Just days ago, the Spanish Steps, also known as the Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, re-opened to the public after a lengthy cleaning and conservation funded by Italian jewelry house Bulgari. I am delighted to report that I have never — ever — seen them looking so good. How wonderful it is to see one of the icons of the Eternal City restored to its rightful glory!
The Spanish Steps are, justifiably, one of the most famous sights in Rome. One hundred and thirty-five steps provide access from Piazza di Spagna to the Piazza Trinità dei Monti, and the church that stands there.
A masterpiece of Baroque architecture by Francesco de Sanctis, the overall design plan incorporated the surrounding buildings to create a harmonious whole (much like Michelangelo’s plan for the Campidoglio). The steps undulate, flowing apart and then coming together.
The steps seem to flow like waves of water, which complements my favorite fountain in all Rome, the Barcaccia “old boat” fountain at the base of the steps (which was already there long before the Spanish Steps).
While today’s name for the steps refers to the Spanish Embassy which is located in Piazza di Spagna (usually with a military vehicle and several guards out in front), the steps were actually paid for by the French — if you look closely, you’ll see the fleur-de-lis of France on some of the round finials that decorate the Spanish Steps.
So, a big thank you to the French (for building them) and to Bulgari (for restoring them). I’m just excited to see the Spanish Steps back and being enjoyed again!