Spanish Steps, Rome
The Spanish Steps is way overrated - it's just a stairway with zillions of tourists sitting all over them. After seeing lovely photos of these "flower-covered" steps, which lead up to a church, and wracking my brains out to get there, I was quite disappointed.
True, I was there in December, on a day that was overcast after many days of pouring rain, but somehow, after all the hype, I was expecting more. There was not a flower in sight and there was some kind of pseudo-ancient brown shack sitting on the landing, probably in preparation for a Christmas performance or creche scene.
According to the guidebooks, counting the steps is considered a "fun" thing to do, because everyone comes up with a different number. I don't know about it being fun, but I certainly came up with a different number. There are supposed to be over a hundred, but I only counted 50 or so. Maybe it's because I didn't go up to the top. The landing with the brown barn on it was enough for me.
And, of course, the steps aren't Spanish at all. They were built in the 1720s to link the lower street with the French church of Trinita dei Monti , which sits up on top. The pope had a fit when the French tried to install a statue of Louis XIV up there, so the plan was scrapped. Instead, a rather plain looking fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia, was built at the foot of the steps, designed by Pietro Bernini (father of the famous Bernini).
Unique Suggestions: As you walk along the lane leading up to these so-called Spanish steps (after the Spanish Embassy, Palazzo di Spagna), peer into the windows of the fancy designer stores (Gucci, etc.) that line the road, and ladies - snap photos of the gorgeous, smartly dressed Italian men for your very own Rome pin-up calendar. Oh, and make sure none of those costumed gladiators strutting around the street get into the picture, or they will demand payment.
The Spanish Steps are very popular meeting place in Rome - seems like the whole city is either here or at the Trevi fountain! Its difficult to move in this area.
Unique Suggestions: Well this place is a must see too so I think the best way to approach it is the way Sara took us - up Via Sistina - so that you arrive at the top of the steps and then walk down them to the Piazza below.
if you are here April/May time then the steps are decorated with flowers - that must be so colourful to see.
This area of Rome is for the shoppers amongst you, although you may have to have a large purse to afford a trinket or two from the well to do shops. The Spanis Steps as such are somewhat of a disappointment. I would liken them to standing outside Liliwhites and seeing the mass of people at Oxford Circus.
It would be better if there weren't so many people there. Why they come and sit on the steps is a mystery which I didn't get to the bottom of. If you're on a short timescale in Rome I wouldn't bother with them. Plenty of better things to do.
Perhaps if the Trinita dei Monti weren’t undergoing renovation I might have seen the draw, but I saw very little to recommend with regard to the Spanish Steps. The area is heaving with tourists and touts and is neither particularly impressive nor memorable.
The Spanish Steps. I just didnt see anything spectacular there. The 'oh-so-famous' steps ended with a 'poor excuse of a fountain in Rome' at the end of it and that was it. Pretty sad. People that make $40,000 yr and under cant afford Gucci, Versace, Prada, Louis Vitton etc. I went to the Gucci store to find maybe a shirt with Gucci on it like you can find anywhere for a reasonable price. In the store it was 650,000 lira ($325) and one purse I looked at was 6,000,000 lira($3,000) And this is the famous shopping district where all of those stores are. I was very disappointed because Im always ready to shop for bargains and quality. But not at those prices and no one I know could ever afford to buy from those stores. I just felt like I could've gone to another place worth my while.
Well...I don't know if you could consider this as a 'TRAP' per se...Ok...when we first saw the postcard for the Spanish Steps...we thought it look absolutely gorgeous!! But when we got there they were just that...STEPS! Needless to say we weren't so impressed, and neither were these other tourists whom we bumped into! I mean, I do understand the importance of these steps during the Renaissance...so you should go see the Steps for history's sake....just don't have TOO high of an expectation!
TOURIST TRAP YES, BUT IT COST NOTHING TO SEE, IT'S JUST STEPS. Socialize and unwind in the fountain square down below the steps. The water is drinkable also, so have a sip.
Unique Suggestions: Take a picture on the steps to say you been there, done that. Walk up and back down...sit on the steps and have a conversation. I myself had a smoke and enjoy the scenery
Fun Alternatives: Trevi fountain is the same, but yes I been back again and again....big trap for the beauty and charm