Piazza di Spagna - Spanish Steps, Rome

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Piazza di Spagna

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  • Marpessa's Profile Photo

    Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna

    by Marpessa Updated Aug 22, 2006

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    Not so great advertising above the Spanish Steps
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    To be honest I was a little unimpressed by the Spanish Steps. The piazza was nice, the fountain beautiful, masses of people shopping and sightseeing... I even did the tourist thing and had a picture taken of my friend and I sitting on the steps, but it was still a bit disappointing.

    I think the main reason for this, was that when I was at the foot of the steps, looking up at the Trinita dei Monti, it had a huge advertisement for 'Nike' on it - which really ruined it. Plus I had seen pictures of the steps, with beautiful green plants and colourful flowers on it - but there were none there when I went. It was still cool to be there on the Spanish Steps - but like I said, a little disappointing as well.

    This piazza was named after the Spanish, because this is where the Spanish embassy was in the 17th Century. The square is very nice and picturesque with a fountain just in front of the Spanish Steps. The fountain is called 'Barcaccia', which means 'the boat' and was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the early 17th Century (This was to commemorate a flood of the Tiber that had reached up to this area in 1598).

    If you love shops like Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Fendi, Armani, Versace and Bulgari - then head straight to Piazza di Spagna as they are all in the immediate area! Just remember that this is high-fashion, so there are also extremely (and ridiculously) high prices!

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    Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti

    by MM212 Updated Aug 1, 2009

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    The Spanish Steps (Jan 2005)
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    In the 17th century, the French owners of la Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti, the church towering above the Spanish Steps, decided to provide access from their church to Piazza di Spagna further down the hill. As a result, they created the elegant Spanish Steps, better known as la Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, that have become an important landmark and Rome's favourite outdoor gathering place. As part of experiencing Rome, one must visit the steps on a sunny day, sit on one of the steps and take the time to observe everything and everyone around. A gelato in hand only enhances the experience!

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    The most monumental steps of Rome.

    by breughel Updated Feb 15, 2014

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    Scalinata around 1850 - No tourists, wonderful!

    Best known and overcrowded by tourists is the Scalinata della Trinata dei Monti starting at the piazza di Spagna.

    Twenty years ago I visited the steps in May, best time when there are azalea flowers all over the stairs. I didn't try it again these last twenty years because there are more tourists than flowers on the steps.
    Avoid if you have, even a very slight, tendency to agoraphobia!

    Most tourists call the monument "Spanish steps" what might offend the French because the terraced garden stairs were paid by them as they were a project from Cardinal Mazzarin who had planned to erect at the top an equestrian statue of his King Louis XIV. But the Popes did not like the idea of such statue!
    Finally the 138 steps linked the Bourbon Spanish Embassy (at the Piazza di Spagna) and the Trinita dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the Bourbon Kings of France. The decoration of the steps shows many French royal "Fleur de Lys" emblems.

    The Romans diplomatically call the steps the "Scalinata". I do the same because "When in Roma do …"
    This proverb as such is not from the Romans who spoke Latin, if I remember well, but from the English around 1600 inspired by a letter from St Augustine to bishop Januarius around 390 AD:
    "Cum Romanum venio, ieiuno Sabbato; cum hic sum, non ieiuno: sic etiam tu, ad quam forte ecclesiam veneris, eius morem serva, si cuiquam non vis esse scandalum nec quemquam tibi."
    I presume no translation is needed.

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  • ruki's Profile Photo

    Barcaccia Fountain

    by ruki Written Aug 16, 2005

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    This famous fountain located on Spiazza Di Spagna. It was made in 17 century and it’s lively representation of a large boat which is sinking and spouting water from both stern and prow.
    Well, when I saw this fountain at the first, it was looking to small.

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Piazza di Spagna

    by sue_stone Updated Nov 11, 2005

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    Spanish Steps
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    Piazza di Spagna is a triangular shaped piazza in the heart of Rome.

    It is home to one of Rome's top tourist attractions - the Spanish Steps. This beautiful sweeping staircase dates back to 1723.

    The steps are always covered with people, and at some times of the year it is also covered with flowers.

    The view from the top of the steps looking down into the Piazza is excellent.

    The Piazza is also home to a fountain designed by Bernini and plenty of tourists.

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  • tere1's Profile Photo

    Trinità dei Monti

    by tere1 Updated Aug 18, 2006

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    Trinita 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 an nice view over Rome.

    The gothic church with a renaissance facade has two bell-towers. Inside, several paintings decorate the different chapels. Among them are two works by Daniele da Volterra, a pupil of Michelangelo.

    Its location on top of the Spanish Steps and the rosy color make the Trinità dei Monti a well-known landmark in Rome.

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  • tere1's Profile Photo

    Spanish Steps

    by tere1 Written Aug 18, 2006

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    Spanish steps

    The piazza di Spagna is one of the most popular meeting places in Rome. It is also one of the most visually pleasing squares. The combination of a monumental staircase, an obelisk and a rosy church draws photographers to the square.

    The church is connected to the Piazza di Spagna via a long staircase, known as the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti or Spanish Steps. The idea of connecting the church with the Piazza di Spagna originates from the 17th century.

    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 azaleas.

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  • freddie18's Profile Photo

    Stepping & Sitting On.....

    by freddie18 Updated Aug 27, 2006

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    You need to experience the Spanish Steps when you are in Rome. You will regret it if you miss this simple way of exploring the place. These are just steps, but these are in Rome. A good spot to rest, watching tourist alike who are not tired of ascending and descending these staircases. You can see me in the picture on the steps, I was too tired just by going up and down the steps once, but I enjoyed it very much. I was told that at springtime, the stairs are adorned with azaleas which are so impressive. To me, whatever the season is, it is still the Spanish Steps that I always long to visit. What else can you see? When you are at the very top of the steps, you will enjoy the view overlooking the city, the Bernini fountain at the foot of the steps, and of course the famous Piazza Spagna.
    Come and enjoy the Spanish Steps together with the artist and musicians, vendors, lovers and other tourists.

