There are two versions regarding the construction of the Penha staircase, a 382-step access that takes tourists and devotees to the Church of Our Lady of Penha in the North Zone of Rio. Both stories have endured over time through oral tradition. It is said that in 1728, the Venerable Brotherhood of Our Lady of Penha de França, which became the owner of the site that year, excavated the area and built 365 steps directly into the hard granite to facilitate the ascent of the faithful.

Another version, more widespread and known, tells of the faith of a devotee of Our Lady of Penha, known as Maria Barbosa, who desired to become a mother. Asking the saint for the blessing of pregnancy, the woman promised to have a staircase built to the church, which happened in 1817 when she gave birth to a boy. Almost a century later, in 1913, due to natural wear, the steps became slippery, and the Brotherhood carried out a total renovation of the staircase, respecting its originality but widening it and adding 17 steps.

Attention! Before visiting the site, please check the official website and/or social media of the tourist attraction for hours of operation and ticket information.


Largo da Penha, 19 - Penha
Rio de Janeiro - RJ

+55 (21) 3219-6262

Send by email

Sending message...