Slightly outside of Petrópolis’s center (more easily reached by car or taxi), the Palácio Quitandinha (Av. Joaquim Rola 2, tel. 24/2237-1012, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., R$5) is an impressive if slightly jarring Norman-style palace that was built in the 1940s to house the largest and most glamorous hotel/casino in all of Latin America.
While it attracted the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles, and Lana Turner, its days as a luxury gaming den were short-lived; in 1946 gambling was outlawed in Brazil and the casino was transformed into a posh apartment complex.
Today, it functions as an events center. You can explore its surprisingly vibrant interior—the work of famed American decorator and Hollywood set designer Dorothy Draper, who irreverently colored the walls in tones of shocking pink, scarlet, and turquoise, reminiscent of a Technicolor movie. Note that the lagoon out front is shaped like Brazil.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition