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One of the more famous tourist places to visit in Rome is the Spanish Steps, which are right in front of the Piazza del Monti leading all the way up to the Trinità dei Monti Church.
The Piazza di Spagna Spanish square, which hosts a multitude of tourists, is at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome. This wide space serves as a meeting spot for thousands of people visiting from all around the world.
Designed by the Italian architect Francesco de Sanctis in the early 18th century, the Spanish Steps are over 295 years old. Financed by a French diplomat, there are 135 flights of stairs that make up the spectacular Spanish Steps. There is part of the drainage system that is sometimes confused as an additional step. The Spanish embassy is linked to the hilltop via these steps.
It's also home to the famous baroque fountain, the Fontana Della Barcaccia, or the 'Fountain of the Old Boat', which was constructed by the fabulous Bernini artist Pietro Bernini. This sculpture represents a sinking fishing boat, which is perhaps an image depicted from an old folk legend.
Many significant monuments are present in the streets of the piazza, right at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. These are the Trevi Fountain, the house-museum of the famous English poet John Keats, the classic Babington Tea shop, the shopping streets of Via Dei Condotti, and Via del Corso.
You'll also get to see a plethora of modern fashion houses, like Dior, Bulgari, and Prada, displaying their boutiques right in front of the majestic Spanish Steps. The grandeur of these architectural monuments makes it an ultimate tourist attraction, and the steps serve as the perfect amphitheater for tourists and locals to people watch and take in this stunning area of Rome.
The majestic Spanish Steps gained immense popularity after its feature in the blockbuster movie, 'Roman Holiday', released in 1953. The romantic scene played by the stars Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn on the Spanish Steps captured the hearts of millions. Set in front of the Piazza di Spagna, which was named after the Spanish embassy. The movie fueled tourism from many American viewers, who got an in-depth view of the stairs in Rome and wanted to explore the steps in person.
The 1999 psychological thriller film, 'The Talented Mr. Ripley', starring the handsome Matt Damon, also showcased this masterpiece in Rome. In the 2012 film 'To Rome with Love', the Canadian actress Alison Pill was seen meeting with the character Michelangelo Santoli on the Spanish Steps. The Piazza del Popolo was also featured in the movie.
The film released in 1961, 'The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone' included an apartment right across the streets of the Spanish Steps. Various other films and television shows feature these famous steps and the steep slope, including 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E', 'Everybody Loves Raymond', and 'Gunslinger Girl'.
In 'Everybody Loves Raymond', the first episode of season five showed the entire family enjoying a vacation in Rome and cheerfully climbing up the set of stairs.
The Spanish Steps in Rome connect the Trinità dei Monti Church with the Piazza di Spagna at the base. The steep slope in Rome's city center imparts an amazing sight to the tourists, who spend a lot of time cherishing the baroque beauty.
Designed by the Italian architect Fontana della Barcaccia in 1723, the Spanish Steps represent the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Right below this grandeur lies the Holy See, the Piazza di Spagna, and the Spanish Square. From there, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon are within easy walking distance for tourists. In Italian, the estairs are known as Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, which translates to the stairs leading to Trinità dei Monti.
The famous Roman Catholic church built by the French, Trinita dei Monti Church which sits at the top of the Spanish Steps, looks spectacular and is one of the most visited places in the entire city of Rome. The French people also thought of constructing the statue of King Louis XIV. However, that plan wasn't accepted by the Pope.
The area is also famous for tourists as the English poet John Keats used to live on the right corner of Piazza. After he passed away in 1821, the house was converted into the John Keats Museum, dedicated to his memory.
The spectacular La Barcaccia Fountain is another attractive tourist spot in the Piazza. Pope Urban VIII commissioned the construction of this sculpture in the year 1627. Pietro Bernini, the son of the renowned Italian artist Gian Lorenzo, was the person who constructed and designed the fountain. Its engineering incorporated a half-submerged tub that is oval-shaped. This design is mainly because of the low pressure of the fountain aqueduct, just like we see in the Trevi Fountain. The force of the water is increased with the two edges of the tub on a street level and the many points through which water enters the fountain.
Many tourists also energize themselves with some refreshing tea when in Rome. One nearby tea shop which is worth mentioning is the classic Babington's Tea Room, established in 1896. The English residents, Isabel Cargill and Anna Maria Babington were the founders of the shop. Many people prefer eating lunch in this historical shop, where they are served by waiters dressed in traditional English attire. It's definitely worth a try if you need a break from traditional Italian food and drink.
The splendid architecture of the Spanish Steps, designed by the Italian architect Francesco De Sanctis, along with another architect, Allesandro Specchi, represented the Baroque style. Together, they built the massive steps, and the build was financed by Étienne Gueffier, who was a French diplomat.
This baroque architecture was first adopted by the Catholic Church of Rome in the early 17th century. Originally, this style was chosen as a sign of protest against the Reformation of the Western churches.
The style and design spread throughout different parts of Italy, France, Spain, Bavaria, Portugal, and Austria. The Baroque style showcased both the majestic grandeur and the simplicity of the rich Romans of that era. Much later, the Late Baroque or the Rococco style developed in Central Europe.
Other interesting facts of the Spanish Steps in Rome include the Via dei Condotti, which is probably the most notable street for shopping in all of Rome. The Spanish Steps are located at the heart of the shopping district of Rome. A multitude of expensive boutiques are nearby for tourists to window shop or make purchases, along with many portrait painters selling their bespoke artwork.
Along with this, you can enjoy fast food in the streets of Rome. An array of bars and restaurants with very good service is available here, which will further make your family trip memorable in this historic city. Easy availability of airport transfer and access to the subway station makes it quite favorable for the tourists and the local spectators. The spring season is considered by many to be the best time to witness the splendor of the city. Although you can always try out another season on your next trip if you decide to visit again!
One of the largest parks of Rome, the Villa Borghese, is easily reached from the Piazza di Spagna or upon climbing to the top of the Spanish Steps. Another shopping spot, Via del Corse, is also situated here. The remarkable Fontana di Trevi is only 10 minutes away from the Spanish Steps.
With the death of the French diplomat, Étienne Gueffier, in 1660, his fortunes were used to build the straight flights of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Italian diplomat, Cardinal Mazarin, took over managing the construction of the steps.
After his death, Pope Clement XI held a competition between the artists in order to determine who would complete the construction of the set of stairs. Francesco came out victorious and thus engaged himself with the construction of the Spanish Stairs.
In 1995, the poor condition of the Spanish Steps led to the closing of it for tourist visits. A similar renovation project started on Oct 8, 2015, after which Rome reopened the set of stairs for tourists on Sept 21, 2016.
In order to protect the steps, it is now forbidden to lie, eat or sit on the Spanish Steps. Anyone disobeying these rules can be charged a hefty fine of €250. If any damage is done to the steps during any of these forbidden acts the fine can increase to €400.
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