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It takes just an hour to reach Petrópolis, in the Serra dos Órgãos mountains, but once there you've left Rio far behind. The city, named for Emperor Pedro II, was once the summer getaway for the royal family and elite classes. Its cooler climate attracted many German settlers as well. The former royal Summer Palace is now the Imperial Museum, displaying historical memorabilia. There's also a quirky museum in the small house of Alberto Santos-Dumont, whom Brazilians consider the father of aviation.

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