Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Spagna) in Rome ramp a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and the church Trinità dei Monti above. The monumental flight was built with French funds in 1721 - 1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See, still located in the piazza below, with the Bourbon French church (actually founded in 1495) above. The Spanish Steps were designed by Alessandro Specchi after generations of heated discussion over how the steep slope to the church on a shoulder of the Pincio should be urbanized. The solution is a gigantic inflation of some conventions of terraced garden stairs.

In modern times the Spanish Steps have included a small cut-flower market, a favorite place for eating lunch (now officially frowned upon and rewarded with fines) or picking up a gigolo. The apartment that was the setting for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961) is halfway up on the right. The Spanish Steps were restored in 1995 - 1995.

In the Piazza at the base is the Early Baroque fountain called the Barcaccia ('the ugly boat'), often credited to Pietro Bernini, father of a more famous son.

In the Piazza, at the corner on your right as you begin to climb the steps, is the house where English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821, now a museum dedicated to his memory, full of memorabilia of the English Romantic generation.

At the top the Viale ramps up the Pincio which is the Pincian Hill, omitted, like the Janiculum, from the classic Seven hills of Rome

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