It lies in a valley by a river, the Sapucaí, and have terrain elevations ranging from 827 to 1500 metres (2700 to 4900 ft.), occupying an area of 290.45 sq.km. (112.14 sq.mi), with a population of approximately 86,000 people (according to the 2002 census made by government authorities).
Neighboring the city are the mountain slopes of the Serra da Mantiqueira Mantiqueira Mountains range. The climate holds well delimited weather seasons, with heavy rain in the summer months and dry climate in the winter, as a typical "altitude tropical system".
The municipality is privileged in its location, not only for being in an urban network of prosperous middle size cities, but also due to its position with regards to the great capitals of the southeast: Belo Horizonte (445 Km / 277 Mi), São Paulo (261 Km / 162 Mi), and Rio de Janeiro (318 Km / 198 Mi).
The city is a center with direct influence over 14 other municipalities of the region, polarizing 48% of the population of the south of Minas Gerais and 6% of the population of the state.
The local economy is based on industry and agriculture. There are industries of autoparts, fiber optics, textile, electronic components, helicopters (Helibrás), and military weapons (Imbel).
In agriculture most of the production is coffee, banana, potatoes in the vicinity of Maria da Fé city. There are a large number of farms around the city too.
Itajubá is very famed by the large quantity of choirs it have.
In the beginning of the XIX century, the region was mostly occupied by native-brazilians, the Puri-Coroados. In January of 1819, a priest (father Lourenço da Costa Moreira) moved to the parish of Delfim Moreira (known at that time as Soledade de Itajubá). The place was deserted, since it was just a small village in the middle of the woods of the Serra da Mantiqueira, far away from a river.
Father Lourenço told the people in the settlement that its topography was unfavorable to its development. He invited them to move the village to a place closer to the Sapucaí River, down the mountains.
About 80 families accepted the invitation and, on the morning of March 18, 1819 they moved. The next day Father Lourenço celebrated the first catholic mess in the new location. The new Itajubá was founded. After comparisons of topography had been made, part of the population decided to build a new church. Father Lourenço then gathered the people and they moved the old church's pictures and items to the new church.
The name Itajubá means, according to historians Geraldino Campista and J. Armelim Bernardo Guimarães, "water that falls on the rock" or "waterfall". There are several small waterfalls in the vicinities of Itajubá.
The town is also known for the Federal University of Itajubá, which has courses of computer science, mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering, business administration, and physics, among others, being considered one of the most important centers for research and development of technologies in the southwest of Brazil.