Piazza di Spagna - Spanish Steps, Rome

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Piazza di Spagna

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    Piazza di Spagna

    by mindcrime Written Mar 20, 2011

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    Piazza di Spagna by night
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    Piazza di Spagna took its name from the time that the site was Spanish territory back in the 17th century when the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See was located here.

    At the bottom of the spanish steps you can see Fontana della barcaccia(fountain of the old boat ) (pic2) which is nice baroque fountain and has a shape of half sunken ship. It was erected in 1627, 29 years after a flooding of Tiber river that caused the flooding over piazza di Spagna. There was a boat left there when the water withdrew so they made Pietro Bernini and his son made the fountain inspired by that.

    Spanish Steps(Scalinata Della Trinità dei Monti ) must be the most popular meeting point in Rome among locals and tourists. It is always crowded day and night, especially by young people that can spend hours on the steps with a beer in their hands and countless of tourist trying to take romantic pictures although they know it’s impossible with so many people around :) From this spot starts via Condotti, the famous street which is full of expensive clothe stores and boutiques, with people come and go non stop but you cant imagine how packed it was in christmass period during the evenings. Watch out for pickpockets.

    The wide staircase was built by Francesco de Sanctis in 1725 with a terrace in the middle to enjoy the view. Pic3 shows the view from the upper terrace, Rome lies in front of you…

    At the top lies Trinita Dei Monti, a beautiful French church that was built in 1585 with two bell towers. If front of the church is another obelisk(pic4) that was erected in 1789 by Pope Pius VI, it’s a small scale copy of the obelisk you can see at Piazza del Popolo. We walked inside the church and took a picture of the interior(pic5) but didn’t stay long to check the paintings because they were people praying at that time and they wouldn’t understand the VT excuses I guess… :)

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    The Spanish Steps -- Sweeping You Up, Up

    by Lacristina Updated Feb 14, 2006

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    Spanish Steps-beautiful despite a cold rainy night

    The Spanish Steps -- that incredibly sweep of architecture, lifting you from the Piazza di Spagna up, up to the extraordinary silhouette of the twin towers of Trinita' dei Monti (Trinity of the Mountains) and one of the 12 Egyptian obelisks you'll find in Rome (plus one more in the Vatican).

    A twist of fate and nomenclature that they are named the Spanish Steps. Actually, it was the French who built them, to ease the way up to the French Church. But the Spanish Embassy used to reside at the bottom, hence the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. I never tire of walking up or down the steps (really!). They are beautiful at all times of day, all weather, even a cold rainy evening in February. Notice the three wide landings - reflective of the church they ascend to.

    At the bottom, the famous fountain, La Barcaccia -- translation, sort of an old, ugly or useless boat -- by Bernini, either the dad, the son, Gian Lorenzo, or both. See how it seems to be sinking? Brilliant use of available resources, as the aquifer which is the source for the fountain delivers very little water pressure -- so no chance of a showy spray like the Trevi. Note the coat of arms - The Pope's hat (or rather, the crown, I guess) and Barberini bee of Pope Urban VIII.

    At the top of the steps you'll have a wonderful view, but you are just a few minutes away from an even more spectacular view from the Pincio Hill at a far corner of the Villa Borghese. As you are facing the church, turn left. As you approach the park, take the ramp up to the prominent overlook (overlooking Piazza del Popolo, but so much more!)

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    Spanish Steps Spring Festival - Stolen Azealeas?

    by icunme Written Aug 30, 2006

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    Yep - these are the plants that were stolen - ALL

    You will not believe this - all these huge azealia plants that lined the Spanish Steps were stolen (Wednesday, June 7, 2006) sometime between 3 and 5 a.m. - I was shocked -- my nephew who is Italian said it was a wonder they did not steal the steps!!
    The Piazza was was under construction for awhile and now back in beautiful shape. They didn't get the Spanish steps decorated in time for Easter but here it is in full bloom in May and for Festa della Primavera (Spring Festival). We attended Mass there at Trinita dei Monti on Easter - hardly anyone there at Mass the throngs of people crowded St Peter's - the church facade is still undergoing rennovation. But, as of April 21 new azaelia plants covered the center and both right and left sides. Rome is showing her colors - lots of light rain and warm sunshine helped the season's greenery - so, spring has spung. Will keep this tip updated as we're there often.

