Spanish Steps, Rome

Spanish Steps, Rome

The Spanish Steps, or the Scalinata della Trinita' dei Monti, has welcomed visitors to Rome for centuries. The original piazza consists of the area right outside the northern walls; this was expanded by Pope Leo X, who commissioned the three other roads. This led to the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza di Francia (after the Spanish and French embassies).

Climb the three flights of The Spanish Steps and visitors are rewarded with a beautiful view of the churches of S. Carlo al Corso and his majesty St. Peter. The scene is particularly charming in the summer. From the double-bell towered church which marks the end of the steps, one can see flowers of almost every imaginable color. The steps also form an informal stage where street artists, caricature artists and street sellers ply there wares. Many tourists sit on the steps to observe this slice of modern Roman culture.

Near the base of the Spanish Steps is the la Fontana della Barcaccia, which is shaped like a boat and set at street level. This is the story behind it. In 1588, a great floods devastated Rome, when the Tevere overflowed. The damage was incredible (many lost their homes) but when the flood receded the city residents found one of the rescue boats in the mud. It became a symbol of survival and the resiliency of the human spirit and inspired the great Peitro Bernini and his son Gian Lorenzo to build a fountain that shape.

At the south of the piazza is a column dating back to 1856, which commemorates the Catholic belief of the Immaculate Conception. The Virgin Mary is depicted with the prophets Moses, David, Isaiah and Ezekiel. On the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, the Pope visits this monument. The pope comes here every year on December 8th to celebrate the Immaculate Conception.

Other architectural must-sees are the facades created by Gianlorenzo Bernini and his rival Francesco Borromini. Tourists marvel at Berniniís famous angels and Borrominiís interesting combination of soft curves with straight lines and windows of different shapes. Other streets feature Berniniís famous angels. Even the McDonaldís has been designed by Ignazio Signoriello to meld into this beautiful ancient architecture.

Spanish Steps, Rome