Christian Rizzo

Spanish Steps: Complete Guide Under 5 Minutes

A brief yet comprehensive guide to the Spanish Steps, one of Rome's iconic landmarks.

Attraction Centro Storico
The scenic Spanish Steps in Rome, a popular tourist attraction


The Spanish Steps, an iconic symbol of Rome's rich history and culture, represent a monumental stairway of 135 steps. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the architectural marvel of the Spanish Steps, exploring its historical significance, aesthetic beauty, and its role as a vibrant meeting place in the heart of Rome.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

While the Spanish Steps offer a picturesque backdrop, visitors should be aware of the restrictions on sitting on the steps, enforced to preserve their condition. Additionally, the area can be crowded, particularly during peak tourist seasons. Time your visit to enjoy the beauty of the Steps with fewer crowds, preferably early morning or late evening.

Tips for your visit of the Spanish Steps

  • Best Viewpoints: For the best views, climb to the top of the Steps or find a spot at Piazza di Spagna at the bottom.
  • Photography Tips: Capture the charm of the Steps in the golden hour for stunning photographs.
  • Nearby Attractions: Visit the Trinità dei Monti church at the top and the Fontana della Barcaccia at the bottom.
  • Respect the Rules: Remember, sitting on the Spanish Steps is prohibited to preserve their historical integrity.

Additionally, exploring the surrounding areas offers a glimpse into the vibrant Roman culture and history.

Practical Information

Opening Hours: The Spanish Steps are open 24/7, but best visited during daylight hours.

How to Get There: Easily accessible by metro (Spagna station), bus, or on foot from central Rome.

Price: There is no fee to visit the Spanish Steps.

Crowds: Can be crowded, especially in tourist seasons. Early mornings are less crowded.

Weather Considerations: Ideal to visit in spring or autumn for pleasant weather.

Photography: A popular spot for photographers; early morning light is ideal.

Accessibility: The Steps are not wheelchair accessible due to their historical design.

Facilities: Public restrooms and cafes are available nearby.

Tours: Guided tours often include the Spanish Steps as part of a larger itinerary of Rome.

These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

Must see

  • Trinità dei Monti Church

    At the top of the Spanish Steps, the Trinità dei Monti is a stunning French church offering panoramic views of Rome and a serene atmosphere away from the bustling city.

  • Keats-Shelley Memorial House

    Nestled right beside the Steps, this museum commemorates the Romantic poets and provides a deep dive into their lives and time spent in Rome.

  • Barcaccia Fountain

    At the foot of the Steps, the Barcaccia Fountain, designed by Pietro Bernini, is an exquisite example of Baroque art, symbolizing boats that used to come here when the Tiber flooded.

  • Via dei Condotti

    This famous shopping street, starting at the base of the Steps, is lined with high-end boutiques and historic cafes, perfect for a leisurely stroll after visiting the Steps.

Exploring these sights provides a comprehensive experience of the Spanish Steps and their surrounding area.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are there 135 Spanish Steps?

    The Spanish Steps consist of 135 steps to connect the Piazza di Spagna at the base with the Trinità dei Monti church above. This design was chosen in the 18th century to gracefully link the church with the Spanish square below, reflecting the Baroque style's emphasis on grandeur and elegance.

  • Why can't you sit on the Spanish Steps anymore?

    Sitting on the Spanish Steps is prohibited to preserve their historical and architectural integrity. This rule helps in maintaining their condition and preventing damage from the high foot traffic they receive.

  • What is at the bottom of the Spanish Steps?

    At the bottom of the Spanish Steps lies the Piazza di Spagna, one of Rome's most famous squares, and the striking Barcaccia Fountain, a masterpiece of Baroque art.

  • Why are they called Spanish Steps?

    The steps are named after the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square) at their base, which in turn was named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See located there. The name reflects the historical connection between Spain and the Vatican.

  • Is Spanish Steps worth visiting?

    Yes, the Spanish Steps are worth visiting for their architectural beauty, historical significance, and as a vibrant cultural hotspot in Rome. They offer a unique glimpse into Roman life and are a must-see for any visitor to the city.

Historical Background

The Spanish Steps, constructed between 1723 and 1725, were designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. This monumental stairway was built to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy (hence the name) and the Trinità dei Monti church above. The Steps have been a gathering place for artists, poets, and travelers for centuries, symbolizing Rome's artistic and cultural magnetism. Their Baroque style architecture reflects the grandeur and elegance of the era, making them a masterpiece of urban Roman design.

Lesser known stories and Interesting Facts

  • Design Competition

    The design of the Spanish Steps was the result of a competition held by Pope Innocent XIII. Francesco de Sanctis's design was chosen for its innovation and integration with the surrounding urban landscape.

  • Literary Connection

    The Steps have a rich literary history, being a favorite haunt of poets like John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. The Keats-Shelley Memorial House beside the Steps commemorates their lives and works.

  • Fashion Hotspot

    Historically, the Spanish Steps have been a popular location for fashion shows and photoshoots, solidifying Rome's status as a fashion capital.

  • Restoration Efforts

    The Steps underwent a significant restoration in 2016, funded by the Italian jewelry brand Bulgari, highlighting the importance of preserving Rome's historical sites.

  • Cultural Icon

    The Spanish Steps have featured in numerous films and books, making them an iconic symbol of Rome in popular culture.

Nearby Restaurants

  • Antico Caffè Greco: One of Rome's oldest cafes, located on Via dei Condotti, perfect for a classic Italian coffee experience.
  • Il Palazzetto: A wine bar offering stunning views of the Steps and a selection of Italian wines and appetizers.
  • Babington's Tea Room: Situated at the base of the Steps, this historic tea room is ideal for a traditional English tea experience in Rome.

Nearby Attractions

  • Villa Borghese: A short walk from the Steps, this expansive park offers museums, galleries, and tranquil gardens, ideal for a peaceful escape from the city.
  • Trevi Fountain: Just a 10-minute walk away, the Trevi Fountain is another iconic Roman landmark, famous for its grand baroque design and the tradition of coin throwing.
  • Piazza del Popolo: Located nearby, this large urban square is known for its stunning architecture, obelisk, and twin churches, and offers a glimpse into Rome's rich history.


The Spanish Steps are not just a set of stairs; they are a symbol of Rome's artistic and cultural heritage, embodying the city's history, beauty, and vibrant life. Whether it's admiring the architectural marvel, soaking in the lively atmosphere, or exploring the nearby historical sites, a visit to the Spanish Steps is an essential part of any Rome itinerary. They offer a unique window into the soul of Rome and continue to captivate visitors from around the world.