Located just south of the Villa Borghese Gardens, Piazza di Spagna is best known to the fashion victims which search out Rome as the junction of all the major shopping streets of the capital: the exclusive Via Borgognona, the exquisite Via Condotti, and the more down-to-earth Via Sistina. But, of course, what puts this square on the tourist map of Rome is the celebrated Spanish Steps, a monumental set of steps which make the connection between the said square and uphill Piazza Trinita dei Monti (and the namesake church). Renowned as the largest open-air staircase in Europe, the Spanish Steps were designed between 1723 and 1725 by the Rome-born Alessandro Specchi and Francesco de Sanctis, on the commission of Pope Innocent XII. The impact of these stairs on the overall architectural landscape of Piazza di Spagna is obvious, enhancing its monumentality with the dynamics and dramatic quality so characteristic of the Baroque style.

The patrimony of the square is further complemented by the presence of the so-called Fontana della Barcaccia (work of Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, brilliant minds of the 17th century Baroque architecture). While in Piazza di Spagna, tourists can also head for the historical Antico Caffe Greco, if not for entering and delighting in the refined atmosphere and treats of the house, than at least for admiring the building. Tourists who also appreciate all that is natural and traditional about the cuisines of the world should also keep in mind the Spanish Steps are the epicenter of the Slow Food movement led by Carlo Petrini (as a result of the intent to open a McDonald's restaurant near the Spanish Steps).

Museums in Piazza di Spagna: Keats-Shelley House

Fountains in Piazza di Spagna: Fontana della Barcaccia

Historical cafes in Piazza di Spagna: Antico Caffe Greco

Churches in Piazza di Spagna: Church of Trinita dei Monti

Piazza di Spagna
Rome, Italy