Piazza di Spagna is famous throughout the world for its spectacular stairway of 135 steps, designed by Francesco de Sanctis and inaugurated on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1725.
Spanish steps of Rome
The staircase connects the sixteenth-century church of Trinità dei Monti to the Palace of Spain, home of the Spanish embassy to the Papal States. To the right of the steps, a plaque commemorates the Roman house of the poet John Keats, now used as a museum. The fountain at the foot of the stairs is the so-called Barcaccia, built by the young Gian Lorenzo Bernini together with his father Pietro. The fountain depicts a sinking boat.
According to some sources, this work was inspired by the real event of a boat dragged in that point by a flood of the Tiber. Walking around, you can browse through the windows of Via Condotti, famous for its luxury boutiques, enjoy an infusion in the historic Babington’s tea room, located to the left of the staircase, or visit the art galleries of the nearby via Margutta, the picturesque street of the artists.
At the center of the square is the Barcaccia, one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome.
Built in Baroque style by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1627 on behalf of Pope Urban VIII, the fountain takes its name from the characteristic shape of a sinking barge. Not many know that the work was inspired by the flood that caused the overflow of the Tiber river in 1598 and that to compensate for the low water pressure that feeds it was ingeniously designed below the road surface as if it were semi-submerged.
The fountain is one of the favorite destinations for tourists, who stop for a photograph or simply to quench their thirst with drinking water that flows from the bow and stern of the boat.
Recently, on February 19, 2015, the fountain was, unfortunately, the victim of a severe episode of vandalism, by a group of Dutch fans that caused scratches and chipping in various points. And to think that it had recently been completely restored and looked more beautiful than ever!
The monumental steps of Piazza di Spagna is one of the symbolic places of Rome. Built by Pope Benedict XIII between 1723-25, it was inaugurated during the pontificate of Pope Innocent XIII.
Composed of 12 ramps and 135 travertine steps, the staircase also includes several rest areas. In fact in the original project of the architect Francesco De Sanctis, the stairs in addition to connecting the church of Trinità dei Monti to the building of the Spanish Bourbon Embassy, was also to serve as a meeting place.
Its large terraces still welcome millions of tourists and Romans who come here to spend the afternoon or evening. With the arrival of spring then the staircase becomes even more beautiful thanks to the traditional display of the Capitoline azaleas that are exposed for the whole period of flowering.
After you have refreshed yourself at the Barcaccia fountain, go up all the steps of the staircase and look out from the Pincio terrace: the spectacular view of the city from above is unique.
At the top of the steps, you will find the Church of Trinità dei Monti with its twin bell towers. Founded in 1495 by the French, the church has been remodeled several times but still bears traces of the original Gothic style. The frescoes in the internal chapels are the work of Daniele di Volterra, the same artist called by Pope Pius IV to cover the nudity of the Last Judgment of the Sistine Chapel and since then nicknamed “braghettone”.
Church of Trinità dei Monti Tuesday – Sunday: 7.00 am – 1.00 pm | 15:00 – 19:00 Monday closed * During the S.S. Mass is not possible to visit the church: Opening Hours: Weekdays 9:00 am to 11:00 pm/18:30 Holidays 12.30 / 18.30
Keats-Shelley House Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 13:00 | 14:00 – 18:00 Sunday: closed The museum is open on some holidays (Italian and English).
Giorgio De Chirico House Museum 10: 00-13: 00: opening to the public by booking from Tuesday to Saturday and the first Sunday of the month You can book a visit from the official website.
Babington’s Tea Room Open every day from 10:00 to 21:30
PRICES Church of Trinità dei Monti Free entry Keats-Shelley House Full price: € 5.00 Reduced: € 4.00 (for visitors under 18 and over 65) * For the reduced ticket, it is necessary to show an identity document * Free access for children under 6 years old Giorgio De Chirico House Museum Full price: € 7.00 Reduced: € 5.00 (for visitors under 18 and over 65) * Free admission for children under 12 * Tickets will be paid for at the museum on the day of the visit
Things to do in Piazza di Spagna
As you may have already understood, there are indeed things to do and see in Piazza di Spagna!
If you have more time and are hopelessly romantic, visit the Keats-Shelley House, which is right next to the steps.
