This Roman landmark – more French than Spanish – offers spectacular views.
We may know them as the Spanish Steps but in fact this Roman icon owes more to France than Spain. Completed in 1725, the elegant staircase was funded by a French diplomat who decided that the pre-existing muddy slope was no fit approach to the Trinità dei Monti church – a donation from the French king – up the top. Also rising above the Steps is the Renaissance Villa Medici, the French cultural academy.
At the bottom of the Steps nestles a delightful boat-shaped fountain designed in 1627 by Pietro Bernini (father of the more famous Gianlorenzo), sunk below ground level to take account of the low water pressure here.
In between, the Steps themselves swarm with visitors of all descriptions – from groups of guitar-strumming youths to lovers enthralled by the romance of it all. And winding their way among them are local lads (and ageing womanisers) on the lookout for foreign females keen for a Roman fling.
The view from the top across the rooftops of Rome is quite breathtaking, especially at sunset.