Spanish Steps, Rome Overview

Spanish Steps is an area of steps between Piazza di Spagna at the lower part and Trinita dei Monti at the upper. They are a total of 135 steps designed in an authentic baroque style and serve as a perfect place to sit, relax and observe the daily hustle of the city. The steps are decorated with plants and flowers that make it the number one photographed spot in the city. For years, it has acted as a meeting point for people and a platform for artists and performers to display their skills.

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Spanish Steps

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Places to Visit at the Spanish Steps

1. Fontana della Barcaccia or Fountain of the Old Boat

Built by Petro Bernini, father of the legend Lorenzo Bernini, this fountain is located at the lower part of the Spanish steps. The fountain depicts a sinking ship with water running out of the boat and it is based on an old legend. The story goes back to the flooding of the River Tiber in the 16th century when this boat reached this very point from the river.

2. Via dei Condotti

Just where the Spanish steps begin at the base, there is a popular market selling all kinds of luxury brands like Prada, Dolce, Armani and Gucci. Along with the shops, a wide range of restaurants and bars also cater the tourists that visit the Spanish steps. Hence this street is considered to be the most posh area in the city and often remains crowded with the elites.

3. Babington’s Tea Room and Restaurant

Dating back to the nineteenth century, it is a tea room that was setup by two English nobles. The interiors are purely English design, with waiters in traditional attire and serving tea and snacks.

Tips

  1. Do not eat anything at the steps as it is not allowed.
  2. Best time to visit the steps is either in the morning when there is less crowd or in the evening when the weather is pleasant. 
  3. Take a break while climbing the stairs as it can be a bit tiring.

How to Reach Spanish Steps

Nearest Metro: Spagna (line A)

Train: FL3, FL5

Buses: 71, 83, 160, 492

History

The Spanish steps’ construction was initiated in 1723 by an architect Francesco de Sanctis and financed by a French diplomat Étienne Gueffier. After two whole years, it was completed and quickly gained popularity for its unique design and prominent location. The name ‘Spanish’ comes from the fact that the place at the base of the steps is called Piazza di Spagna, which literally translates to the Spanish Square in English. It became a favourite point for photographers and models as the steps provided a perfect background for photoshoots. Various artists also started gathering here to sell their paintings and make live portraits of the people. With heavy crowding by the tourists as well as the locals, the condition of the steps started deteriorating. Several renovation projects were initiated to bring back the beauty of these steps, one in 1995 and one in 2015. Eating food has been banned on the steps to avoid littering.

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