(Redirected from Sao Paulo/Bixiga)
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.
Two upscale gay saunas Borges Lagoa and For Friends are located in the area.
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!