The Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
Spanish Steps © David McSpadden
The graceful Spanish Steps, built in 1725, elegantly curve their way from the Piazza di Spagna to the Church of Santa Trinit dei Monti, a pastel-tinted neoclassical building. The shopper's paradise of Via Condotti leads back from the Spanish steps to Via del Corso, and during spring the steps are decorated with pink azaleas. At the foot of the steps lies Bernini's boat-shaped Barcaccia Fountain, and to the right is the unassuming Keats-Shelley Memorial House. For lovers of the Romantic poets the steps have become a sort of pilgrimage site as a result of the Memorial House. The steps and piazza can get really crowded but the bustle is actually part of the attraction in this case: the Spanish Steps are perfect for settling down to some people-watching and soaking up the atmosphere of the city. The steps are iconic and if you do walking tours of Rome you are almost guaranteed a stop here. Lots of artists and musicians perform in the area which gives it a festive feel, but beware of tourist scams, like men approaching pretty women to give them flowers and then demanding payment. If you want to take photographs it's best to arrive early in the morning before the crowds do.
Transport: Take Metro Line A to the Spagna stop; Bus 60 or 492 to Piazza Barberini, or Bus 117 to Piazza di Spagna