It is the last home of the English poet John Keats, who died there in 1821 at the age of twenty-five. This museum house contains a rich collection of paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, objects and first editions of the works of Keats, Shelley and Lord Byron, prominent exponents of English Romanticism.
The house also has a rich specialized library that has more than eight thousand volumes to which new titles are always added.
If, on the other hand, you want to take away a whim, for over 120 years Babington’s, an elegant Tea Room in perfect English style, has been located at the foot of the steps.
This hall was founded in 1893 by Isabel Cargill and Anna Maria Babington, as a tearoom and reading room for the many Anglo-Saxons present in the capital. The very nice furnishings recall late-nineteenth-century London with prints, paintings, period furniture and a fireplace that is lit in winter on the coldest days.
Prices are anything but cheap, but if you love the magical English atmosphere and want to indulge in a little luxury, don’t think about it too much and enter it.
If you are an art lover, you could also visit the Casa Museo Giorgio De Chirico in the seventeenth-century Palazzetto del Borgognoni at 31 Piazza di Spagna.
The metaphysical artist lived here for the last thirty years of his life together with his second wife Isabella Pakzswer Far who continued to live there until 1990, the year of his death. The museum, inaugurated in 1998, wants to safeguard the painter’s artistic heritage, hosting many significant works.
The museum can be visited only by reservation and is closed on Mondays and Sundays.
Next to Piazza di Spagna, in the adjacent Piazza Mignanelli in front of the Spanish Embassy in Rome and next to the Propaganda Fide Palace, there is also the famous Column of the Immaculate Conception.
The work, created by architect Luigi Poletti in 1857, is dedicated to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, proclaimed in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, according to which the Madonna is the only human being born without original sin.
The structure is composed of a marble base, on which the column about 12 meters high rests, which supports the bronze statue of the Madonna, by Giuseppe Obici.
The four bronze statues on the base depict Moses, David, Ezekiel and Isaiah and were respectively made by Ignazio Jacometti, Adamo Tadolini, Carlo Chelli and Salvatore Revelli.
If you find yourself here on December 8th, a national day dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, the statue is honored with a garland of flowers in the presence of the Pope who blesses everyone present.
Rome’s Spanish Steps blooms with azaleas
Rome’s Spanish Steps, which link Piazza di Spagna with the church of Trinità de’ Monti, are currently decorated with 300 white and lilac azalea plants, in an annual spring tradition dating back more than 80 years.
The plants were cultivated in the capital’s nurseries at S. Sisto where for around a century 3,000 azaleas of the Rhododenron Indicum variety have flourished.
Once the azaleas have ceased flowering they will be returned to the city nurseries until next spring. More...
Spanish steps Rome hotels
As its name suggests, Hotel Piazza di Spagna is just around the corner from the Spanish Steps, on a charming street surrounded by the biggest names in fashion.
Piazza di Spagna has been in the family for 3 generations and offers a warm welcome and refurbished interiors. Via dei Condotti is just steps from the hotel and you can reach the rest of Rome’s most famous attractions with a lovely walk through the historic center. Spagna is a great choice for travelers interested in shopping, food and city walks.
Piazza Trinita Dei Monti 17, Spagna, 00187 Rome, Italy
Set at the top of the Spanish Steps leading to Trinità dei Monti, Hotel Scalinata Di Spagna offers a rooftop terrace, free WiFi, and rooms with a free mini-bar. The elevator to Spagna Metro Station is 50 m away.
Spanish Steps 0.1 km
Piazza di Spagna Metro Station 0.1 km
Trinita dei Monti 0.1 km
Via Condotti 0.3 km
San Silvestro in Capite 0.4 km
Via Margutta 0.5 km
Piazza Barberini 0.5 km
Barberini Metro Station 0.5 km
Trevi Fountain 0.5 km
Ciampino Airport 14.8 km
Fiumicino Airport 22.9 km
The Inn is a luxurious residence set in a historic building on Via Condotti, Rome’s most famous shopping street, near Piazza di Spagna. Breakfast is served on the rooftop terrace.
Fully air-conditioned and exclusive, all rooms at The Inn at the Spanish Steps feature an LCD TV with satellite channels. Some rooms overlook the internal courtyard, and some offer views of the luxury boutiques of Via Condotti.