The single most emblematic feature of Livraria Lello takes centre stage inside: the iconic staircase. "Whoever walks through the room will see the staircase, which is a surprisingly attractive piece, due to the apparent lightness that conceals the audacity of its conception. You feel the desire to climb it and you feel the fear that your weight might bring it down", as described in the Livraria Lello & Irmão Catalogue, published in 1930. A description that still remains very much up to date!
Today, visitors also feel the desire to record such moments in photographs... There are now thousands of photographs of our staircase that multiply through digital channels, perpetuating a ritual repeated by visitors and readers from the four corners of the world.
Did you know...
The staircase at Livraria Lello was built in reinforced concrete and not in wood as you might think at first glance. This was one of the first staircases of its kind in Portugal and it is because of its concrete structure that it is so strong and so safe despite its delicate appearance.
During the deep restoration works carried out between 2017 and 2018, the signature of Francisco Xavier Esteves, the engineer responsible for the Livraria Lello project, was discovered at the base of the staircase.
The staircase was originally brown and only in 1993 did it take on the colour for which it is today known. At that time, there was ongoing restoration work and the staircase was, due to the constructor's mistake, painted crimson. Before the mistake was undone, the sculptor Master José Rodrigues saw the staircase and was delighted with the new colour, which has remained ever since.