Piazza di Spagna - Spanish Steps
Piazza di Spagna
The famous Spanish Steps in Rome
The Piazza di Spagna is one of the most popular and busiest squares in Rome. The main square is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, which has its headquarters in the Palazzo di Spagna in the square. A stroll through the busy square and through the adjacent shopping area is a must for any visitor in Rome.
Scalinata della Trinita dei Monti - the Spanish Steps
The famous Spanish Steps with its 135 travertine steps is a work of Francesco de Sanctis. It was commissioned by Pope Innocent XIII in 1723 and completed in 1725. The beautiful staircase is a wonder with its elegant interaction of steps, landings and terraces. The staircase was financed by the French ambassador Gueffier. An annual highlight are the Roman fashion days in July, where models show the latest creations on the steps of the Spanish Steps in moonlight. Visitors should also know that consuming food on the stairs is forbidden by punishment.
Around the Spanish Steps
While the lower end of the Spanish Steps is ends with the Fontana La Barcaccia, the French church of SS Trinita dei Monti is placed at its top. The church was built in the 16th Century by Louis XII and consecrated by Pope Sixtus V. Inside is the tomb of Daniele da Volterra. The giant Egyptian obelisk that rises between the church and the staircase is an impressive sight. The fountain at the bottom of the stairs has the shape and the name of a ship. According to a legend, the Fontana La Barcaccia was built at the instigation of Bernini's father, who wanted to build a memorial for a boat that had broken down at a Tiber flooding here.
Attractions at the Piazza di Spagna
Directly in the Piazza di Spagna is the Palazzo di Spagna, the seat of the Spanish embassy to the Holy See. Diagonally across is the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide which was built in the 16th Century by Pope Urban VIII and the masters Bernini and Borromini. It is now the seat of the Vatican's Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. The ancient column in front of the two palaces depicts the Virgin Mary, at whose feet the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel as well as Moses and David are located. Every year on 8th December, the column is visited by the Pope in memory of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Right at the foot of the Spanish Steps, the Museo di Keats e Shelly celebrates the English poets Keats, Percey, Shelley and Lord Byron.
Surroundings of the Piazza di Spagna
A few metres from the church of SS Trinita dei Monti is the Villa Medici. The prestigious seat of the French Academy dates from the 16th Century. It was built by Annibale Lippi and was soon taken over by the Florentine Medici family and later the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Between 1630 and 1633 Galileo Galilei was imprisoned here. Today's French Academy in support of French artists was established here at the instigation of Napoleon. The garden of the Villa Medici is used for art exhibitions in the summer months.