Spanish Steps

Scalinata della Trinita dei Monti

The Spanish Steps is actually an enormous Baroque stairway. This architectural landmark is one of a kind, unique and the most beautiful stairway in the Old World; and this is not only tourists’ opinion but also opinion of the experts. The stairway consists of 138 steps that connect Piazza di Spagna with the church Trinita dei Monti on the Pincian Hill. French kings were the patrons of this church, and on Piazza di Spagna there was the embassy of the Spanish kings. French diplomat Etienne Gueffier in his will left 20 thousand scudo to fulfill the project of connecting these two objects by the stair! When Cardinal Mazarin heard about Gueffier’s will, he took a personal interest in the project and demanded to place an equestrian statue of the king Louis XIV at the top of the stairway. According to some sources the Pope was enraged by such an offer and strongly resisted the idea of placing the statue of the French king on the Pincian Hill of Rome. The project was not approved and construction of the Spanish Steps was suspended until the death of the French king in 1714.

Following the competition in 1717 the steps were designed by little-known architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. Construction works were performed between 1723 and 1725. The Bourbon fleur-de-lys and Papal eagle and crown are carefully balanced in the sculptural details of the steps. At the foot of the Spanish Steps there is the similarly-named square with Fontana della Barcaccia. If you go down the Spanish Steps, on the left you will see the Keats-Shelley House in which manuscripts of these English classic poets are displayed. This building is also significant for the fact that John Keats died there.

If you stand with your back to the Spanish Steps, you will be right opposite Via dei Condotti, the most popular place for shopping in Rome. Spanish Steps is not only the popular tourists’ destination but also a significant place for the people from the world of fashion. The Spanish Steps serves as the models' catwalk. The stairway very beautiful in spring when azalea is in blossom. On Christmas the Spanish Steps hosts a special performance and on 8 March Pope lays wreath to the Statue of Virgin Mary that is placed at the top of the Column of the Immaculate Conception. It is a good idea to sit on the steps of this magnificent stairway as the Pincian Hill offers a beautiful panoramic view on the city!

If you stand on the square facing the stairs from the left side there will be a charming cafe called Babingtons Tea Rooms. Tea ceremony aficionados simply cannot go past this place, operating since 1896 when two women, Anne Marie Babington and Isabel Cargill established their tea rooms. It is easier to mention the kinds of tea that this place doesn't offer! If you fall under the charm of their set of teacups with Babington's Tea Room cat symbol, it might be a nice souvenir purchase idea. You will love cosy atmosphere and luxurious interior of this place. For 35 euros you will get an authentic five o'clock tea with a hot teapot, a set of mini-sandwiches, 2 scones with maple syrup and a mixture of cookies. The tea room operates daily from 10 am till 9.15 pm.

There is a fantastic place just a few steps from Tea Rooms - Pompi tiramisu bar (Via della Croce, 82). This renowned pasticceria serves Rome's most celebrated tiramisu from 10.30 am till 10.30 pm (on Saturdays till 12.30 am).

Address: Piazza di Spagna
How to reach: metro Spagna
Coordinates: 41.905963, 12.482659