Spanish Steps in Rome: history, photos

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Spanish Steps in Rome: history, photos
Spanish Steps in Rome: history, photos

When it comes to the main attractions of the Eternal City, many will remember the Capitoline Hill, on which Rome arose, the symbol of Italy - the Colosseum, the ruined baths of Caracalla and other famous historical monuments. And not everyone, unfortunately, will mark the most popular meeting place for local residents, so I would like to tell you more about the architectural structure, which is considered a real curiosity.

French Church and Spanish Square in Rome

The name of this historical masterpiece is not a mistake in Rome tourist guides, as many might think. And this is by no means a Spanish-style staircase, although the centuries-old history of the Italian landmark is closely connected with the country of flamenco and bullfighting.

Considered one of the most beautiful places in Europe, this man-made creation has long been a source of inspiration for world photographers, artists, and filmmakers.

spanish stairs city

The history of this staircase, which completes the Spanish Square and rises to the ancient church of Trinita dei Monti, deserves a separate discussion.

According to an agreement between the French king and the Pope at the end of the 15th century, a small plot on Pincho Hill in Rome was given for the construction of a temple. Almost a hundred years later, Spain buys a site near Trinita dei Monti to build its embassy there.

The church was supported by the money of the French kings and was of great importance for the subjects of the republic, and the area where the diplomatic mission was located was owned by the Spaniards. At first, the two powerful powers were at enmity with each other, until in 1660 a dynastic alliance was concluded between the daughter of the king of Spain and Louis XIV.

The Spanish Steps as a symbol of peace between powers

States that have been walking towards peace for a long time decide to build a ladder that will connect the symbols of different countries in order to actually show Europe how strong diplomatic ties between them are. In honor of this significant event, the French ambassador allocates money for the construction, wanting to please his king, and Cardinal Mazarin decides to decorate the top of the majestic building with a huge sculpture of Louis XIV himself.

Spanish stairs today

True, not everything went so smoothly, because the case took place in Italy, and the Pope was very outraged when he learned about the intention to erect an inappropriate statue of a foreign ruler. And the grand construction project was put on hold.

Competition for the best project

In 1717, almost 60 years later, a competition was announced among architects for the best design of a wide staircase, which perfectly demonstrates the stability of strong relations between powerful powers. Spain and France could not agree on the style in which the future historical monument would be built. It is known that negotiations were held for six whole years, until the Pope of Rome had the last word, giving the construction into the hands of an unknown architect Francesco de Sanctis.

Two-year construction

Since 1723, the construction of a monumental baroque staircase has been going on. The place where the luxurious structure was erected was previously fortified, as they were afraid that the earth could not withstand the powerful structure.

spanish style stairs

After 2 years, the most beautiful Spanish Steps in Rome, which at first bore the name of the nearby church - Trinita dei Monti, opened to the eyes of the astonished residents. Later, the architectural monument was given the name by which everyone knows it now - Scalinata Spagna.

Description of the majestic architectural masterpiece

The Spanish Steps, the architect of which nevertheless refused to install the sculpture of Louis, nevertheless combined in its decoration the heraldic symbols of France (lilies) and Italy (crowns and eagles - attributes of the Pope).

One hundred and thirty-eight steps made of travertine - a natural stone that combines the properties of marble and limestone - vary in size throughout the path. At first glance, it seems that they are easy to overcome, but thisthe impression is very misleading. Climbing the narrowing and widening steps is very difficult even for a he althy person, and considering that in summer the temperature rises to 40 degrees, you can imagine how difficult the way up.

spanish stairs

The Spanish Steps, whose amazing design resembles the spread wings of a butterfly, is divided into three segments. At the top of the hill there is a spacious platform with a magnificent view of the Roman sights.

Barkaccia Fountain (Barkas)

At the foot there is a cozy fountain, built before the construction of the famous staircase and depicting a sinking boat. According to ancient legends, it was here that a flooded longboat was found in the square after the flood. Near the unusual fountain is always crowded, and among tourists there is a myth that it is here that the most tired traveler is charged with energy and strength from the murmuring water.

spanish stairs architect

Spanish Steps: Today

At the popular place, striking with its beauty and majesty not only tourists, but also art experts, dates and business meetings have been appointed for many years. A favorite corner for memorable photographs, it gathers noisy youth and creative parties, to which the city authorities are quite loyal.

High fashion shows

This place is adored by lovers of haute couture, as it hosts fashion shows of the world's most famous designers. At the beginning of summer, the Spanish Steps turns into a kind of podium, along uneventhe steps of which are carefully defiled so as not to fall, popular models in luxurious outfits.

spanish stairs photo

These days, a completely transformed Roman landmark gathers a huge number of Haute couture fans. The laser illumination, which plays with light and shadow, creates stunning visual effects that will forever remain in the memory of those who were lucky enough to be here.

Some interesting facts about the attraction

What else do you need to know for everyone who comes to the ancient city to admire the amazing building that Italians declare their love for?

The Spanish Steps, whose photo will make everyone freeze with delight, was officially recognized as the most beautiful according to a survey among Internet users three years ago, leaving no less masterpiece creations of human hands far behind

In spring and summer, amazing flowers bloom here in huge flowerpots standing right on the steps, and the staircase turns into a real colorful butterfly

spanish stairs in rome

Next to the stairs is the narrow street of Condotti, where the most expensive brand stores are located. Here you can walk, admiring the glamorous chic, and shopping is recommended in other boutiques

As you know, local authorities do not prohibit gathering on the stairs and sitting on the steps. The only thing for which they will impose a huge fine is for drinking any drinks and eating food

Although many sources indicate that the Spanish Stepshas 138 steps, according to some reports, there are still fewer of them - 135 or 137. There are sometimes heated debates about this, and every tourist has a chance to count how many there really are

This is where some scenes from "Roman Holiday" with O. Hepburn were filmed, and W. Allen filmed the final shots of his film "Roman Adventure"

For more than three hundred years, the appearance of Rome's visiting card has not changed, and only in 1997 the dilapidated and destroyed by ruthless time steps were restored

Tourists who have visited this amazing corner claim that the Spanish Steps are beautiful at any time of the year. The city of Rome is proud of its landmark, rightly considering it a cultural and historical value not only of Italy, but of the whole world. And local guides always advise those who have visited the ancient capital for the first time to sit on the ancient steps and enjoy the special atmosphere.

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