Spanish Steps

 

Spanish Steps by night

Piazza di Spagna is undoubtedly the most famous square in Rome and takes its name from the historical presence in this place of the Spanish Embassy. The square widens in front of the Pincio hill and has an irregular shape. Is dominated by the majestic and famous stairway of Trinità dei Monti, built between 1723 and 1726 that was designed both by Alexander Specchi  and by Francesco De Sanctis after many discussion over how the steep slope on the side of the Pincio should be urbanized to connect it to the church.

The construction of the first part of the Church of Trinità dei Monti, in Gothic style, started in 1502 by Luigi XII and was consecrated in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V, and in the middle of the century. XVI the church was expanded with the addition of a new building covered by a barrel vault and closed by a symmetrical facade adorned with two towers. It was restored in 1816 by Charles Francis Mazois on behalf of Louis XVIII.

Inside the church an interesting Deposition of Daniele da Volterra, a pupil of Michelangelo.

The church has two bell towers: on a there is a clock and on the other a meridian.

Trinità dei Monti

In front of Trinità dei Monti, towards the end of the eighteenth century, Pope Pius VI erected by the architect Antinori the Sallustiano Obelisk, the penultimate of the great obelisks erected in papal Rome, made in imitation of the Roman Empire Egyptian obelisks

The grand stairway connects the church to the square below is decorated with many garden terraces, which in spring and summer are beautifully decorated with many flowers. The sumptuous, aristocratic stairway, located at the apex of a long road that led to the Tiber, was designed so that approaching the stage effects would increase gradually. Typical of the great Baroque architecture was in fact the creation of long, deep perspectives culminating with monumental backgrounds.

The monumental stairway of 135 steps, was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XIII on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1725, it was realized thanks to French funds of the 1721-1725.
The staircase, restored in 1995, creates a magnificent backdrop, and is a must for every tourist visiting Rome.
At the foot of the stairs, Pietro Bernini – father of the more famous Gian Lorenzo – has not made a fountain that spurts water is overflowing from the forms of a sunken boat: it is the “Fontana della Barcaccia”, considered one of the most original in Rome.

On the right corner of the stairs there is the home of English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821, now converted into a museum dedicated to his memory and that of his friend Percy Bysshe Shelley, full of books and memorabilia of English Romanticism .  On the left corner there is the Babington’s tearoom founded in 1893.

On Via Frattina stands the Palace of  Propaganda Fide, owned by the Holy See. In front of its façade, designed by Bernini (while the front side instead of Borromini), stands the Column of the Immaculate Conception, which was built two years after the proclamation of the dogma (1856).
From the Spanish Steps start some of the most famous streets in Rome: Via Condotti, where you can find the most elegant and most prestigious brands,  a must for the shopping in Rome, Via Margutta, which was once a neighborhood of artists, especially painters ; Via del Babuino, which joins the Spanish Steps to Piazza del Popolo.

Via Condotti

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