It is surprising that in the financial centre of Río you can find a place so peaceful
Reminiscent of its colonial past
Currently situated in Largo de Carioca, epicentre of the financial district, this building is one of the main symbols of Río de Janeiro's Portuguese past. Its history dates back to 1592, when the hilltop on which it is situated became the property of the first Franciscan monks to arrive in Brazil. Its construction, started by Fray Francisco dos Santos, lasted from 1608 to 1620, although the building underwent significant changes in the 18th century. Amongst the most prominent is the inclusion of the Santo Antônio statue in the hall, and the vestry, whose decor boasts Baroque paintings, Portuguese wall tiles and wood carvings. At the rear are the catacombs, in which historic figures of the Franciscan Order rest. There is also a mausoleum, with the remains of various members of the Casa Imperial Brasileña, including the first empress, Doña Leopoldina. The artistic ensemble is completed by the neighbouring Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência church, whose chapel is adorned with Baroque altarpieces that recall the saint's life. Outside on the bustling square, you can allow yourself some time to relax around the city's first public fountain, built back in 1723. More information is available at www.conventosantoantonio.org.br.