The fifth largest country in the world, Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in South America.


The state of Bahia is one of the 27 states of Brazil and is located on its beautiful northeast coast.


Founded over four hundred and fifty years ago, Salvador was the first capital of Brazil. Initially built upon the northern escarpments of the Bay of All Saints, Salvador today encompasses the largest concentration of Portuguese Renaissance and Baroque architecture in Latin America, a heritage of its colonial economy based on sugar and slavery. The city has sprawled well beyond its original fortified enclosure to house its current population of nearly three million. The middle and upper classes inhabit bristling apartment highrises in a string of neighborhoods along the city's long beachfront, but the less-advantaged citizens live in self-built unplastered brick houses that pile up against the many hills that form the topography of the city. All of Salvador's citizens share, however, a rich culture, the product of the fusion of native, European and African traditions, with a unique local cuisine and a diverse musical heritage that continues to evolve to international acclaim. An African-Brazilian religion, candomblé, permeates daily life for practitioners and nonbelievers alike. Miles of beautiful beaches contribute to making Salvador the number one tourist destination for Brazilian travelers.


The island of Itaparica forms a crescent, thirty-six kilometers long, in the Bay of All Saints. Until the introduction of the auto ferry in about 1974, isolated fishing villages lined the white beaches, planted with thousands of coconut palms. Now vacation homes occupy the stretches of beach between the fishing villages. The interior of the narrow island continues to be primarily uninhabited, as does the side of the island where the beach gives way to mangrove forests.

The island population, comprising 50,000 permanent residents, is extremely cyclical, with the population burgeoning during the Brazilian summer months, December through February. In addition to the auto ferry, there is a passenger boat and a catamaran that transport people between Salvador and the island. There is no bridge that links the island to Salvador.

The largest city on the island, Itaparica, dates to the 16th century. Its historic core features churches and significant residences from the 17th through the 20th centuries. For many years Itaparica was the summer resort of choice for the bourgeoisie of Salvador. Many of the most well known families of Salvador still have homes there; but since new roads now connect Salvador to previously inaccessible beaches north of town, the wealthy now seek their entertainment elsewhere. Itaparica, for all its charms, is currently semi-forgotten.


A ten to fifteen minute walk from downtown Itaparica leads to the Instituto Sacatar. Located in the center of the 2 ½ acre property is a large house with a central courtyard, surrounded by a library, several commodious living rooms, a substantial kitchen and five bedroom suites. Generous verandahs wrap around the house. The site is quite pastoral; monkeys still live in the surrounding trees. A narrow strip of restinga, a native salt water scrub forest, screens the property from 175 meters of secluded white sand beach.

In 1950, a wealthy social reformer named Henriqueta Catharino built the main house as a vacation home and spiritual retreat for the Instituto Feminino, a Catholic girls' school she had founded in Salvador years before. The Institute was a pioneering school, the first to prepare local girls for professional careers. The life-size statue of Santa Therezinha de Lysieux, patroness of schoolgirls, still reigns over the central courtyard.
In the 1980s, an American painter bought the property from the Instituto Feminino, and for many years he ran it as a small exclusive hotel. He renamed it the Quinta Pitanga. In Portuguese, quinta means rural residence or country seat. Pitanga is a reference to the dozens of bushes in the garden that bear pitanga, a bright red tangy berry.

In 2000, the Instituto Sacatar purchased the property. The first Fellows arrived in September 2001. In 2002, we built a support building with a laundry room, pantry, a staff kitchen and employee bathrooms. In 2005 we added five small buildings clustered around the coconut grove facing the ocean, including an administration building, a wood-working shop, two studios with internal gardens and a raised studio with panoramic ocean views. The Instituto Sacatar is the first international artists' residency program established in Brazil and one of the largest in South America.

Site em Português