Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

Location

Spanish Steps is one of the most popular meeting places in Rome located on the Spanish Square (Piazza di Spagna). The long, triangular square is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. In the seventeenth century, the area around the embassy was even considered Spanish territory.

History

The Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square) is connected to the Trinità dei Monti, a French church situated atop a hill, via a long staircase, the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, better known as the Spanish Steps. The idea of connecting the church with the square below originates from the seventeenth century, when the French also planned a statue of King Louis XIV of France at the top of the staircase.

Papal opposition caused the plans to be shelved until 1723, when the monumental staircase was built without the statue. Pope Innocent XIII appointed the Italian architect Francisco de Sanctis. He presented a design that satisfied both the French and the papacy.

Trinità dei Monti

The Trinità dei Monti is a beautiful French church located on a hill overlooking the small piazza della Trinità dei Monti. From this square, you have a nice view over the city. Its location on top of the Spanish Steps makes the Trinità dei Monti a well-known landmark in Rome.

The elegant staircase consists of 137 steps over twelve different flights. It has an irregular albeit symmetric structure. It is especially beautiful in May, when it is decorated with flowering azaleas. The steps are usually very crowded. It attracts tourists as well as locals who use it as a gathering place.

Fontana della Barcaccia

In front of the Spanish Steps stands the Fontana della Barcaccia, an elegant looking fountain commissioned by pope Urban VIII and designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Bernini’s design, which shows a flooded boat at the center of a basin, was inspired by the flooding of the Tiber in 1598, when a small boat stranded here after the water subsided.

Note

Location: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Rome

Nearby sights: Colosseum, Pantheon, Borghese Gallery

Nearby hotels: Portrait Roma, Deko Rome, Villa Spalletti Trivelli

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