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There are many famous stairways around the world, from the Potemkin Stairs in Odessa, Ukraine, to the Escadaria Selaron in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. But few can rival the romance of Rome’s Spanish Steps.
Compared to most of Rome’s ancient tourist highlights, the Spanish Steps are fairly new additions to the city, yet they still predate the founding of the United States. The steps are so named because of the Spanish Embassy that was once located here.
In 1717, architect Francesco de Sanctis, along with Alessandro Specchi, developed a design for a staircase of 138 steps that would create better access to the Trinita dei Monti church. They incorporated curves, straight lines, vistas and terraces into a design that blends with the surrounding architecture of the piazza.
Since then, the stairway has played a significant part in the history of Rome. During the 18th and 19th centuries the Spanish Steps became a meeting place for local artists, writers, dandies and bohemians. In the 20th century it’s been immortalized on the big screen with movies ranging from Bicycle Thieves (1948) and Roman Holiday (1953) to The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999).
Today, even though the once-popular pastime of eating a picnic or gelato on the steps is now forbidden, the Spanish Steps remain one of the city’s most social spots where locals and tourists come to sit, converse and bask in the city’s beauty.
At the top of the stairway is the spectacular 16th-century church, and at its base the lovely 17th-century Piazza di Spagna with the Bernini masterpiece, Barcaccia Fountain as its focal point. Lounging on the steps, talking with friends while watching the sun set, you’ll sense a touch of Spain in a truly Roman landscape.
The Spanish Steps are in central Rome. Take Metro Line A (the red line) to the Spagna station, right next to the steps. Buses are too big to get through the narrow streets in the area, but there are many that stop at Piazza del Popolo, a 10-minute walk away.
You don't have to sleep in swanky hotels or fly business class to have an outstanding holiday. Simply jump into all the extraordinary things you can do while you're there!
This place has loads of activities. Here are some suggestions to jump start your trip to Spanish Steps:
For a complete list of activities, jump onto our Spanish Steps things to do page.
This family-friendly Rome hotel is located in the historical district, steps away from Via del Tritone, Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini. Piazza di Spagna and Trevi Fountain are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is only a 3-minute walk and Spagna Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Navona, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso and Roman Forum. National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II and Capitoline Museum are also within 5 minutes. Colosseo Station is 14 minutes by foot and Cavour Station is 15 minutes.
Located in Rome City Centre, this romantic hotel is steps away from Via del Tritone, Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini. Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is only a 2-minute walk and Spagna Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Rome City Centre, this guesthouse is within a 5-minute walk of Via Veneto and Villa Borghese. Borghese Gallery and Piazza Barberini are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is 7 minutes by foot and Spagna Station is 9 minutes.
Located in Rome City Centre, this hotel is steps away from Via del Tritone, Via del Corso and Via Condotti. Trevi Fountain and Piazza di Spagna are also within 10 minutes. Spagna Station is 9 minutes by foot and Barberini Station is 10 minutes.
Located in Navona, this guesthouse is within a 5-minute walk of Via del Corso, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Piazza Navona and Piazza Venezia are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is 11 minutes by foot and Spagna Station is 12 minutes.
Located in Rome City Centre, this guesthouse is steps away from Piazza Venezia and Via del Corso. Via Nazionale and Trevi Fountain are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is 13 minutes by foot and Colosseo Station is 14 minutes.
Located in Rome City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Via del Tritone, Via Veneto and Trevi Fountain. Piazza Barberini and Via Condotti are also within 5 minutes. Barberini Station is only a 4-minute walk and Spagna Station is 8 minutes.