Those who have already been enchanted by the Jardim Bôtanico, but are looking for a less popular venue, will find a tranquil paradise at Parque Lage. The small park at the foot of Corcovado Mountain was once the residence of the rich industrialist Enrique Large and his wife, the singer Gabriella Besanzoni. Surrounded by monkeys and birds hopping from branch to branch in the Atlantic rain forest, the park resembles an oasis and it is easy to see why the couple decided to settle down here. The mansion was built in the colonial style, but was later remodeled by Italian architect Mario Vodrelan and enclosed by a perfectly landscaped English-style garden. Today, the building hosts the Escola de Artes Visuais – the visual arts school – as well as a café, both of which are open to the public.
Behind the turquoise pool in the courtyard, the wooden benches of the café and the embellished facade, Christ the Redeemer rises into the sky and creates the perfect backdrop for a day away from busy Rio. Apart from the nice view of the Christ, the delightful pastries at the café and the occasional exhibition or event, the Parque Lage also offers nice walks through the lush landscape with lots of things to discover. Visitors can enjoy fish tanks holding a variety of Brazilian species, admire fountains, ponds, caves and a tower and find plenty of benches to sit and take in the scenery.
Parque Lage opens daily from 8am to 6pm and the admission is free. The public park can be found in the Jardim Bôtanico district along the Rua Jardim Bôtanico, where a number of busses make a stop.