The former home of José Tavares Guerra, nephew of the Barão de Mauá, the Casa de Petrópolis (Rua Ipiranga 716, tel. 24/2231-6197, 1:30–6:30 p.m. Thurs.–Tues., R$3) is a Victorian mansion whose architecture was inspired by Guerra’s early years spent living and studying in England. Guided tours are offered of the sumptuous interior with its crystal chandeliers, brocade covered walls, marble fireplaces, and polished jacaranda furniture. The lovely gardens were a favorite strolling spot of Dom Pedro II.
Other Petrópolis  palaces of note aren’t open for visitation, but their exteriors are worth a look. These include the pretty pink Palácio Princesa Isabel (Av. Koeler, 42), home of the imperial princess, and the grand Palácio Rio Negro (Av. Koeler, 255), built by the Barão do Rio Negro, a rich coffee planter. After he sold it, the house became the official summer residence of Brazil’s presidents.
The Casa do Barão de Mauá (Praça da Confluência 3) was home to the Barão de Mauá—one Brazil ’s most famous entrepreneurs, he founded the Banco do Brasil and was the man behind the construction of the nation’s first railroad (linking Rio  and Petrópolis).