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Vila Maria, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)

Last modified: 2020-08-08 by ian macdonald
Keywords: rio grande do sul | vila maria |
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Vila Maria, RS (Brazil) image by Ivan Sache, 8 August 2020

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The municipality of Vila Maria (4,221 inhabitants in 2010; 18,144 ha) is located 260 km north of Porto Alegre.

Vila Maria was settled in the beginning of the 20th century by Italian immigrants coming from Bento Gonçalves, Antônio Prado, Caixas do Sul, Flores da Cunha and other places. In 1904, Sebastião Nunes, established as a farmer near river Guaporé, some 70 km of the town of Guaporé, sold his estate to the merchant Constante Lótici. The newcomer was soon joined by other colonists who formed a small settlement. Lótici sold in 1917 all his possessions to Maria Busato, a widow mother of several children coming from Casca. The place was renamed to Vila Maria. In the early 1930s, Maria Busato offered a one-hectare plot to erect a chapel; the parish of Nossa Senhora da Saúde was established on 13 September 1933.
Vila Maria was elevated to the 7th district of Guaporé in 1924 and transferred to Marau in 1957.
The municipality of Vila Maria was established on 9 May 1988.
Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 8 August 2020


The flag of Vila Maria is divided yellow-blue celeste-green according to the ascending diagonal. The central stripe is charged with a white disk featuring the municipal coat of arms.


The coat of arms features the statue of Christ the Redeemer erected on a hill overlooking the town. The statue is one of the 250 Brazilian replicas of the iconic statue designed by the French sculptor Paul Landowski (1875-1921) and erected on Corcovado hill, Rio de Janeiro, in 1931.
All the replicas were designed by the Papaiz family, from Campinas (São Paulo). The first statue, of 12 m in height (vs. 30 m for the original) was designed in the 1950s by Otaviano Papaiz and acquired by the mayor of São José do Rio Pardo. This was the beginning of a flourishing business managed by Otaviano's son, Ivo Papaiz. The Papaiz family kept the price of the statue as low as possible, so that mayors had not to require permission from the Municipal Chamber to acquire a copy. Orders fell in the 2000s, probably because of increasing bureaucracy in municipal management and religious diversification. Production was eventually stopped in 2005.
Guia dos Curiosos, 26 March 2011

Ivan Sache, 8 August 2020