Portuguese Language Blog

The Countryside Posted by on Jan 24, 2011 in Vocabulary

I just spent this past weekend in the countryside (interior) on a sítio, right outside São Paulo with some friends.  Or was is a chacara? Or fazenda?

The definitions of these different types of properties in the country are difficult to define, but after some research, I have come to the following conclusions on the definitions of each:

uma chácara – can be defined as a small piece of land in the countryside with a weekend-type house and maybe some animal and plant/vegetable/fruit rearing and growing for personal use.

um sítio* – is a little bigger than a chácara, and is usually put to for profit agricultural use, with the raising of some cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. and vegetables, coffee, and other agricultural goodies.  It can also be used as a weekend home for some families in the city and will usually have another house on the property with someone, or a family, who takes care of the land for the owners, who is usually called a caseiro.  Sometimes the owner will live on the property as well.

uma fazenda** – would be the equivalent of a farm, in English.  Usually, a fazenda also has production of the same things that the above, but also tends to specialize in something for commercial ends.  So a fazenda can raise cattle or grow corn, or… grapes?  It’s usually much bigger than a sítio because of this, and usually whomever takes care of it lives there in a big farm house or there’s a person, or a few people who take care of the farm.  If it’s a really big fazenda, then it has many workers and sometimes owners.

These are loose definitions, like I said, I couldn’t find anything specific, so if anyone has anything else for me, feel free!

*quinta in Portugal and machamba in Mozambique

**I found the same definitions as sítio for Portugal and Mozambique as well.

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  1. Lauren:

    What would be the word for a ranch, a really large piece o property for raising cattle?

  2. Teka:

    One of the most famous literary sítios is the Sítio do Picapau Amarelo. I’m currently reading stories aloud from the first book in the series to myself, to practice my Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation and vocal expression–and because it’s fun. The title might loosely translate to “Yellow Woodpecker Ranch”.

  3. polyana:

    a ranch would just be something like, “uma fazendo de gado,” with “gado” meaning cattle!