    Photos and reference text by permission of Roberto Piperno for non-commercial purposes only.

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    The Spanish Steps (Italian: Scalinata della Trinit

    by mallyak Written Aug 27, 2008

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    A masterpiece of the XVIII century, the square, with its irregular shape, extends itself at the feet of Pincio hill; on top of it the French Church Trinita dei Monti (1502) is located.
    The square and the church are connected by the monumental Spanish steps, built between 1723-1726 (designed by Francesco de Sanctis).
    The Spanish steps, once a year in the summertime, host a famous fashion show, and they are used as a catwalk.

    On the square we find the Barcaccia Fountain, built in 1598 by order of the Pope Urbano VIII to commemorate the disastrous flood caused by Tevere river the very same year.

    The most glamorous Rome streets lead to Piazza di Spagna (via Condotti e via del Babuino).
    The area around Piazza di Spagna is where to find the most prestigious boutiques such as Prada, Valentino, Gucci etc. It is an ideal starting point for your shopping in Rome

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    You can not leave Rome without seeing the Steps

    by jmhenry1123 Written Sep 28, 2004

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    Spanish Steps

    Like the Colisseum and St. Peter's a trip to Rome is incomplete without seeing the Spanish Steps.

    Early in the morning the steps are relatively empty which makes for a good photo op. Even better when it is raining slightly. Later in the day the steps are filled with Romans and tourists alike. Beware of the Rose vendors though. They are more like pests. Also the guys with polaroid cameras.

    Beautiful at any time of the day, except L'Oreal is really spoiling it as they do some repairs on Trinita dei Monti.

    Kill two birds with one stone, see the Spanish steps and piazza di spagna, then stroll right into Prada on Via Condotti

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    Piazza di Spagna

    by mallyak Updated Aug 27, 2008

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    This beautiful piazza has been the destination of foreigners to Rome for centuries: most came as pilgrims and arrived in the north part of the city before finding lodgings. It was Pope Leo X who, from Piazza del Popolo (the first piazza inside the walls of Rome coming from the north), constructed the three roads leading south in the form of a trident across the Campo Marzio. The easternmost is Via del Babuino, Baboon Street(!), that leads directly to Piazza di Spagna.
    At the bottom of the Spanish Steps is the Piazza di Spagna or Spanish square. The long, triangular square is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. In the 17th century, the area around the embassy was even considered Spanish territory.
    The area around Piazza di Spagna is where to find the most prestigious boutiques such as Prada, Valentino, Gucci etc. It is an ideal starting point for your shopping in Rome.

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  • Go Window Shopping (unless you have money)

    by whimsyraj Updated Apr 6, 2005

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    The Spanish Steps

    Spanish Steps: Ah to be rich. The Spanish steps is known for its shops; great shops. If you hunt hard (I mean really hard), you'll find bargains. This is the neighborhood of Cartier and Louis Vutton . Beautiful clothes (unique designs), beautiful jewelry, lots of people (ladies...guys on the steps will flirt with you).

    Oh and of course, see the steps as well. :-) When you make it to the top of the stairs (it isn't like the steps of the Duomo in Florence where you need a medic by the time you get to the top), there is a church. A great place to stop and rest and if you are so inclined, pray. There are some interesting works of art in the chapel and the view is spectacular from the top.

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    Villa Medici

    by alza Updated Aug 11, 2010

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    Cannonball at Villa Medici
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    At the top of the Spanish Steps you reach Trinità dei Monti and a whole other perspective opens up.
    Villa Medici houses the Académie nationale de France and was originally meant to bring French artists into contact with classical art, a bath of culture I guess. That mission probably still applies.
    I enjoyed my visit there, there's a feeling that art is indeed alive and well. And the gardens are wonderful.

    During this last visit to Rome, I focussed a lot on fountains. There's a fountain with a story in front of Villa Medici (see pics.)

