One of the finest colonial towns in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, Tiradentes is nestled amongst the Serra de São José mountain range, which enjoys a natural beauty. As winding valleys make access difficult, this small town has avoided the industrialization of neighboring places like Mariana, its two-centuries preserved architecture testimony to its heyday during the 18th century gold rush. Named after a martyr of the republican liberation movement who is considered a national hero, Tiradentes is no longer the major economic center it once was, having almost been forgotten as the gold rush met its end. However, the combined efforts of locals and Rio investors today sees the town a delightfully-serene retreat for Brazilian artists, craftsmen, and tourists alike.
Lamp-lit cobbled streets lined with colorful colonial houses, courtyard and/or stable converted hotels, shops and restaurants, lead to an imposing church at the upper part of town. The most important church in Tiradentes, it is dedicated to São Francisco (Saint Francis) instead of Santo Antônio (Saint Anthony), unlike most churches found in the state; its stunning interior adorned with a half a ton of gold.
Visit the Vitoriano Veloso district for a fine selection of handicrafts, or take the scenic train ride, “Maria Fumaça” (Smoke Mary), which is popular with weekend tourists. Your stop is nearby São João del Rei, the birthplace of Tiradentes, featuring a number of 18th century buildings. You will also pass through areas of Atlantic Rainforest in the mountains, a species rich environmental preservation area. In addition, Tiradentes hosts an annual film festival as well as a world-class gastronomic festival. Visitors from all over come to indulge in typical Minas Gerais cuisine, which is undoubtedly a town highlight.