The Spanish Steps

- Roma Viva.

The Spanish Steps

The Spanish StepsVia del Babuino ends with the Fontana della Barcacci, that forms the heart of the irregularly-shaped Piazza di Spagna. Pietro Bernini, father of the more famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini, designed this fountain located right at the bottom of the Spanish Steps leading up to the French Church, Trinita' de' Monti.

For years, many people had wanted to link the church up with the piazza, but the Popes were always unwilling to give too much emphasis to the strong presence of the French in Rome. However, the project could no longer be put off when, in the 18th century, the whole area was influenced by the redevelopment of the port area on the banks of the Tiber, the Porto di Ripetta.
The young architect Francesco De Sanctis was commissioned to do the work, because he was liked by both the Pope and the French. De Sanctis conceived of a spectacular theatrical link between the church and the piazza-- stairs that rain down like a great travertine cascade, flowing towards the Fountain, Via dei Condotti, and the port beyond.
The final section of the stairway is constricted by two buildings: seen from the bottom of the steps, the home of the English poets Keats and Shelley is on the right while Babington's Tea Room is on the left, the earliest tearoom in Rome, opened by two English sisters.
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