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Monday, March 5, 2012

Spanish Steps in Rome - A Popular Tourist Attraction

English: The Spanish Steps, Fontana della Barc...Image via Wikipedia By Sarah Dudleymore


The Spanish Steps in Italian it's called "Scalinata". These are famous set of steps in one of the most well known areas of Rome. Despite of its name, the famous Spanish Steps were actually built by the French. The monumental stairway of 138 steps, "Scalinata di Spagna" or "Spanish Steps" were constructed between 1723 and 1725 with French diplomat √Čtienne Gueffier. They can be easily found and recognized at the Piazza di Spagna square rectangle like shape. The Piazza di Spagna is one of the most popular tourist sites in Rome. The Scalinata is without a doubt the longest and widest staircase in all Europe.

At the base of the Piazza is the Early Baroque fountain called "La Fontana della Barcaccia" ("Fountain of the Old Boat"), built in 1627-29 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Legend has it that, Pope Urban VIII had the fountain installed after he had been impressed by a boat brought here by a flood of the Tiber river. Most people seem to think that Bernini used the Boat as a sign of safety from the common floods once roam the Square from the Tiber River.
During May, part of the steps are covered by pots of beautiful "Azalea" flowers (flowering shrubs making up part of the genus Rhododendron and subgenus Pentanthera), earning also the name by the Romans as the "Garden Stairs". A sign that the Summer is fast approaching. The weather in Rome can get quite hot, even in the Fall. So the many cafes, shops and restaurants near the Spanish Steps are always popular full of people absorbing this fine, elegant atmosphere.
The steps are not a place for eating lunch, being forbidden by Roman regulations, but in Rome where everything is calm and peaceful, it's likely you will still see some people snacking on a sandwich or "tramezzino" (Typical Roman Sandwich) sipping up on a cold drink. Nowadays, this is also the meeting point to take a romantic or scenic ride in a carriage pulled by a horse.
Stepping on the very first step to the right, is the house where English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821. Today is a museum open to the public dedicated to his memory, full of memorabilia of the English Romantic generation. Halfway up still on the right is the apartment that was the setting for The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (1961). Bernardo Bertolucci's, Besieged (1998) was also the stage in a house next to the steps. American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan refers to the "Spanish Stairs" in his classic "When I Paint My Masterpiece" (1971). Today modern terraces lay in perfect harmony with the surrounding baroque context.
When coming to Rome, do not forget to include the Spanish Steps on your trip to Rome. Rent an apartment in Spanish Steps area and enjoy a great vacation of what Rome has to offer. Learn how to find a great apartment to rent with your specifications for your trip to Rome.
Sarah Dudleymore is a professional travel consultant. She is working for "The Key to Italy" a travel agency specialized in Rome Apartments for Rent in Italy.

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