By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For those traveling to the Cidade Maravilhosa, it is all too easy to fill ten days on the famous landmark beaches and visiting tourist must-sees like the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain. Yet for those that live here, or seek the ‘off the path’ attractions, the new travel book named “Secret Rio” by French-owned Jonglez Publishing, will help dive into the city’s hidden treasures.
The book Secret Rio is mostly targeted towards Cariocas and people living in Rio, and so was published in Portuguese of course, but also English for all the expatriates living here, as well as French, Spanish and Italian.
The press release teases what to expect in the guide. “Visit an extraordinary hill where the ‘little angels’ are buried; […] a beautiful private palace open to visitors once a month, modernist ceramics hidden on the 15th-floor terrace of a former government building, a remarkable secret staircase; […] find an Amazonian talisman at Copacabana, vestiges of the Carioca river…”
The primary author is Manoel de Almeida e Silva who grew up in Engenho Velho, described as a long-forgotten name for the area around Tijuca in Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone). As a journalist and education specialist, he has lived in several countries during 28 years of work with the United Nations, but has now settled in Copacabana.
The book is the 41st title in the ‘secret series’, which explore the hidden know attractions of Milan to Madrid and Brussels to Buenos Aires. The secret guides are set apart from other travel books because each is ‘written by local experts, […] intended both for the local inhabitants themselves and the curious travelers.’
Thomas Jonglez, founder of Jonglez Publishing is from France but has traveled the world establishing the publishing business, and since 2013 is now based here in Rio de Janeiro. Describing how the book Secret Rio was developed, Jonglez explained, “The publication of this secret Rio was natural once I moved here. […] It took us three and a half years to research, write and photograph the book.”
Adding, “The main difficulty was to form a good group of writers: people from Rio, highly knowledgable about their own city, ready to research for even more secret places and able to write. Once the group was formed, the research was long because by definition we remove from our “secret Rio” everything that is well known in the city or that is in other travel guides.”
In regard to the goals of the book, Jonglez says, “The main goal is to help people who live in Rio discover or rediscover the city. A second goal is, hopefully, to help make people more attentive and conscious about their environment.[…] It is relatively easy to be curious when you are traveling, much less in your own city. This is what we would also like to change.”
According to the publisher, the guide is already a bestseller in Rio since it was released last month, and second of the book sales of all titles at Travessa book stores in Rio de Janeiro. The distributor is Globo, and the book is available all over Rio, in major bookshops in other cities and in major Brazilian airports.