Piazza di Spagna: Embassy, and Column

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Piazza di Spagna: Embassy, and Column

Piazza di Spagna: Embassy, and ColumnThe two European nations that during the centuries have most influenced the history of Italy and the history of Rome itself, France and Spain, face each other across the piazza. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was named Piazza della Trinita' after the French church, but it later took its present name Piazza di Spagna.

The piazza is shaped like a butterfly, whose triangular wings meet at the bottom of the steps. The French have always dominated the triangle which includes the Spanish Steps and the Church Trinita' de' Monti, whereas the Spaniards dominated the other triangle with the Piazza and the Palazzo di Spagna, today's Spanish Embassy to the Holy See.
The decision by Spanish Ambassadors to reside in this area goes back to 1620 when a pre-existing building was purchased and Antonio del Grande with the collaboration of Borromini, made the necessary changes. Spanish influence in the whole area was immediately noticeable: the Spanish Nation not only enjoyed full jurisdiction over its own property but also the 14,000 residents that were soon placed under its protection.
In 1854, after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius IX had the column of Mary Immaculate erected in front of the Embassy.
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