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Rome Sights to See - The Spanish Steps

Though the name may not be entirely accurate (they were built by the French), the Spanish Steps, or Spanish Stairs, of Rome deliver true delight to visitors of any nationality. Some will say, "Oh, they are just stairs". But, as any visitor to Rome knows, it is not just that they are a way to get from the Villa Mèdici to the Piazza di Spagna  After all, it's how you get there that counts as much as the destination, and few ways are as famous as the Spanish Steps..

Constructed between 1723 and 1725 the Spanish Steps, or Scalinata di Spagna, are 137 steps arrayed near the Piazza di Spagna - a triangular outdoor plaza and one of Rome's most frequently visited tourist destinations.

These dark, lovely steps, elegantly winding up a moderate graded hill, connect some of the most active and delightful areas to be found in Rome. In addition to being a way between sights to see in Rome, they are beautiful to see all on their own. A pleasure anytime of year, they are especially wonderful in Spring when the city festoons the area with azaleas from its many municipal greenhouses.

Then, they are alive with flowers, people and the hint of the warm summer to come. In Summer, Rome can be hot, in the mid-80s, the heat lingering even into late October.

Nearby are some of Rome's most upscale boutiques and dozens of restaurants, shops and sidewalk cafes. The steps themselves used to be a favorite place to rest and have a small lunch, though that is now forbidden.

Naturally, Rome being Rome, that particular law is often ignored.

At the bottom of the steps is the La Barcaccia fountain (Fountain of the Old Boat), one of Bernini's many great outdoor works in the Eternal City. In the center is a sculpture of a ship that may have been designed by his son, Gian Lorenzo. Commissioned by Pope Urbano VIII Barberini in 1627, the water flows outward through "leaks" in the ship.

While you are at that end, stop in and see the Keats-Shelley Memorial House. Then have something cool to drink in one of the numerous bars before starting your climb.

As you travel up the landmark, you will find three large flat areas on which to rest and people-watch, shop or eat. At the top, be sure to look back and admire the stunning view before continuing on to the Church of Trinta dei Monti.

More formally known as the Santissima Trinita al Monte Pincio, its construction began in 1502 but continued for almost two centuries. Built in the late Gothic style, the facade is neo-classical. Outside there's an obelisk, one of Rome's many instances of this Egyptian-style sculpture, first brought to Rome around the 3rd century AD.

Only a couple of blocks away is the infamous Via Veneto where many an Italian girl, and mature woman, has been ogled and pinched in the 1950s. Today, the area is tamer but no less interesting. It is full of shops, restaurants and beautiful examples of Rome's architecture, old and new.

No visit to Rome would be complete without visiting this landmark of Rome. Though created by the French, and named for the long-gone 18th century Spanish Embassy to the Vatican, the Spanish Steps is an international delight to all.

Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions and Things to do in Rome - The Spanish Steps

Rome the Eternal City



Page Created 2:55 PM Friday 12/2/2011