Climbing from Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church, the Spanish Steps is one of Rome’s most recognized landmarks, immortalized in countless postcards and films. Built between 1723 and 1725, the 138-step staircase recently underwent a meticulous cleaning, restoring the marble landmark to its former glory.
The monumental Spanish Steps, the widest staircase in Europe, was designed by architect Francesco de Sanctis and counts among the Eternal City's most iconic tourist sites, along with such highlights as the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and the Roman Forum. The steps are also a lively meeting places for locals, who gather at the bars and cafés around Bernini's famous Fontana della Barcaccia in the square below.
Rome tours by Segway, Vespa, or hop-on hop-off bus are a great way to see the Spanish Steps along with other famous attractions like the Colosseum (often with skip-the-line access) and Pantheon in a single day, or opt for a specialized private tour with an expert tour guide to combine a food and wine or pizza tour with your visit. For a unique look at the steps, consider joining a small-group city tour by night when the monument is dramatically lit and the crowds are thinner.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sitting, eating, and drinking on the steps is forbidden; local police strictly enforce these rules.
- The steps are just that: stairs. As such, they are not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.
- Just adjacent to the Spanish Steps is the house where English poet John Keats lived, now a museum dedicated to his memory and works.
- Be aware of your surroundings and watch for individuals who will thrust a rose or other souvenir into your hand and then demand payment.
How to Get There
The metro line A runs from the Termini train station to Piazza di Spagna.
When to Get There
The Spanish Steps are crowded most of the day, so you'll have to visit early in the morning or late at night if you want to enjoy them in relative peace. The steps are in direct sunlight almost all day, so can be hot to climb during the midday hours in summer; they are particularly photogenic in the spring, festooned with colorful flowers, and decorated with a towering Christmas tree and fairy lights during the winter holidays.
The Spanish steps were financed by French diplomat Étienne Gueffier and built to link the Trinità dei Monti Church, under the patronage of the king of France at the time, with the Spanish Square below, so-named because it was home to the Spain's embassy and considered Spanish territory in the 17th century.