brazilian town to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The intricate details of the buildings and work of art clearly reflects the originality and autonomy of the craftsmen and artists who created this monument of Brazilian Baroque style.

São João Del Rei’s unique formation, which evolved from a mining village to an important commercial pole in the Campo das Vertentes region, is responsible for its most remarkable characteristic: it is possible to appreciate the urban evolution of a colonial village whose historic nucleus remains preserved in harmony with eclectic constructions from the 19th Century and the changes that occurred in the 20th Century. The city’s urban center has many of the oldest architectural works in the region. Its constructions remain virtually intact until today, after almost two centuries of life. Situated in a large undulating valley between the mountains of São José and the “Lenheiro”, at the beginning of the “Espinhaço” Mountain Range, one of the oldest geological formations of Brazil, the city preserves a railway built in 1881 that connects the town to nearby Tiradentes. To stroll down São João Del Rei’s streets is a glance at the history of Minas Gerais and Brazil. The Minas Gerais Inconfidência (Conspiracy) leaders, who fought against abusive tax collection by Portuguese authorities, used to meet in the city. The houses and places where these meetings took place are preserved until today. During that time, it developed economically, leading to the city’s urban growth. The works made at that time, such as the bank, the hospital, the library, the theater and the cemetery are some of the points that help tell the rich history. The city’s neighboring areas are also rich in attractions. There are caverns, waterfalls, and trails that enchant by their beauty and show the trails traveled by São João Del Rei’s founders.

Congonhas do Campo is a historical city located in the state of Minas Gerais. It is situated 90km (56mi.) south of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The city is notable for its basilica – the Santuário de Bom Jesus de Matosinhos – and associated sculptures which was commissioned by Portuguese adventurer, Feliciano Mendes in the second half of the 18th Century. In 1985, UNESCO granted the Sanctuary the title of a World Heritage Site. The sanctuary consists of a church with a magnificent Rococo interior of Italian inspiration; an outdoor stairway decorated with statues of the prophets; and seven chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross, in which the polychrome sculptures by Antonio Francisco Lisboa, known as "Aleijadinho", are masterpieces of a highly original, moving, expressive form of Baroque art. Built on the top of the Morro do Maranhão, the church was the first part of the sanctuary to be constructed. The church has flamboyant rococo decoration of the interior, including the carvings of the altarpieces, statues and ornamental work, and the paintings lining the nave, main chapel and wall panels. The statues of the 12 Old Testament Prophets, sculpted in soapstone and distributed symmetrically through the different levels of the churchyard, were the work of Aleijadinho, and were done between 1800 and 1805. Aleijadinho was also responsible for the figures of the Steps of the Passion, sculpted between 1796 and 1799, which make up the Stations of the Cross.

Mariana is located on the Gold Circuit, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais and it is 12km (7.4mi.) from Ouro Preto and 110km (68mi.) from Belo Horizonte, the state’s capital. Founded in 1696, Mariana is the oldest city in the state. In the 18th Century, Mariana was the Catholic Church center in Minas Gerais Province and still retains most of its historical and cultural heritage that characterizes a baroque city, with its picturesque streets, churches, squares, buildings and museums. Today, it is considered a national monument due to its baroque wealth with gold taken from the mines nearby. The Maria Fumaça (“Smoke Mary”) steam train is an attraction itself. It goes from Tiradentes to São João del Rei. The central city square is the Praça da Sé, where you will find the Catedral Basílica da Sé. The Catedral Basílica da Sé is the oldest church of Mariana. It was built between 1709 and 1750. The pipe organ of the Sé Cathedral-Basilica is a special attraction. Built between 1700 and 1710 by the German Arp Schnitger - considered one of the greatest organ builders of all times - it underwent a complete restoration in the 1970s and continues to work until today with recitals open to the public on Fridays and Sundays. There is only one other similar instrument in the world in the city of Faro, Portugal. Mariana has an enormous number of churches and historical chapels that attract tourists for their beauty and symbolism. The Igreja de São Francisco de Assis (Saint Francis of Assis Church) dates back from the later baroque and is known for its paintings by the Brazilian master Athayde. Aleijadinho left his influence on the bell towers and the façade line and on the soapstone pulpits.

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