Cunha, A Historic And Blessed City

Friday, September 1, 2023
Amazing panorama from the Lavandário

Perched on top of the Paraíba Valley, Cunha is a charming city in between the states of São Paulo and Rio: about 3-4 hours either way! It is close to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro. I will be sharing pics with you about it in a future post. Cunha owes its name to the tool with which wood is chopped and stones split. The municipality was established in 1785 and in the last decades of the 20th century, Cunha became a ceramics stoneware center visited from all over Brazil and other countries as well.

Whether you are just passing through or heading to the area for a few days, this town has a lot to offer! I have visited it a few times. Best is to go around on foot and indulge in the renowned local gastronomy. You will need a ride to get to one of the beer breweries. If you are a mushroom lover, Cunha hosts a shiitake mushroom farm, Fruto da Serra Shiitake, where you can take a pick from the menu either to eat watching the charming green landscapes or to take it back with you. The city also features many artisan shops, as well as old colonial houses/buildings, and the Mercado Municipal -municipal market- that are worth a visit. If you have some time, hike on natural trails in the different parks and make sure to visit at least a few of the several waterfalls: they offer stunning views.

The photos that I was able to recover and am publishing hereafter include the Lavandário, a famous ceramic studio, and one of my latest visits to the Basilica of our Lady of Aparecida, about an hour's drive from Cunha. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

The Lavándario has a small shop where almost everything is made of lavender. Even the cupcakes! These didn't taste good, to be honest. The soaps however were really nice, a bit too creamy for my taste, but I purchased different aromas to test. My favorite was the gardenia aroma, followed closely by the lavender and geranium ones. You can also place your orders online but I am not sure if they ship overseas.

Before we left the Lavándario to check the ceramics studio, we took a last look at the lush green hills... and to our surprise, two little birds, which I guess were yellow cardinals but I am not sure, gave us a little show.

Atelier de Ceramica Suenaga e Jardineiro operates a Noborigama wood kiln to create pottery, vases, and many things you wouldn't have imagined. This particular type of kiln is Japanese and built on a slope. If you want to read more about it, check this link. The Atelier de Ceramica Suenaga e Jardineiro provides a small tour at given hours when the furnace is operating. Enjoy the photo selection!

The Catedral Basílica do Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida is the second-largest church in the world and home of the principal patroness of Brazil. It is located about 50 kilometers from the city of Cunha. Local folk tale recounts that fishermen tried in vain to catch some fish for the banquet prepared for the visit of the Governor of São Paulo, Pedro de Almeida in 1717. After a long and fruitless day, one of the fishermen caught a black statuette of the Virgin Mary. A second attempt was needed to find the head of the statue. It was then cleaned, and wrapped in a cloth, and the fishermen went back to pursue their endeavor. They were suddenly lucky and the statue was housed in one of their homes. Later a chapel was built for any visitor wishing to pray to the statue and with miracles being witnessed and more people flocking to the site, a basilica replaced the chapel in 1834. Works for the new basilica were launched in 1955 and it is structured in the Romanesque revival style. If you are a pious Catholic or not, these blessed grounds offer a lot in art. Here are a few pictures from my last visit...

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