Spanish Steps

Piazza di Spagna

The piazza, church and famous Scalinata Spagna (Spanish Steps) have long provided a gathering place for foreigners. Built with a legacy from the French in 1725, but named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See (which is still located in the piazza), the steps lead to the French church, Trinità dei Monti. In the 18th century the most beautiful women and men of Italy gathered here, waiting to be chosen as an artist’s model. In May each year the steps are decorated with pink azaleas. lf you can’t manage the steps there’s a lift to the top outside the Spanish Steps metro station. It might look like the perfect spot for a picnic, but don’t get too enthusiastic: you are not allowed to eat while sitting on the steps. The municipal police who patrol the area can be quite strict, and transgressors can be fined. lt’s all aimed at keeping the steps clean after a major restoration in 1995-96.
In the piazza is the boat-shaped fountain called the Barcaccia, believed to be by Pietro Bernini, father of the famous Gian Lorenzo. The Viale della Trinità dei Monti at the top of the steps leads to the Pincio. Half way along the road on the right is the Villa Medici, perhaps Rome’s best piece of real estate with undoubtedly one of the city’s best views. The palazzo was built for Cardinal Ricci da Montepulciano in 1540. Ferdinando dei Medici bought it in 1576 and it remained his family’s property until Napoleon acquired it in 1801, when the French Academy was transferred here…

Did you know? From the Spanish Steps can be reached by ascending the staircase, the panoramic terrace of the Pincio, where you can enjoy one of the most impressive views of the city.