Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna, Rome

Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, in Rome, or the Spanish Steps is a stairway of 138 steps, built between 1723-1726, which run from the Piazza di Spagna up to the Piazza Trinità dei Monti and the 16th century French church of Trinità dei Monti above (1502). The Scalinata is the widest staircase in Europe. At the foot of the steps is the Fontana della Barcaccia – Fountain of the ugly boat also called the fountain of the broken boat – which was built in 1598 on the orders of Pope Urbano VIII to commemorate the terrible flood which occured that year on the River Tiber. The steps and the square take their name from the Spanish Embassy which used to be here and they were actually built by the French and used as access to the French church above.

The Via dei Condotti and the Via dei Babuino lead up to the Piazza di Spagna, these two streets are the most glamorous in Rome with shops such as Gucci, Valentino and Prada making it a wonderful place to go shopping or even window shoppping!

There are some good views from the top but turn left and go past the Villa Medici and the park Villa Borghese to get even better and more far reaching views.The steps themselves are adorned with the brilliant colours of azeleas in springtime and there is a 19th century crib on the first ‘landing’ during Christmas time, there is also a fashion show held here once a year in the summer. The steps are always crowded but take note, eating on the steps is strictly forbidden.

At 26 Piazza di Spagna is the house where the English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821, this is now a museum.

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