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  • EllenH's Profile Photo

    They really are cool

    by EllenH Written Nov 28, 2004

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    This was the 4th time I was in Rome but the first time I saw the Spanish steps. First I bought two great pairs of earrings at the top, and I love earrings so that was cool. It was a beautiful day and people were hanging out on the steps everywhere. They are pretty, they are FREE, ok thats important when you are on a budget. I had read a warning tip on VT about the "old lady beggars" and I couldn't believe it. Kneeling about 1/2 down the steps was a head down praying, with a cup of course, begging old lady. Then she got up, took her cane, barely able to walk, let alone climb steps, and hobbled up the stairs with her cup held out. I looked at "her" hands and they looked like my 16 year olds and i looked at her feet under her long garb and they were tennis shoes. She had a scarf covering her face except for her eyes. If you couldn't walk would you really choose the Spanish steps as your preferred begging place? I really wanted "her" picture but I lost my nerve so here are the Spanish steps in general instead.

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  • fishandchips's Profile Photo

    Spanish Steps

    by fishandchips Written Jan 30, 2006

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    The Spanish Steps are probably the most walked steps in Rome. There always seems to be a large crowd milling around the Steps and Piazza d'Spana. The steps were named for the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican in 1723 and were built as a link of Piazza di Spagna and the Church Trinita dei Monti. They are located in the northeast of central Rome. Be careful of your items here as, with most heavily touristed places, there is the potential for pickpockets.

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  • melissa_bel's Profile Photo

    Piazza di Spagna

    by melissa_bel Updated Jan 18, 2005

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    Esther and I enjoying the Scallatina

    Well... everybody who comes to Rome for the first time wants to see Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps). Those beautiful staircases dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church, the azaleas (only from mid-April to mid-May), the fountain, the people, the street vendors... it's dizzying. And although beautiful, not my favourite part of Rome. Even during low season, the place is mobbed.
    Although the Trinità dei Monti church and Piazza di Spagna has been paid for by the French, The square has been named after the Spanish embassy to the Pontifical States that was based here.
    To me, the Steps and the square are best approached from the church either coming from Piazza Barberini or the Pincio garden. The Trinità dei Monti is a beautiful, baroque-style church built mainly in the 16th century and designed by Carlo Maderno. It's a great stop to take a break from the Roman sun and look at the painting (search for the "Assumption" from da Voltera where this pupil of Michelangelo painted his master in the scene).. The square and steps were built later by architect Francesco de Sanctis between 1723 and 1725, In front of the church, you will notice many street vendors selling any kind of stuff: painting, jewelry, food and drinks, postcards... Admire the view from the ballustrade and take in the Steps... you'll realize how crowded it is ;o).
    Now, avoid walking on people's hand or feet when going down... It used to be a place for artists and models to be picked up and well... it's still a place to be picked up... To see and be seen. Just give in, buy a gelato and enjoy!
    At the end of the staircase is Fontana della Barcaccia, the Little Boat Fountain. It is not known which one of the Berninis (Pietro the father or Gianlorenzo, the more famous son) created the fountain (maybe they both worked on it). You'll often find lots of people there cooling off. The water is drinkable and it's a good idea to refill.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Spanish Steps

    by Tom_Fields Written Dec 20, 2009

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    The Spanish Steps and Trinitia dei Monti
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    Rome's most famous piazza, or public gathering place, is the Spanish Steps. Francesco de Sanctis designed these steps and the square, which were built in 1723-1726. The church of Trinita dei Monti (1502) stands up at the top, and the Barcaccia Fountain near the bottom. This is where young Romans go to see and be seen.

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  • chiara76's Profile Photo

    Spanish Steps

    by chiara76 Written Dec 6, 2004

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    The Spanish Steps.

    One of the most famous place in Rome.
    Well, I was a little bit disappointed with it, don't ask why, I am not sure what exactly I expected there.

    In 17th century the Spanish Steps were built as a link of Piazza di Spagna and the Church Trinita dei Monti.

    There are a lot of fashion shows on these steps. Apart from it is nice place for meeting for a lot of Rome people and tourist of course.

    One thing you beware there of! There are a lot of pickpockets there, if you are attentive you can see them without any problsm. Just keep your money in front of you not in the backpack on your back.

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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    The Spanish Steps

    by Paul2001 Written May 14, 2004

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    East of the Via del Corsa

    While it did not actually enthrall me to visit the Spanish Steps, most tourist come here to hang out on the steps that lead up to a 16th century church. The Steps are more a place for locals and tourist alike to socialize than an actual attraction. However it does have interesting shopping in the vicinity and this is the only reason I came here more than once. For your information, the reason they are called the Spanish Steps is that the Spanish Embassy is on this piazza.

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  • marielexoteria's Profile Photo

    Spanish Steps

    by marielexoteria Updated Dec 21, 2008

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    The Spanish Steps
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    This is one of the must visit sights in Rome. Sit down in one of the steps and enjoy watching the people, the traffic and the scenery.

    At the top of the steps you will find the church Trinita dei Monti and at the end the Fontana della Barcaccia.

    I visited Rome the week before Christmas, so they had this gorgeous tree with lights that changed color. The tree was sponsored by the embassy of Belize and was called "The Light to Freedom", in honor to kidnapped victims.

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