Touring Rome Italy - Spanish Steps

What should we visit in Rome's Spanish Steps district and its environs?...

We hope that you are enjoying our series of articles and guest articles on Italian tourist attractions, covering the entire country except for its major cities. In a sense we have left the best for last. We will describe what to see in Italy’s great cities neighborhood by neighborhood. You may not realize it, but Rome is divided into 20 districts. And each and every one of these districts boasts its own sightseeing attractions. If you have time, visit them all. In any case, read these articles to help plan your trip to The Eternal City. You may be in for some real surprises. Roma, Non Basta una Vita (Rome, a Lifetime is not Enough) .

The Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) close to the center of the Eternal City is one of Rome’s most beautiful squares. Its name dates from the Seventeenth Century when the Spanish Ambassador took up residence in the Palazzo di Spagna. You’ll get a great view of Rome from the steps’ upper terrace. The natives call it La Scalinata (the staircase.) While the site is beautiful year round, you should try to view it if from mid-April to mid-May when the three landings (in honor of the Trinità Church described next) are festooned with azeleas. At the base of the steps is the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Unfortunate Boat) designed by Pietro Bernini, father of the more famous Gianlorenzo, in the early Seventeenth Century.

Barcaccia Fountain, Spanish Steps

Barcaccia Fountain Spanish Steps

The Church of Trinità dei Monti was built in the late Fifteenth Century by Charles VIII on what had been a vineyard. It was severely damaged by French revolutionaries and completely rebuilt in the early Nineteenth Century. This church now belongs to the French state. Make sure to go inside for stunning artwork including frescoes.

Trinità dei Monti, Piazza di Spagna

Trinità dei Monti, Piazza di Spagna

Just south of the Steps is a small museum called the Keats-Shelly Memorial House, once the home of the English Romantic poet John Keats. This lovely little museum is dedicated to him and his friend and fellow poetic giant, Percy Bysshe Shelley. You can stay in a classic British mood by visiting the nearby Babington’s Tea Shops.

At the northern end of the district is one of the largest squares in the city, the Piazza del Popolo, which is actually oval-shaped. You might think its name translates into something like the People’s Square but here Populo refers to poplar trees. The Piazza is home to an Egyptian obelisk, one of the tallest in the city that has been a local fixture for well over four centuries. On close examination the twin churches, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria built within twenty years of each other in the late Seventeenth Century are not really twins. This oval square boasts lovely fountains. And perhaps best of all, this area has become a pedestrian zone.

And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Latium or other Italian wines.

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About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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