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Rome's Best  Piazzas, Fountains and Monuments

 

 

 

  

 Rome's Best Piazzas, Fountains and Monuments

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The Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna

           The Spanish Steps at night

Note -  The Spanish Steps will be renovated during a period spanning 2015-2017.  Currently the church at the top of the Spanish Steps (the Trinita dei Monti) is hidden behind scaffolding and sheathing while it is being restored).

The Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna  lead uphill to the church Trinita dei Monte. Known formally as the Scalinata della Trinita, the "Steps" are one of the most scenic and  popular meeting places in Rome.  In May, the steps are adorned with azaleas and are extraordinarily beautiful.  It is rare to find a time when the Spanish Steps are empty, so expect large crowds on the Steps and in the Piazza.  Although the Spanish Steps are beautiful at night, we recommend that you avoid this area in the late evenings.

Inside view of the church  Trinita dei Monti at the top of the Spanish StepsThe steps were built to connect the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican, located in the Piazza di Spagna, with the French church Trinita dei Monti, which is up a relatively steep hill. The Piazza  was given the name Spagna due to the presence of the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican, which remains in the square to this day.

The "Steps" were added in the 18th century, a time when the House of Bourbon ruled in France, Spain, Naples and Sicily.  The 138 Spanish Steps are known for their width, size and impressive architecture.

The Trinita dei Monti church at the top of the hill dates from the 16th century and features a single nave with several side altars.  The Sunday mass is in French.

In addition to its well-known attractions, there are several shops and restaurants (including one serving waffles) in the Piazza, but prices can be fairly hefty due to the popularity of the area.  Adjacent to the Piazza are several streets where the shopping is quite good.

 
The fountain at the center of the Piazza (in a line with the foot of the Spanish Steps) is the  Fontana dell Barcaccia, a shallow fountain that is shaped like a boat to commemorate  flooding by the Tiber in the 16th century. The fountain's plans called  for a it to be both small and low because of the  limited water pressure then available in the area. The Fontana is attributed to Pietro Bernini, father of the famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose works adorn much of tourist Rome.

Just to the right of the Steps, as you look up to the Trinita dei Monti, is the Keats- Shelley House commemorating the famous writers who once lodged in the building.  The Piazza was a magnet for famous writers and poets of the 18th and 19th centuries and this is the house where Keats died of Tuberculosis in 1821.  The building serves as a modest museum dedicated to showing you how the Keats and Shelley lived during their sojourn in Rome.

Further down the Piazza is the Column of the Immaculate Conception, erected in the mid-19th century and capped with  a statue of the Blessed Virgin.

          Looking down the Spanish Steps to the Piazza Spagna  

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