Like the lace that came from the Azores with the colonizers, nature has embroidered waves along one of the most attractive stretches of the Brazilian coastline in Florianópolis, an island boasting 42 beaches. Occupying an area of 452 square km, the capital of Santa Catarina is a considerable tourist attraction which during the summer months becomes even more decorated for carnival festivities and general merrymaking with bronzed gods and goddesses strolling along the shore. For those who want something more than shade and cool water, the city can also offer the relaxing option of thermal springs.
According to the reports of sailors sailing the coast early in the 16th century, Santa Catarina was covered in Atlantic forest and inhabited by leopards, monkeys and Carijó Indians. As a strategic port, coveted by the Spanish and frequently raided by Dutch and Belgian pirates, the island built a series of fortifications in the eighteenth century and took in five thousand immigrants from the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. The newcomers brought striking changes to the culture, architecture, folklore and personality of the native islanders.
Photo from http://www.sortimentos.com/
At that time, the island of Santa Catarina was covered with Atlantic forest, apart from the small settlement of Nossa Senhora do Desterro that grew into a city of almost 300 thousand inhabitants, situated between the mainland and an island with an abundance of beaches and natural beauty. Its centre was between the Morro do Antão and the north and south bays. The link with the mainland was inaugurated in 1 926 when the Hercílio Luz bridge became the first suspension bridge in Latin America and emblem of the city. Nowadays Florianópolis has two other bridges and numerous other landmarks bearing witness to its well-established position as a metropolis and capital.
Leaving the center and heading out to the island’s nine districts (Lagoa da Conceição, Canasvieiras, Cachoeira do Bom Jesus, Santo Antonio de Lisboa, São João do Rio Vermelho, Ribeirão da Ilha, Pântano do Sul, Ratones and Ingleses do Rio Vermeiho) it is possible to find the typical Florianópolis and the main examples of folklore and handicraft in villages and hamlets where life is free and unencumbered, full of history,
tradition and hard work.
At a distance of 1 thousand km from Rio de Janeiro and 1,5 thousand from Buenos Aires, Florianópolis is almost at the midpoint between these metropolises, offering beautiful landscapes and promoting the free movement of goods and people between the countries of Mercosul. The site of two universities and the hub of non-polluting industries such as tourism and information technology, the city has one of the busiest international airports in Brazil.