Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps

Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón) : A Tragic Love Story

Selarón Steps
Selarón Steps cc licensed photo by Rogério Zgiet

The steps of Selarón situated on Rua Joaquim Silvia Selarón Lapa are to Rio what the Spanish steps are to Rome. Beautifully tiled with mosaic tiles and mirror, these 250 steps, measuring 125 metres long, are a true artistic feat requiring years of hard work and dedication.

In order to complete the work of art as it now stands more than 2,000 tiles collected from more than 60 countries were used. Despite its immense beauty the Escadaria Selarón is about more than just an artistic feat. It is a love story that ended in tragedy very befitting the Latin culture of love and tragedy. These steps truly are a must see when visiting Rio.

The story of Escadaria Selarón starts with a Chilean artist named Jorge Selarón who settled in Rio in 1983. After travelling the world and visiting 57 countries, he decided to call Rio home. This artist decided to begin with renovating the steps close to where he lived on a whim as the area was extremely run down and the grey steps an empty canvas for someone with an artistic eye. In the year 1990 Jorge began work on the steps, not having the funds to begin such a project he began to collect old tiles from construction sites and many other places in the area. As he soon ran out of tiles he funded his project by selling his paintings and sculptures. As he continued his work he accepted donations from passers-by and foreigners in order to complete his work. Many times his friends who travelled would bring back tiles that they collected for him from different countries.

Though he was first mocked by the people in the area for his use of greens, blues and yellows, the colours of the Brazilian flag he kept working on his solitary art piece which he called his tribute to the Brazilian people. What started out as an idea turned out to be an all-consuming passion, a labour of love for the country he had come to call home.

The steps soon became a tourist attraction as people came to see the artist working day and night on these steps. The work lasted more than 20 years before his dead body was found on the very steps named after him. Although an official cause of death has not been established it is speculated that he committed suicide brought on by depression.

Take a moment to look at the steps and speculate on Jorge's passion for the Brazilian people.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

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Hours This Week:
  • Monday: Open 24 hours
  • Tuesday: Open 24 hours
  • Wednesday: Open 24 hours
  • Thursday: Open 24 hours
  • Friday: Open 24 hours
  • Saturday: Open 24 hours
  • Sunday: Open 24 hours

Address: R. Joaquim Silva, S/N - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20241-110, Brazil

Map of nearby accommodations:


Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - Orange or Line 2 - GreenGloria10 Minutes

How to get to Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps by Metro

Exit Gloria Station and walk north along Rua da Gloria which becomes Rua da Lapa. When you get to Rua Teotonio Regadas go left and follow it straight to the Selarón Steps which you should now see at end of the road.

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Rated 4.5 out of 5Escadaria Selaron Star Rating

4 Star Rating It's a beautiful piece of art. But most of the time is crowded. I recommend to go early in the mornig, in order to avoid massive concentration of people taking pictures in the base of the stairs where the name is written. And then go up looking for the hidden mosaics, another must in Rio.

Fabricio E. Rambaldi - 16 days ago

5 Star Rating It was a beautiful exhibit of tile art. There is so much to see. Some of the tiles are so detailed that if you go by to quick you'll miss something. Don't wander too far off of those steps because it starts to get a bit shady. Just be very aware of your surroundings down there so as not to get taken advantage of.

Vance Thompson - 19 days ago

5 Star Rating Beautiful work by one man who loved the city so much. It's colorful, interesting, and perfect for some memorable photos. Definitely worth a stop-by. P.S. Many tour guides will say that you shouldn't walk past the halfway point. Heed their advice.

Justin Kim - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Excellent tourist spot. Beautiful staircase done in Rio-style. The people can be pretty dense, recommend visiting early morning to avoid the crowds. The homes on the staircase sell beer, cocktails, water, & souvenirs from their patios. Very unique and worth the trek to the neighborhood. There are several good things yo see near the staircase. Very good souvenir shops along the street at the botyom.

Brandon Radford - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating A beautiful work of art that symbolizes worldwide unity. A collaboration of people from all over the world donating tiles, throughout time, to a local artist help make this stairway and its borders possible. Not only is it colorful and pleasing for the viewer, but the deeper meaning of unity and togetherness resonates as you walk up the stairs. Tourists looking for tiles representing their nation or state, yet all on the same staircase at the same time highlighting that we are more similar than we are different. Well worth a visit!

Karol Gawrych - 2 months ago


Taking a close look at the famous Selarón Steps in Rio de Janeiro

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