Destination List > Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

Photo by David Völgyes

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The history...

The Spainish Steps climb from its base at Piazza di Spagna to the church at the top, the Trinita dei Monti. Altogether, there are 135 steps.

Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi were the architects who built the stairway from 1723 to 1725. They were chosen because they won the right in a contest in 1717. The idea for the project was originally birthed in the 1580’s by Pope Gregory Xlll. It never came to pass until Sanctis and Specchi made it happen over 140 years later.

Piazza di Spagna at the base contains the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Longboat), built in 1627 to 1629. Legend has it that Pope Urban Vlll arranged for the fountain to be installed when he was inspired by a longboat after the Tiber flood.

On the right corner of the stairs is the house where John Keats, an English poet lived before he died in 1821. The former cardinal Lorenzo Cybo de Mari’s palace is a short ways on down. 

At the stairway’s top ramp is the Pincian Hill where the Villa Medici is.  A manger scene is displayed there at Christmastime.

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Rome, journey on...

Home to over 900 churches and 280 fountains, this historic capital city should not be missed.