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.
We stumbled on the Spanish Steps accidentally in one of our many "where are we now" states -- maybe one of the better ways to explore new places! Coming across the fountain at the base of the steps, we stopped to rest (my daughter is sure our European trip was really Fat Camp, due to all our hiking and climbing) we set our eyes on the stairs and discussed whether we should hike them and see what was up there. Being the adventurous sort, we did. At the top (we survived the climb), we decided it looked more appealing to head to the left (which was uphill, of course), so we continued our exploration. This eventually got us to a point that gave us quite a view of St. Peter's, and then we ended up at Villa Borghese, the largest public park in Rome, which was quite beautiful, and gave us a nice place to stroll, just a pleasant afternoon. All of this was by accident.
In fact called "Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti" (1722) are the wide steps leading to one of the thousands of churches in Rome - Trinita dei Monti. This is a place where, supposedly, citizens of modern age Rome used to rest and have a (long) chat. Seems to me that these days if you count the people on the steps you will find more tourists than actual residents of Rome :) Anyway, this is also a must do: stay a while on the steps, close your eyes and stare into the sun, then open eyes and look at the crowds of tourists.
If you guessed Bernini you are right and wrong. It was the famous one's father, Pietro. This beautiful boat shaped fountain along with the famous Spanish Steps make this one of the "happenin'" places in Rome, particularly in the evening and particularly among the younger set.
To many, Piazza di Spagna is the postcard-worthy image of a romantic Rome. Perhaps in picture, yes, but in reality, it typifies a decaying, dirty city. You don't need bionic olfactory sense to come to the conclusion that the place stinks - and how it does - especially the fountain on the foot of the world-famous Spanish Steps. Someone please do something about this.
The smell is so horrible, it's enough to send a family of English tourists running back to the subway station. I was as usual taking lots of photos, when a couple with their two toddlers arrived. The moment they realized how awful the smell was (very clear with the way they covered their noses), the mom told her brood to quickly pose for the camera ("Let's take pictures, quickly and run" - something to this effect). True enough, after about two shots, the family hurriedly left the place for the subway. It was over in two minutes!
One of my unforgettable Rome experience.
The Piazza di Spagna is probably the most photographed piazza in Rome, or for that matter, in Italy. It combines the twin towers of the church of Trinita dei Monti on top and the harmonious square with its bizzarely shaped fountain below to form one of the most distinctive of Roman scenes. Piaza di Spagna is so called because there has been a Spanish Embassy to the Holy See here since the 17th century.
The cascade of the Spanish Steps is perpetually crowded with visitors day and night. At the bottom of the steps is the fountain by Bernini - the Barcaccia - a half-sunken boat fed by water from the ancient aqueduct Aqua Virgo.
Near what was the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican . Adorned with flowers in May I think but mostly with tourists .
The shops are exclusive around here . Mywife took me into Prada [ armed guard in the doorway ] but there was no way I was going to pay over 1,000 pounds for a briefcase ---- we left quick as I also guessed she was after ANOTHER handbag.
All the designer shops are around here ---increase you credit limits on those cards !
In the 17th century the franch owners of the Trinita dei Monti church wanted to connect the church with the Piazza di Spagne by steps. They wanted to place a statue of the french monarch (Louis XIV) at the top. The pope was not amused. It took untill 1720 when the italian architect Francesco de Sanctis made a design with which both parties agreed. The steps were completed in 1726.
Today it is meetingpoint for tourists. But we were unlucky to visit on a rainy day, and the tourist were there, but the atmosphere was not.
The Trinità dei Monti is a french church located on a hill. From the square in front of the church you have an nice view over Rome.
At the end of the 15th century there was a small chapel on the hill. In 1495 the french king Louis XII commisioned the erection of a new church replacing the chapel. Construction started in 1502 and the church was consecrated in 1585 by Pope Sistus V.
The pinkish colored church has two belltowers, and makes a great picture from the bottom of the spanish steps.
Inside the church are two paintings by Daniele da Volterra, a pupil of Michelangelo.
The obelisk just in front of the church was originally located in the Gardens of Sallust. In 1788 it was moved to its current location. The hieroglyphs are copies of the obelisk on the Piazza del Popolo.
