Time Out Rio de Janeiro

União da Ilha

Sunday 10 February, 1am

Beija Flor | Grande Rio | Imperatriz Leopoldinense 
Inocentes de Belford Roxo | Mangueira | Mocidade | Portela
Salgueiro | São Clemente | União da Ilha | Unidos da Tijuca | Vila Isabel


In 1953, a group of friends from Ilha do Governador looked at the various disparate blocos and small samba schools that occupied the little island's Carnival efforts and decided that it needed one figurehead to represent it, and so União da Ilha was born. Historically the costumes have always been slightly (only slightly, this is carnival) less ludicrous, enabling the wearers to interact better both with the music and the crowd, making it one of the most popular of the schools across the years. The island may never have won the title, but some of its theme tunes such as 1977's Domingo and Bom, Bonito e Barato in 1980 remain some of the most enduring of all time. União da Ilha, Estrada do Galeão 322, Ilha do Governador. Rehearsals Tuesdays 8pm & Saturdays 10pm.


  • Founded - 1953
  • Titles - none
  • Colours - Blue, red and white
  • Theme - The life and work of Vinicius de Moraes
  • Queen - Bruna Bruno
  • Last won - Never (8th last year)
  • Fact - Last year's parade saw Ilha representing England as hosts of the 2012 Olympic Games and previewing the handover of that honour to Rio. Among the presentations was a tongue-in-cheek look at royal protocol, a homage to Elton John and Amy Winehouse and a huge pirate ship commanded by Sir Francis Drake.
  • Chances - 250/1 (longshot)

Words by Doug Gray
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