Besides being one of the biggest meccas of Italian culture outside of Italy itself, Bela Vista, also known as Bexiga or Bixiga, became home to the city's most important theater venues and also has a vibrant nightlife, dotted with bars where bands, be they new or veteran, show off all their skills when it comes to rocking the place.
Fashionistas and their followers have recently found the place, and usually meet at Club Glória for a chat and a dance. The section is also home to Vai-vai, Sao Paulo's most popular Samba School, which practices weekly before Carnival on a "quadra" near 14 Bis square/9 de Julho Avenue, and not too far from Our Lady Achiropita church, a center of Italian culture in the city. Despite its Italian roots, the church caters to African-Brazilians and Nordestinos (Northeasterners), as well, as the section is home to many of them. So, "atabaque" drums and African rythms and rites can be part of the liturgy.
On Saturdays and Sundays, an antique fair takes place at Dom Orione square near Morro dos Ingleses --Hill of the English-- with its colonial style steps and lightpoles that lead to Rua dos Ingleses & Franceses square with some modern sculpture fountains as part of a residential building complex. Some early 20th century mansion leftovers can still be appreciated on both streets.
There are a few small theaters in the area, and the most important ones are located on Rui Barbosa avenue --Sergio Cardoso State Theater,-- and Brigadeiro Luis Antonio avenue, which is often called the "Broadway Brasileira" because musicals such as The Beauty & the Beast and Phantom of The Opera and Miss Saigon have been presented at the Abril Cultural Center in a former Paramount movie theater.
São Paulo Museum of Art (Museu de Arte de São Paulo - MASP), Av. Paulista. The most important museum of European and Western art in the city, with a collection that focus on paintings but also contains sculptures, drawings, antiques and other different works. It also hosts temporary exhibitions of modern art and has a buffet restaurant in its basement restaurant.edit
Trianon Park, Av. Paulista. Park with some native Brazilian/Paulistan tree species.edit
Bixiga's cantinas and pizzerias are amongst the best in the city. Try authentic fresh Portuguese rolls or Italian loaf with butter and "pingado," or "cafe' com leite" --coffee with cream-- from the bakery at the corner of Conselheiro Carrao and 13 de Maio streets. You won't regret!
Bassi, Rua 13 de Maio, 668, tel. 11 3288-7045. The exception is a meat specialist.
Roperto, Rua 13 de Maio 634, ☎ 011/3288-2573. Cosy and comfortable Italian restaurant that serves trypical Italian fare. Be sure to try the baby goat's leg with potatoes and tomatoes, its a speciality of the house.edit
Taberna do Julio, Rua Conselheiro Carrão, 392 tel. 11 3289-0421.
Clube Glória, Rua Treze de Maio, 830, tel. 11 3287-3700. Designers, models and their friends.
Cafe Piu Piu, Rua 13 de Maio 134, ☎ 011/3258-8066. The place to go for live music, especially jazz and blues. Has an old world feel with marble bar tops and antique balconies, but its the perfect place to hear good music.edit