One of Rio’s most beautiful, sad and mysterious stories of recent times was the death of Chilean artist Jorge Selarón, who decorated a stairway in Lapa with mirrors, mosaics and ceramic tiles.
This labour of love was created over two decades, largely without official recognition. But once fame struck so did tragedy. Selarón, who previously used to drink in the street bars nearby, was found dead on his steps in 2013.
Whether it was murder or suicide is still debated. But visitors can still admire his work on the way up from the live forro and chorinho music echoing through the arches of Lapa up to the bohemian bars and restaurants of Santa Teresa.
NB: don’t walk about at the top of the staircase at night.