26 May 2024, 23:28

Vidigal, the favela where Beckham bought a house


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the : 16/10/2014

Beckham bought a house in Vidigal, one of the Rio's favelas


David Beckham has bought a house in Vidigal, a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Vidigal, located on Ipanema and pacified since 2011 has become the hot spot of the Carioca city.   


An ideal location : a visual caviar


From its top, about a thousand meters above sea level, the postcard has nothing to envy to the view enjoyed by millions of tourists from the Christ the Redeemer every year.  In the foreground, Leblon and Ipanema; in the back, Copacabana; on the left, the beautiful Lagoa Rodrigo de Freita; and on the horizon, Sugarloaf. Caviar visual. Up there, we have reached the place by motorcycle taxi, on payment of 10 reals (slightly more than three euros): "A theft... it typically costs two and for visitor, five," says Olalla, our cicerone. 


This 32 year old lady from Galicia, raised in Vitoria, is currently director assistant on Globo, the most popular TV channel in Brazil. "it costs 10 reals because it is the World Cup price", explain the  mototaxis drivers. Either you take it or you leave it but walking up is not really an alternative when the ramps are between 10 and 15 percent, under 30 degrees and 80 percent humidity.   


A renewed and pacified favela


We talk about Vidigal, the 'cool' favela in Rio de Janeiro, pacified since mid-2011 when the Military Police took her ending the violence and drug traffic. The danger has not disappeared entirely. Always with the eyes wide open, with short steps and long sight. Just 150 meters from Alto Vidigal, where we are driven to by the motorcycle taxis, we reached the dreaded street five. In this strategic position are hiding the few narcos who remain in the favela and continue to do business, especially thanks to the direct link they have with Rocinha (attached to Vidigal), the largest favela in Latin America, with 150,000 inhabitants and for many, the most dangerous one. 


In just three years, Vidigal's facelift has been amazing. It has become the nerve center of the bohemian and cultural world. Every month there are exhibitions, shows, concerts and of course, the most "chic" parties around Rio, some with popular DJs of the moment. Such is the popularity it has achieved that one can find in Vidigal too housing bubble: 150,000 reals (50,000 euros), as a minimum, for a small house. In fact, major business owners, knowing the money moves to Vidigal, are investing quite successfully. Accommodations like Mirante Do Arvrao and Da Laje, where it is impossible to stay for less than 100 euros a night (300 reais) are full during the World Cup.   


VIPs invert in the favela


Even David Beckham acquired last year the most exclusive house in Vidigal for the 'cheap' price of one million reals (just over 300,000 euros): "On several occasions we have seen him go by motorcycle taxi as any other inhabitant of the place" tell some members of the peacekeeping police working in the favela. He has just participated in a television report about this area, and Beckham is not the only famous one who frequents the place. Will Smith, Vincent Cassell and Beyoncé also use to visit Vidigal which used to be a Comanche territory, and is now today's place to be in Rio de Janeiro.   


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