Stairway to romance
The Spanish Steps, or Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, can be found between Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top. The popular attraction consists of 135 steps and leads up to the French-funded church Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti, which was commissioned by King Louis XII and consecrated in 1585. The church at the summit offers fantastic views and is filled with exemplary examples of Manneristic period paintings.
The Spanish Steps were built between 1723 and 1726 and designed by Italian architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. The steps are known to be the widest in Europe and are an iconic Roman Baroque-style urban monument. This masterpiece of architecture showcases ramps and stairs that intersect and break out into a flared fan shape providing a route from the square below up to the church above. Meticulously-kept flowers also adorn the Spanish Steps and are quite the spectacle during the spring and summer seasons.
At the base of the steps, the famous Barcaccia Fountain takes pride of place and recounts the tale of a great flood that is thought to have happened in 1598. The fountain’s main feature is a half-sunken ship that is taking on water over its bows. The Spanish Steps have also been featured in many TV shows and, most notably, in the Hollywood feature films ‘Roman Holiday’ starring Audrey Hepburn, and ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ starring Matt Damon in the title role.
If you don’t like the hustle and bustle of other tourists lingering around the attraction, the Spanish Steps is still a delightful experience to visit as the sun goes down. At this time of day, the romantic attraction offers an arguably more impressive view of the lit cityscape of Rome, minus the crowds.