Piazza di Spagna & Fontana della Barcaccia (Spanish Square & Fountain of the Longboat), Rome

Piazza di Spagna & Fontana della Barcaccia (Spanish Square & Fountain of the Longboat), Rome

The Spanish Square, adorned with the Spanish Steps leading up to the Trinity on the Mounts ("Trinità dei Monti") church, stands as one of Rome's most frequented squares. While tourists often gather on the renowned staircase to relax and admire the surroundings, the area has become synonymous with high fashion and luxury, courtesy of the designer shops lining the adjacent streets.

Within this bustling square, you'll also discover the impressive Fontana della Barcaccia, known as the "Fountain of the Longboat." Created in the 1620s by Pietro Bernini, a renowned sculptor and a trusted collaborator of Pope Urban VIII, this masterpiece is attributed to both Bernini and his son, Gian Lorenzo. Pietro Bernini's expertise can also be seen in the Neptune Fountain in Naples and various statues adorning churches throughout Italy.

The fountain's design draws inspiration from a historical event. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the River Tiber frequently flooded the area, and legend has it that one particularly devastating flood left the Spanish Square submerged for several weeks. As the waters receded, a boat was discovered in the square, serving as the muse for Bernini's fountain. The sculpture depicts a partially submerged boat within its basin, with water spilling over the bow and trickling out of the sides.

Many people enjoy sitting on the nearby benches, basking in the sun while listening to the soothing gurgle of the fountain. Due to low water pressure in the area, the water flows gently rather than in a forceful jet, and fortunately, no one has ever considered adding a pump to alter its natural charm. It is said that the renowned English poet John Keats, who resided nearby until his death in 1821, listened to the sound of water from his deathbed. Upon which, he requested the inscription "Here lies one whose name was writ in water" on his tombstone.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rome. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Piazza di Spagna & Fontana della Barcaccia (Spanish Square & Fountain of the Longboat) on Map

Sight Name: Piazza di Spagna & Fontana della Barcaccia (Spanish Square & Fountain of the Longboat)
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Palatine Hill Walking Tour

Palatine Hill Walking Tour

Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome and the most ancient part of the capital. Based on Roman mythology and archaeological evidence, this hill is considered the birthplace of the city – a place where legendary Romulus founded it in 753 BC. Furthermore, the very word “palace” – indicating the emperor’s residence (“Palatium”), much as that of other dignitaries and prominent...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Heading down from the Vatican along the River Tiber, one is bound to find yet another city hidden within the city – Trastevere. This name translates literally to "across the Tiber". Indeed, crossing the picturesque Ponte Sisto (Sisto Bridge) to the west bank, you will find yourself in a charming neighborhood with a distinct character that sets it apart from any other part of Rome.

...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Roman Forum and Imperial Forums Walking Tour

Roman Forum and Imperial Forums Walking Tour

It's a known fact that "Rome wasn't built in a day." But when it was finally built, it stood the test of time and became "the eternal city." Many have heard that "all roads lead to Rome," but very few probably realize that inside Rome itself all roads lead to the Forum.

The central hub of ancient Rome, the Roman Forum (also known by its Latin name...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Hidden Art Treasures in Rome

Hidden Art Treasures in Rome

Rome is one of the world's top living museums, replete with some of the most iconic pieces of art on the face of the planet. Famous artists, such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Bernini, to mention but a few, had lived and worked here and left indelible marks in the city.

Needless to say that the abundance of masterpieces makes Rome crowded with tourists anxious to see them, causing...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Food Tasting Walking Tour

Food Tasting Walking Tour

Whether it’s a long lunch or a stop-off for an ice cream on an evening stroll, eating in Rome is a very social activity. Culinary traditions run deep here, and it may well be one of Italy’s most pleasurable cities in which to eat. Deli shops, prosciutterias, pizzerias, fornos (bakeries) and caffès are also very popular and offer a great alternative to a restaurant meal.

On this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Rome Introduction Walking Tour I

Rome Introduction Walking Tour I

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 BC by twin brothers Romulus and Remus who were raised by a she-wolf. However, the pair argued about who had the support of the gods, and Romulus ended up killing Remus in a fight on what became Palatine Hill. Thus, Romulus named the city after himself and declared himself as king.

In a slightly less glorious account, Rome actually began as an Iron Age...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles

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