Mosteiro de São Bento

Church in Centro & Praça Mauá
Image by PHOTOLAO / Getty Images

This is one of the finest colonial churches in Brazil. It was built between 1617 and 1641 on Morro de São Bento, and has an excellent view over the city. The simple facade hides a baroque interior richly decorated in gold. Among its historic treasures are wood carvings designed by Frei Domingos da Conceição and made by Alexandre Machado, and paintings by José de Oliveira Rosa.

On Sundays the High Mass at 10am includes a choir of Benedictine monks singing Gregorian chants; early risers can also hear Mass on weekdays at 7:30am (and on Saturdays at 8am). To reach the monastery from Rua Dom Gerardo, go to No 40 and take the elevator to the 4th floor.