    Have you heard the beautiful music by Ottorino Respighi, Fountains of Rome? It's part of a trilogy, the other two are Pines of Rome and Roman Festivals. I don't know Roman Festivals but grew up with Respighi's Fountains and Pines of Rome... I was happy to get a photo of the fountain in front of Villa Medici because Respighi was inspired by that fountain and three others for his work. In fact, Respighi was also inspired by the pines nearby for his Pines of Rome, and I got a photo of them too.
    The happiness I felt that day at Trinità dei Monti comes back in swift rushes now, when I see those photos.

    The fountain at Villa Medici is made of two Roman basins and was designed by Annibale Lippi in 1589. It's a beauty, worth climbing the steps and spending time nearby.

    The ball from which the water sprouts is a later addition. It's a ball fired by Queen Christine of Sweden from Castel Sant'Angelo towards Villa Medici, to test the cannons of the fortress (imagine that!)

    This site is known for its view and has been the subject of many paintings in earlier centuries. I saw some of them in an old illustrated book on Rome at the "bouquinistes" by Terme di Diocletianus and Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (near Viminale.)

    The road leads to the Pincio Hill where you have a fantastic view on Piazza del Popolo but I turned before that and walked into Villa Borghese, which is no cause for regret either.

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    A small step for Spain, but a big step for Rome...

    by Henrik_rrb Updated Dec 19, 2007

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    Spanish steps
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    Again one of the most popular spots in Rome. The Spanish steps got it’s name in 1723 in honour of the Spanish Embassy, even if that wasn’t a popular decision for France. This because the steps, that leads up to the big church Trinita dei Monti, are financed by money from France…
    It’s a very popular meeting-point for both roman and other people, which sometimes means that it’s too crowded. I for sure wouldn’t decide the Spanish steps as a meeting point with a friend, since it must be easier to not find the friend that actually find him/her there…
    But I do advice you to go there, since it’s a really nice place, perfect for people-looking, some relaxing or to get a perfect view over Rome.
    Just ran up all the steps – and you’ll probably be dead… Instead go up slowly, watching out for all tourists that are sitting everywhere, and then take a look at the view when you’re up at the top.

    At the bottom of the steps is a huge piazza, wellknown for centuries for it’s luxury fashion-shops. Can’t say I’m that thrilled by their prices, but it could always be nice to just look around.
    There is also a big fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia, which is monument of a leaking boat. Made by Pietro Bernini, or his son, the more famous Gianlorenzo (see more at Villa Borghese). The water in the fountain should be drinkable, but since I’ve never actually tried it (always buy bottles with water in Rome, the tapped water tastes… well, not so good… It should be safe to drink it from the fountain, even if I’m not sure though…

    UPDATE december 2007: Much less people in the winter evening for some reason... :) Was a nice view over Rome from the top, but actually quite cold to stay there for a longer time.
    The stairs aren't the impressive without all the flowers either, and my poor friends who visited Rome for the first time were heavily disappointed about the Spanish Step.

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  • GracesTrips's Profile Photo

    Spanish Steps in the Piazza di Spagna

    by GracesTrips Written Jun 17, 2011

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    You immediately notice the beautiful, fushia azaleas in pots. A magnificent church is located at the top of the steps. If you go early in the morning like we did (around 8:30am), not many people are there and it is a beautiful scene as the morning sunlight hits the street and the horse carriages are preparing to give rides for the day.

    We went into the church, Trinità dei Monti, and there was an early morning service going on. The music was like a Latin chant as words were spoken and the chanting was sung. It was chilling to listen to. No musical instruments and the echo of the voices from the acoustics in the church were amazing. I could listen to this the entire day by after 10-15 minutes, it ended.

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    No picnic

    by goodfish Updated May 15, 2013

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    This nod to Spain in the capital city of Italy is traced to the 1700's when the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See had his embassy here. The square at that time was considered Spanish territory: wander into it unawares and you could find yourself an (unwilling) member of the Spanish military. The Spanish Steps? Not built by Spain. The church you see at the top (Trinita dei Monti) was founded by the French in the 1495, and funding from France built the 138 steps to connect the church with the piazza in 1723-25. Here also is the house where poet John Keats died, and a fountain (Fontana Della Baraccia) attributed to either the elder or younger Bernini.

