Spanish Steps in Rome
The Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square) is connected to a French church (Trinità dei Monti) on top of the hill via a long staircase, the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, better known as the Spanish Steps. The idea of connecting the church with the square below originates from the 17th century, when the French also planned a statue of King Louis XIV of France at the top of the staircase.
Papal opposition caused the plans to be shelved until 1723, when the monumental staircase was built without the statue. Pope Innocent XIII appointed the Italian architect Francisco de Sanctis. He presented a design that satisfied both the French and the papacy. The elegant staircase consists of 137 steps over twelve different flights. It has an irregular albeit symmetric structure. It is especially beautiful in May, when it is decorated with flowering azaleas. The steps are usually very crowded; it attracts tourists as well as locals who use it as a gathering place.
In front of the Spanish Steps stands the Fontana della Barcaccia, a rather sober but elegant looking fountain commissioned by pope Urban VIII and designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Bernini’s design, which shows a flooded boat at the center of a basin, was inspired by the flooding of the Tiber in 1598, when a small boat stranded here after the water subsided.
The Trinità dei Monti is a beautiful French church located on a hill overlooking the small piazza della Trinità dei Monti. From this square, you have an nice view over the city. Its location on top of the Spanish Steps make the Trinità dei Monti a well-known landmark in Rome.