FLORIANÓPOLIS – or “Desterro” as it was originally called – was founded in 1700 and settled fifty years later by immigrants from the Portuguese mid-Atlantic islands of the Azores. Since then, it’s gradually developed from being a sleepy provincial backwater into a sleepy state capital. With the construction of the bridges linking the island with the mainland, Florianópolis as a port has all but died, and today the city thrives as an administrative, commercial and tourist centre. Land reclamation for a multi-laned highway and new bus terminals has totally eliminated the character of the old seafront, and with it has vanished much of the city’s former charm. Despite all the changes, though, the late nineteenth-century pastel-coloured, stuccoed buildings still recall faint old-world images, while the relaxed, small-town atmosphere provides a total contrast to the excitement of São Paulo or Rio.
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