According to tradition, Jesus had to climb twenty-eight stairs leading to the throne of Pontius Pilate where He was condemned to death. These steps were later found and brought to Rome in the year 326, where they were known as the Scala Santa. People began to climb these Holy Stairs on their knees praying and meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ.
In 1956 these twenty-eight steps were built for that same purpose. In 1961 relics of many different saints were placed into each step. These relics are no longer contained in the stairs. Many pilgrims today continue the practice of climbing these Holy Stairs on their knees in prayer and meditation leading to the Cross.