Climbing the Spanish Steps Between the Piazza Di Spagna
Someone says visiting Rome without seeing the Spanish Steps is like drinking soup without salt. A great metaphor it is, indeed. The Spanish Steps built by French people!
A center of diverse cultures
Even centuries ago the whole area was already multicultural, with 135 stairs, built by French people, connecting different cultures. At the top of the stairs is the French Trinita dei Monti church where later Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See resided, hence the name of the Spanish Steps.
At the foot of the stairs is the Spanish Square. In the Piazza, at the corner on the right as one begins to climb the steps, is the house where English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821, now a museum. In the 19th century it was loved by artists and Grand Tour travelers, especially English people, hence the nickname ‘English Ghetto’. Furthermore, the Fontana della Barcaccia, or “Fountain of the Old Boat” was the work of Italian Pietro Bernini, the father of famous Baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
A great spot for people watching
The first impression of the Spanish Steps of any given tourist is that it is crowded! The wide stairs in the shape of butterfly are a perfect spot to hang out, take pictures, enjoy street arts, and watch people. In the spring the stairs are covered by beautiful azaleas in pots and the architecture is playfully lost beneath a magnificent array of color.
A favorite site of the Media
The Spanish Steps were featured in many movies, with the most famous one being the 1953 film Roman Holiday which introduced the Spanish Steps to an American audience.
Music industry also has its share of including it in the lyrics of songs, such as Bob Dylon’s song ‘ When I Paint My Masterpiece.’
A couple of warnings for travelers
Since the Spanish Stairs is always packed with people, it is a great opportunity for pickpockets. Also, be aware of the ‘String Guys’ who usually approach people in groups of 6 or 7 and offer to do a sleight of trick with string. While you are busy watching one of them, others are busy stealing your valuables.