Romantic Road in Brazil
Modelled on the German Romantic Road, Brazil’s ‘Rota Romântica’ runs for almost 200 km through the South Brazilian state of ‘Rio Grande do Sul’, from the plain of the ‘Rio dos Sinos’ river to the ‘Serra Gaúcha’ highlands.
The thirteen towns of the Rota Romântica constitute an ideal destination for visitors to Brazil looking for a special spot with breath-taking landscapes, tranquil locations and delicious regional cuisine. Valleys, meadows, waterfalls and colourful gardens provide a wonderful backdrop for tours of the region while architecture and culture reflect the predominant influence of German immigrants with deep-seated cultural roots. Here, great importance is attached to folklore characteristic of South Brazil’s ‘gaúcho culture’ and German traditions.
The history of the region dates back to 1824 when emigrants from the Hunsrück region, Pomerania and other underdeveloped parts of Germany came, settled and began cultivating the land. Despite many privations, their industry, endurance and courage enabled them to create a middle class, something previously unknown in Brazil. All of the newcomers were able to purchase land cheaply, which formed the basis of their existence. They made roads, cleared fields and pastures and built up a social structure that still holds the people of Rio Grande del Sul together even today. Although it was forbidden to speak German in the thirties and forties of the last century, the language remains in use there and is even taught in schools along the Rota Romântica, which means, of course, that German-speaking visitors have no communication problems along the route. Agriculture is still the dominant feature of the region: never-ending pastures form the basis for a flourishing livestock industry, as well as a leather industry with numerous shoe factories that supply the world market.
Other important sectors are the furniture industry and tourism. The city of Gramado alone registers over two million overnight stays every year and German evenings in Novo Hamburgo are extremely popular among visitors from the Brazilian conurbations. German music and hearty dishes are links to the traditions of the emigrants and their history can be also be experienced in an outdoor museum – with historical buildings, from a church and school to a graveyard, set in the middle of a park – which tells the story of the German settlers and their way of life from the time they landed. One of the reasons why millions of Brazilians take their holidays on the Rota Romântica is the existence of four seasons, something that can only be experienced there in this almost endless country, i.e., blossoms in spring, the autumn colours of the plane trees and temperatures around freezing in winter. Particular mention must be made of the hospitality along the route, which became even more pronounced following the partnership agreement signed in Friedberg on 15 October 2007. Naturally, friendships and contacts have been made and these also link the inhabitants of the two holiday routes. Other things in common are art, culture and cuisine – dining at a churrasceria is a must for all visitors to South Brazil.