Yes, it has an unfixable fever for futbol—soccer—that’s
reaching a climax during the FiFa world cup this year.
and yes, the city’s best-known annual event is carnaval,
a pre-Lenten celebration that is perhaps the city’s most
concentrated gathering of nonstop visuals and sounds.
But look beyond the sand, soccer and samba, and Brazil’s original jet-set destination reveals itself as a sophisticated metropolis, as diverse as the cariocas who live
here. in my search for the very best of rio, i chose four
themes that prove why people call this city the cidade
maravilhosa: the marvelous city.
as rio is hosting both the 2014 world cup and the
2016 summer games, investment is pouring into the
city’s infrastructure, including highways, sports facilities
and air and cruise ports. Sparkling new museums and
cultural attractions are also among those offerings.
in the city center, the most vibrant example of this
cultural re-awakening is the museu de arte do rio de
janeiro (rio de janeiro art museum, often referred to
simply as “mar”), which is the first major attraction at
the Porto maravilha (marvelous Port), an ambitious,
government-led project that aims to bring new life to
the downtown waterfront. the 160,000-square-foot
venue is housed creatively in two contrasting structures: the 19th-century Dom joão Vi royal mansion,
and a shimmering, modernist building, joined by a
glass-enclosed walkway and gently curved second roof.
temporary exhibits in the spacious galleries—located
mostly within the historic mansion—provide an artistic
overview of rio’s cultural roots, from the serious (such
as Brazil’s military dictatorship) to playful pop culture
(think carnaval-themed Barbie dolls).
Yes, Rio de Janeiro has sexy, sand-lined beaches.
ART CIT Y
From left to right,
below: the exterior
of the Museu de Arte
Moderna (MAM); inside
the Museu de Arte do
Rio (MAR). Opposite, a
street view of the two
that make up the
MAR: a 19th-century
royal mansion and
a gleaming modern