Travel & Places Brazil

A Historic Coffee Farm in Paty do Alferes, Rio de Janeiro

Fazenda Monte Alegre is a privately owned, restored historic coffee farm in the Coffee Valley or Rio de Janeiro State. The 19th-century farm belongs to Brazilian sculptor Gabriel Fonseca, who has turned part of the grounds into the Lúcia Miguel Pereira Sculpture Park.

In 2010, Fazenda Monte Alegre hosted events in the Coffee Valley Festival.

Visiting the farm is an opportunity to view the creations of this artist with an engineering career in his background and whose steel pieces interact with nature - some are floating structures, others hang from trees.

It took Fonseca and his family six years of intense restoration work to bring the farm, which they purchased in ruins, to its current state. The restoration work included the recovery of the gardens, designed by Auguste François Marie Glaziou (1828 - 1906), director of parks and gardens under emperor D. Pedro II.

The farm, a member of the Preservale Institute of historic farms in Rio de Janeiro's Coffee Valley, has a history dating back to the first half of the 19th century. The farm was, from 1855 to 1861, the home of Francisco Peixoto de Lacerda Werneck, the Baron of Paty do Alferes. The Werneck clan dominated Coffee Valley economy and politics for about 200 years.

According to Preservale, about 200 slaves worked on Fazenda Monte Alegre around 1959, when the farm was still living its peak. The farm was the best equipped one in the area; the baron and his family lived surrounded by mahogany and jacaranda furniture, works of art, a grand piano, and finest porcelain dinnerware with the family's coat of arms.

In 2011, after changes such as the exhaustion of the soil and the abolition of slavery in 1888 brought on the end of the Coffee Cycle in Rio de Janeiro State, Viscountess of Arcozelo, the Baron's heiress, had to sell the farm. According to relatives' reports, she ended her days in a plain house and died in poverty.

Gabriel da Fonseca named his sculpture park for literary critic and essayist Lúcia Miguel Pereira (1901-1959), daughter of sanitation physician Miguel da Silva Pereira (1871 - 1918), a pioneer of sanitation medicine in Brazil who fostered the creation of sanatoriums in Paty do Alferes and in the neighboring town of Miguel Pereira, named after him.

Fazenda Monte Alegre:

Visits by appointment

Address: Avenida Beira-Rio 7, Paty do Alferes - RJ
Phone: 55-24-2484-4269
E-mail: On the Preservale website, click on "Fale Conosco". Or e-mail Gabriel Fonseca.

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