, the state capital of Alagoas, from the 1930s and 1940s show an elegant city of squares and houses nestling under palm trees. Today, while the city is still attractive in places, you can't help wishing the clock could be turned back. Some of the graceful squares and buildings remain, faded yet full of character, but the city as a whole has suffered in recent years from the attentions of planners. Their worst crime was the wrecking of a once famous waterfront parade, facing the harbour around which the city grew. An early nineteenth-century customs house once stood here, framed by offices and the fine houses of traders - all now gone and replaced by grimy concrete boxes.
The city's modern claim to fame - or infamy - is as the place where
Fernando Collor de Melo
cut his political teeth, becoming mayor and then state governor during the 1980s, before being elected Brazil's president in 1990. His term ended in disgrace after he was found to be at the centre of a huge corruption network, and further scandal was to come for Maceio with the violent death of Collor's adviser and chief accomplice in crime,
. In 1996 he and his girlfriend were found shot dead in a beachside hotel in Maceio - conspiracy theories abounded and the latest evidence suggests the deaths were an act of political revenge.
Other useful information
for tourists (each section contains more specific sub-sections):