THE PANECILLO AND THE WINGED VIRGIN
The entrance time inside the monument is: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., from Monday to Friday. Saturdays and Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00
Miller s/n Centro Histórico
The hill which overlooks the Old Town, topped by a huge winged aluminium Virgin, provides one of the finest viewpoints of the city.
One of the first sights visitors notice when arriving in Quito’s Historic Center is the vision of a winged statue atop a hill to the south. This is the city’s guardian and protector, the Virgin of Quito, crushing the serpent beneath her feet from the hill known as the Panecillo, or Little Loaf of Bread, in Spanish. They also know it as largest aluminum monument in the world, and it offers a sumptuous view, at almost 10,000 ft above sea level, of the north, south and center of the city.
The structure is a replica of Bernardo de Legarda’s winged, dancing Virgin Mary, to be found on the main altar of the church. The interior of the sculpture displays photos of its construction, while you can also climb to the top for great panoramic views of colonial and modern Quito.
The south side of the Panecillo hill overlooks the ever-growing city, and is an area of particular interest to archaeologists. Excavations carried out here have unearthed two structures as well as remains of pottery, thought to be from pre-Inca and Inca ancestry.
It’s not safe to walk up to the Panecillo hill, so take a taxi instead. On the northern slopes, a bar-restaurant called Pim’s is an unbeatable spot for an early evening cocktail with a splendorous view of Quito’s illuminated historic heart.