Spanish Steps in Rome

Spanish Steps Fountain at Sunrise

One of Rome’s iconic landmarks, the Spanish Steps has been adored by travellers for centuries. My friend was giving me a tour of Rome when I first came here. We were standing on the Terrazza Viale del Belvedere and she was pointing to famous buildings on the skyline. She left the Spanish Steps last, pointing directly below us and telling me that is where we were going next. They say the best time to visit here would be between April and May. That’s because at this time of year pink azaleas bloom on the steps, making for some incredible photo opportunities.

Finding the Spanish Steps

If you don’t fancy taking the scenic walk like I did, you can get here by train too. The Spanish Steps are located next to the Spagna station. I found a lot of Rome to be easily connected to the Metro, making your travel easy.

Spanish Steps Fountain at Sunrise

The name refers to the Spanish Embassy in the Holy See which would have been located in the Piazza Di Spagna (Spanish Square). The steps themselves were actually financed by a French Diplomat named Ėtienne Gueffier. For centuries the Spanish Steps have attracted not only celebrities and artists but also hopeful models dreaming of being scouted. Artists and photographers often find themselves drawn to the monument. To this day you can find painters at the top of the stairs. Audrey Hepburn herself even once caused a stampede here. American tourists began to flock to the Steps after they featured as a backdrop in her movie “Roman Holiday”. 

Piazza Di Spagna (The Spanish Square)

At the bottom of the stairs in the Spanish Square, you can find a fountain named Fontana Della Barcaccia or “Fountain of the Old Boat”. It is of a boat spouting water as she sinks. As with all art, this fountain tells a story. The River Tiber used to frequently flood before the city walls were built. In 1958, a severe flood submerged the Piazza Di Spagna up to a meter. After the water receded, a boat was left stranded in the square, leading to the creation of this fountain as a tribute to that event.

Spanish Steps with flowers in blossom

Shopping in style

I absolutely adored exploring around the Spanish Steps. Near the fountain, you will find Via Dei Condotti. Commonly referred to as the richest street in Rome, where you will find the likes of Prada, Gucci and Versace stores making residence here. If you fancy a bit of shopping whilst in Rome and you have the budget, this is definitely the place to do it. However, if you venture just a little bit into some of the side streets you will find local stores that will show you a real glimpse of Rome. I loved a marble carving I picked up in one of the smaller stores. One of the oldest marble carvers in Rome crafted it, and every time I gaze at it, fond memories of my time roaming these streets flood back. This makes it the perfect souvenir for me.

After you’ve visited here there are some great tourist spots nearby. I would recommend heading to either the Fontana Di Trevi or perhaps the Pantheon next. Both are within walking distance and you can marvel at the city as you walk. I attempted to navigate my way there using signposts; however, these can be easily missed. So inevitably Google Maps had to come to the rescue.

Tourists, be cautious as fines await those who sit on the steps of the Spanish Steps, now a UNESCO site. Authorities can impose hefty fines, amounting to hundreds of euros, on individuals caught sitting on the steps to deter damage. Instead of spending money on fines, savor “la dolce vita” (the good life) like the Italians—indulge in fine dining at restaurants and explore the city’s shopping scene.

Do's and Don'ts - Tips and advice for the Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps FAQs

How do I get to the Spanish Steps?

The easiest way to get to the Spanish Steps is by train. It is just a short walk from Spagna Metro station.

What is nearby?

Nearby you have the Trevi Fountain you can visit. This is my favourite spot in Rome and you can read about that using the link below.

Can you see the Spanish Steps at night?

Yes the steps are open 24/7 so you can visit in the mornings or at night for a quieter photo.

When is the best time of year to visit?

If you visit between April and May not only do you get great weather but the pink azaleas bloom and the steps look their best.

How old are the Spanish Steps?

The Spanish Steps were built between 1723 and 1726, making them nearly 300 years old.

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