Even though it’s situated in one of the oldest houses still standing in São Paulo, the Casa da Imagem (House of the Image) is a new kid on the block. Only a few metres from the Pátio do Colégio – the Jesuit school where the city of São Paulo was founded in 1554 – the Casa da Imagem, also known as Casa N˚ 1 (House #1), is a 17th-century home built from an earthen construction material.
In 1870, the house was renovated and became the primary residence of Major Benedito Antônio da Silva before finally becoming a shrine dedicated to the history of São Paulo through images.
The museum – part of the Secretariat of Culture’s Museu da Cidade (Museum of the City) network – opened on 19 November 2011 with an exhibition of the work of photographer Guilherme Gaensly. The Casa da Imagem features an archive of 710,000 photographs, chronicling the city’s growth since 1860, and a digital database of 120,000 images.
Next door is another recently renovated historical venue: the Solar da Marquesa de Santos. From 1834 to 1867, it was the home of the Marquise de Santos, sometime- mistress of the Emperor of Brazil. Duck into both for a blast from the past.