    There's a law about not eating on the steps. As that's mentioned in every single guidebook I've seen it must be a real bee in someone's bonnet: not a place to bring your panini. Combine a walk-through with visits to Piazza del Popolo, Villa Borghese, Quirinale and Trevi Fountain as they're all roughly in the same area. And while this thing seems to be on every single tourist's must-do list, it's really no more than a stop en route to more interesting places. Do drop into the church if you have time and the energy to haul your fanny up all those steps.

    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-architettonici-e-storici/piazza-di-spagna.html

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    Trinita Dei Monti

    by ruki Written Aug 16, 2005

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    Piazza Di Spagna is where the famouse Spanish Steps and The Trinitre Dei Monti begin. Trinita is the one of the most imposing Franciscan churches in the city. From the cupola of the church you have amazing view of the hole Rome. The church is from the 16th century.

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    Spring has sprung

    by travelgourmet Updated Jan 28, 2009

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    BELLA!!!

    See Rome and die. Wow! See the Piazza di Spagna and the Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti (Spanish Steps) in spring (May) and sigh. The blossoms (Azalea boxed plants) take over the steps from top to bottom. It is a sight to behold. Mother Nature showing off.

    A must see for all tourists, from the top of the steps, at the Church of Trinta dei Monti, the view is of Rome. Walk a little at the top to the right and back a couple of blocks and the Via Veneto (La dolce Vita fame) is before you to walk down. Straight in front of you, at the bottom of the steps is the Bernini fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Old Boat). Remember not to eat or drink on the steps themselves. It is against the law. Past the fountain of Bernini is one of the most expensive streets in all of Roma. Why? It is the boutique street of Roma. Designer labels fill the area on and around Via Condotti. The entire area is Bella.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Trinità dei Monti: Trinity on the Mount

    by goodfish Updated Feb 7, 2014

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    This poor church has had a kajillion shots taken of its face but hardy any of what’s behind the front door so here is what that looks like.

    Located in Italy, at the top of Spanish Steps owned by France, this is one confusing piece of real estate. And it’s not really very ancient (late 16th century), fancy or loaded with sculptures or frescoes by killer Italian artists. But if you’re going to stagger up ALL those steps to get a look down at the piazza from the summit, it’s as good a place as any to catch your breath...or have a heart attack within last-rites range.

    What we have here is an unassuming nave with a nicely arched but undecorated ceiling, hint of a screen halfway between, and the requisite side chapels. The chapels are more lavishly decorated with paint, the most notable of which are four frescoes dabbled by a student of Michelangelo’s who employed some of his mentor's sketches. That’s Mike himself peering out at you rather crossly from the right side of Daniele da Volterra’s "Assumption of the Virgin" (not shown here). The furrow in his brow would be even deeper had he known that his pupil would later take on a commission to cover - with fig leaves and drapery - the naughty bits of the master’s Sistine Chapel.

    The rest of the works are unremarkable but a pleasant browse. The church may also be reached from the top, without so much huffing and puffing, from Via Sistina. See this website for visiting info:

    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/luoghi-di-culto-di-interesse-storico-artistico/chiese-cattoliche/ss-trinita-dei-monti.html

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    Piazza di Spagna

    by MM212 Updated Oct 23, 2010

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    Architecture surrounding Piazza di Spagna (Jan 05)
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    The most famous square in Rome, Piazza di Spagna, owes its name to the fact that the piazza was considered Spanish territory for a while during its history. Along with the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti (known as the Spanish Steps in English) it is a favourite gathering spot, day or night, among Romans and tourists alike. The piazza is graced by a Bernini fountain and surrounded by stunning Italianate architecture in the typical ochre colours of Rome. It is also where the famous Via Condotti meets the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately, during high tourist seasons, this area is unbearably crowded and is best avoided!

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