This big square takes its name from the Spanish embassy that is located there.
Piazza di Spagna is crowded every time and is known for the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps). This long staircase was built between 1721 and 1725. It links the square with the church of Trinità dei Monti. At the bottom of the stairs there is a fountain called "la Barcaccia". It is a work by Pietro Bernini and his son, Gian Lorenzo.
How many times did we pass by the Spanish Steps during our week in Rome? and yet I find I only have one photo of them. Mid-June, and the classic Springtime scene of the steps lined with flowers has become just a mass of people, the flowers gone and, this year, scaffolding hiding the facade of the Chiesa di Santissima Trinità dei Monti - somehow the place just doesn't register with me enough to set the shutter finger going. Maybe if I was twenty? thirty? forty/? years younger.
And yet, I bring home from Rome some lovely images in the mind's eye of a different aspect of this little corner of the city. The graceful calm of the cloister of the Trinità, a few quiet moments under the frescoed dome of the church, children playing in a shady garden oblivious of the view of Rome spread out below them. We'd come with a friend to collect her children from their school in the monastery by the church - another world from the crowds just the other side of the wall.
The Trinità has long been a small French enclave in the heart of Rome. The church was built by the French King, Louis XII in 1502 to celebrate his success in the invasion of Naples and, with the agreement of the popes of the time, the church remained under French patronage for the next four hundred years. In the early 19th century it became the Mater church of the French Society of the Sacred Heart and, as such, is held dear by generations of those who were educated by this order around the world. Times change and in 2005 the church and its adacent monastery buildings were handed over to a new order, the Monastic Communities of Jerusalem (Fraternités Monastiques de Jérusalem) a congregation of monks, nuns and lay people with a vocation is to live “in the heart of the city, in the heart of God” . The French government are funding the restoration work that is currently being done and the new order have pledged their continuing commitment to welcome everyone who comes to this beautiful church.
As for the steps themselves, they're very handsome. Reputedly the longest and widest flight of stairs in Europe, they were built in 1725 to link the Spanish Bourbon Embassy and the church at the top to the Holy See on the piazza below. Already the city's favourite place for hanging out and being seen, the addition of the steps to the piazza only added to its popularity - a popularity that continues to this day, with tourists and local lads and lasses cramming the steps at all hours of the day and night. You need to be up very early, or very late, if you want to see the staircase for itself alone.
In front of the Spanish Steps there is a fountain made in 1629 by Pietro Bernini. It really deserves a close look. Useful tip: If you lean to it you can fill bottles with drinkable water pouring from four taps.
The Piazza Spagna with the Scalinata de Trinitá dei Monti (aka Spanish Steps) is surrounded by 18th century buildings and from here are born many important streets each one different in character: Via Margutta for its many painters, Via Babbuino, famous for its antique shops, Via Condotti with designer boutiques and the 18th century Greco Café, Via Borgognona with designer boutiques and haute couture, and last, but not least, Via Frattina, famous for... ehhh... don't know.
In the central part of the piazza there is a fountain, la Fontana della Barcaza, made by Bernini.
The steps themselves is the soul of the piazza. It was constructed in the eary 1700's by F. De Sanctis and it goes from Piazza Spagna to Piazza Trinitá dei Monti, with the Salutius obelisk at the centre.
During May, the steps are filled with azaleias which come from municipal garden houses.
It's one of Rome's most famous meeting points and one that definately should be seen.
The Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the monumental staircase the spanish steps has a nice simple fountain. It is the Fontana della Barcaccia (fountain of the worthless boat) designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
In the southeast part of the square is the Colonna dell'Immacolata (column of the Immaculate conception). It was erected in 1857 to commemorate the dogma of the immaculate conception. The column was found in 1777 under a monastery. It is now topped with a statue of Virgin Mary.
The Spanish steps are a well known meeting place for foreigners, we visited during the day and at night and they were packed full of people both times!
There is a church at the top of the steps, for some unknown reason when we visited it was closed and we couldnt go in, also the front is being restored....so it wasnt much to look at!! Another place to revisit on our next trip!