From the Largo da Carioca , walk down Rua da Carioca to Praça Tiradentes, and then take a right on Avenida Passos. At the intersection with Rua Luís de Camões, you’ll come upon the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura (Rua Luís de Camões 30, Centro, tel. 21/2221-3138, www.realgabinete.com.br , 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., free). The unusual facade with its stylized sailors’ knots, seashells, and Moorish motifs is typical of Manueline style, which was popular in Portugal during the reign of Manuel I (1495–1521).
Inside is one of the largest libraries of works in the Portuguese language. It’s worth taking a peek at the stunning reading room with its mile-high ceilings, jacaranda tables, and seemingly endless polished wood bookshelves reminiscent of a medieval library.