Amparo is a city in Campinas Region of São Paulo state. It is the largest city of the Circuito das Águas Paulista (Paulista Water Circuit), a cluster of mineral spring towns over the Mantiqueira mountain range. Amparo contains a large and well-preserved historical heritage from the São Paulo state coffee farming era (late XIX century).
The settlement of Nossa Senhora do Amparo was founded in 1829. After 1850, it prospered with the coffee farming, and got a boost with the inauguration of the train station from the Mogiana company. The Great Depression of 1929 also brought the decline of coffee farming in the state of São Paulo, and Amparo suffered from economic stagnation. After 1940, the city started recovering with industrialization and later, tourism. Química Amparo (Ypê), a manufacturer of cleaning products founded in 1950, is still the main employer of the city today.
Amparo remains as one of the cities of the state with most preserved heritage from the coffee farming era. Other attractions of the city are its mineral springs, rural tourism, eno- and ecotourism.
The intercity bus terminal is located in the historic center, near the Municipal Market, making intercity buses an attractive option to get in the city. Buses from Campinas are operated by Expresso Metropolis and from São Paulo by Rápido Fênix. Buses are not that frequent so reserving in advance is a good idea.
- From Campinas: Take Rod. D. Pedro (SP-065) towards Jacareí and then take Rod. Campinas-Mogi Mirim (SP-340) towards Jaguariúna. In Jaguariúna, take Rod. João Beira (SP-095) towards Pedreira and Amparo.
- From São Paulo: Take Rod. Fernão Dias (BR-381), and in Atibaia, take Rod. D. Pedro (SP-065) towards Campinas. Then take SP-360 towards Morungaba and Amparo.
It is possible explore the city center on foot, although the area is relatively large and contains ladders. You can cycle alongside the Camanducaia river, but for exploring the city, be prepared for the ladders and brick roads. A car is recommended if you plan to explore the countryside of municipality.
Amparo's city center contains a large collection of houses and constructions from coffee farming era (late XIX and early XX centuries). The most remarkable constructions are:
- Museu Histórico e Pedagógico Bernardino de Campos, Rua Luiz Leite, 7, ☏ . Small palace constructed in 1885 to be home of a local ariscrat, Colonel Luíz de Souza Leite. It later became the Amparo's city hall and the city council hall. Currently it is a museum with 15,000 pieces, mostly from the XIX century, and is considered to be the most relevant museum of the Circuito das Águas.
- Praça Monsenhor João Batista Lisboa, Center. Amparo's main square, containing some buildings of interest:
- Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Amparo. Amparo's central church, in neoclassic style, inaugurated in 1878.
- Biblioteca Municipal Carlos Ferreira. The municipal library, founded in 1900 and containing about 23,000 volumes.
- Sociedade Italiana (Old city hall of Amparo), Praça Monsenhor João Batista Lisboa. Building constructed in 1901 by the Italian community. It was the city hall of Amparo until 2008.
- Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Largo do Rosário - Centro. Church constructed in 1831, maintaining its original characteristics.
- Santa Casa Ana Cintra, Rua Ana Cintra, 332. Hospital constructed in 1890 by a Campinas aristocrat.
- Hospital da Beneficência Portuguesa de Amparo, Av. Bernardino de Campos, 207. The palace built in 1892, now a hospital, is one of the most beautiful constructions of the city.
- Largo da Estação, Praça Pádua Salles (At the crossing of Av. Bernardino de Campos with R. Albino Piffer). Square containing the tourist information center and a couple of places of interest, including:
- Old Amparo train station. The old train station formerly operated by Companhia Mogiana and inaugurated in 1875. The last train departed to Monte Alegre do Sul in 2 January 1967.
- Pinacoteca Dr. Constâncio Cintra. Art museum founded in 1975, containing about 400 works.
- Igreja de São Benedito, R. São Benedito, 117 - Centro. Church founded in 1885, annex to a cloister founded in 1912.
- Etec João Belarmino, R. Sete de Setembro, 299 - Centro. Technical school founded in 1911 to train factory works, and retaining its original function.
- EEPG Luiz Leite, Rua Capitão Alceu Vieira, 76 – Centro. Public school founded in 1894.
- Mercado Municipal, Praça Dr. Araújo. The city's municipal market, founded in 1912 and reopened in 2013 after a restoration process. Contains a restaurant and a chopperia.
- Patronato Jesus Crucificado, Rua Barão de Campinas, 307 - Centro. Old house of the Baron of Campinas, constructed in 1878. Also where Emperor Pedro II of Brazil stayed for 2 days. Currently a school for small children.
Parks and nature
- Parque Turístico do Cristo Redentor, Rodovia Amparo-Itapira (Access from Praça Olavo Bilac). Park with a statue of the Redeemer Christ and a panoramic view of the city.
- Festival de Inverno (Winter Festival), Praça Pádua Salles (Largo da Estação). The annual Winter Festival consists of shows are scheduled for the whole month of July. All kinds of bands are invited to the city, from sertanejo (a Brazilian form of country music) to heavy metal. Ballet and plays are often part of it. Although the event is more oriented toward city residents, it's a touristic event and July might be the best time to visit Amparo.
Amparo's main shopping street is R. Treze de Maio, with shops mainly oriented to locals, not tourists. Locally made handcrafts are sold at Centro de Artesanato, located in the old train station.
- Farol, Rua Treze de Maio 336, ☏ . Lunchtime Mo-Sa.
- Gordão Lanches.
- La Fornalha, R. Dr. Osvaldo Cruz, 14, ☏ . Pizzaria.
- Ney Lanches, R. Manoel Heitor, 136, ☏ .
- Ponto 8, Pç Monsenhor João Batista Lisboa, no number, ☏ .
- Restaurante Guarany, Rua Comendador Guimarães, 500, ☏ .
- Rovigo, R. 15 de Novembro, 45, ☏ . Tu-Su 8PM-. Pizzaria.
- Tucão Lanches, Rua Dr Plínio Amaral, 85, ☏ .
- Vecchio Zilli, Av. Bernardino de Campos, 1340, ☏ . Pizzaria.
- Anexo Pub.
- Bar Quintal.
- Botequim do Rosário.
- Matriz Chopperia.
- One Eventos, Rua Treze de Maio, 17 - Centro, ☏ . Dance club, one of the largest of the Paulista Water Circuit.
- Paraty Chopperia, Av. Dr. Carlos Burgos, 1630 - Centro. Large bar with live Brazilian music (various styles).
- Alpes Chalés.
- Ancona Canter Hotel.
- Bougainville Hotel Fazenda.
- Chalés & Cia..
- Grande Hotel Amparo.
- Hotel Fazenda Vanguarda.
- Hotel Resort Canto da Floresta.
- Hotel Sant'Ana.
- Maranim Plaza Hotel.
- Pousada Coisas da Terra e do Céu.
- Pousada Dois Lagos.
- Pousada Fazenda São Joaquim.
- Pousada Sierra.
Amparo is a safe city, with violent crime being far less common than petty crime. The roads around the city are quite dark during the night, so drive carefully in this situation.
- Monte Alegre do Sul - Small town founded by Italian immigrants, with a charming historic center and renowned cachaça brewers