Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain, Rome

Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain (Self Guided), Rome

An established tourist mecca, today's Rome is hardly imaginable without two of its much loved attractions – the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Magnets for tourists as they are, these two sights are connected to a number of other, not less worthy of attention locations, such as the Fountain of the Longboat or Piazza Colonna and its centerpiece, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, to mention but a few.

The time-honored tradition of decorating the Spanish Steps with hundreds of flowering azalea plants dates back to nearly a century ago. Stop by the fountain at the base, walk half-way up the steps and look down; go to the top and marvel at the view down the steps and over the City. This then leads you to Piazza di Espagna and its surrounding attractions, including the Keats-Shelley Memorial House and the Giorgio de Chirico House Museum, which showcases real pieces of a very talented life.

The beautiful, rectangular Piazza Colonna is itself surrounded by several imposing buildings, in addition to the obligatory column and fountain. Take the time to look at the column’s carvings, then continue with one of Rome’s most amazing churches, dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola – a marvel in terms of over-the-top baroque interiors.

Save the Trevi Fountains for last, as they are best seen towards the evening when the foot traffic dies down. Beautiful beyond anything you can imagine, one would not mind turning into a fish and living in the fountains forever! Instead, you could pick a flavor from the nearby Gelato di San Crispino and call it a day.

For a great day out in this fabulous area, pick a day with nice weather and follow our self-guided walking tour.

Getting to Sight #1. The first tour stop (Spanish Steps) can be reached by Bus 119, 160, 61, 63, 913; also 40 Express and 116 electric bus, Train: FL5, R, RV, Metro: line A
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain Map

Guide Name: Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti (Spanish Steps)
  • Piazza di Spagna & Fontana della Barcaccia (Spanish Square & Fountain of the Longboat)
  • Keats-Shelley Memorial House
  • Casa Museo di Giorgio de Chirico (Giorgio de Chirico House Museum)
  • Piazza Colonna & Colonna di Marco Aurelio (Column Square & Column of Marcus Aurelius)
  • Chiesa di Sant' Ignazio di Loyola (Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola)
  • Piazza di Trevi & Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Square & Trevi Fountain)
  • Gelato di San Crispino
Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti (Spanish Steps)

1) Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti (Spanish Steps) (must see)

The renowned Spanish Steps stand as an iconic attraction and popular meeting spot in Rome. Their name derives from the nearby Spanish Embassy, located in Piazza di Spagna. Constructed approximately 300 years ago, this staircase holds the distinction of being the longest and widest in Europe. It gracefully ascends to the exquisite 16th-century church famously known as the Trinity on the Mounts ("Trinità dei Monti").

Today, the Spanish Steps are frequented by tourists from around the globe. However, as early as the 18th century, they captivated artists, poets, and later Hollywood filmmakers. Consequently, the steps became a magnet for aspiring models, affluent Romans, international travelers, and people from all walks of life. The tradition of gathering at the Spanish Steps has become deeply ingrained in both the local Roman population and visitors to the Italian capital.

Situated at the base of the steps, to the right, lies the house-museum of John Keats, the renowned English Romantic poet who once resided there. Additionally, nearby is Babington's tea room, a resilient establishment that has withstood two world wars and numerous adversities, ultimately becoming a beloved tourist attraction.

***Movie "ROMAN HOLIDAY": Joe Meets Ann Again***
Fresh after haircut, Princess Ann sits on the steps, enjoying the view, eating gelato. After taking compliments for her new look, she confesses to Joe Bradley that she had run away from school and takes his proposal to spend the day together before she returns. And here the holiday begins!

Why You Should Visit:
If you appreciate historically rich and visually appealing locations, the Spanish Steps should undoubtedly be on your itinerary. Alongside tourist activities such as carriage rides, you'll find an array of shops and bars to explore. Most notably, the staircase offers picturesque views of Rome from its pinnacle, particularly at sunset—an unbeatable sight!

The afternoon and later hours are the best time to visit so as to avoid the heat of the day.
Piazza di Spagna & Fontana della Barcaccia (Spanish Square & Fountain of the Longboat)

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

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.
Keats-Shelley Memorial House

3) Keats-Shelley Memorial House

Located at the base of the Spanish Steps, this house holds a poignant history as the final residence of renowned English Romantic poet, John Keats. Sent to Rome in a desperate attempt to find relief from his ailing health, Keats resided in this dwelling until his untimely death on February 23, 1821, at the tender age of 25. The house stands as a testament to Keats' literary legacy and the vibrant bohemian community that thrived in this area, attracting English expatriates of the time.

The house allows visitors to step into the poet's final abode and offers glimpses into his life through various artifacts, including his death mask, manuscript fragments, and letters. Although the original furnishings were unfortunately destroyed after his passing due to health concerns, the house now houses a quaint collection of memorabilia dedicated to Keats and other English literary figures from the era. Notable names such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Joseph Severn, and Leigh Hunt are commemorated, while an extensive library on the Romantic poets provides a comprehensive resource for literature enthusiasts.

While Percy Bysshe Shelley shared a close friendship with Keats, it is worth noting that he never resided in the aforementioned house. During Keats' final days, Shelley was residing in Pisa alongside his wife Mary, the renowned author of "Frankenstein". Upon receiving the news of Keats' passing, Shelley was deeply moved and composed his renowned elegy titled "Adonais", which he dedicated to his departed friend. Tragically, Shelley's own life was cut short just a few years later.
Casa Museo di Giorgio de Chirico (Giorgio de Chirico House Museum)

4) Casa Museo di Giorgio de Chirico (Giorgio de Chirico House Museum)

Exploring house museums provides a captivating glimpse into the lives of renowned individuals, and the Giorgio de Chirico House Museum is no exception. This extraordinary artist acquired an apartment in the Borgognoni Palace, and now you have the opportunity to visit the very spaces where he resided and worked from 1948 until his passing in 1978. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of his creative sanctuary as you explore the entrance hall, dining room, bedrooms, and studio. On an easel in the studio is his last, unfinished sketch of a bathing woman. You can also marvel at his book collection and behold his paints and brushes, providing insights into his artistic process.

Venturing to the 4th floor, you will encounter a display of de Chirico's paintings. Among them, notable pieces include "Il Mediatore," "Donna in Riposo," "Le Maschere," and "Bagnanti." Delight in the presence of sculptures and graphics from his personal collection, which further enhance the artistic experience.

Giorgio de Chirico is widely regarded as one of Italy's most prominent Pre-Surrealist and Surrealist artists, earning a place alongside luminaries like Salvador Dalí. His most exceptional works emerged during his Metaphysical Period, spanning from 1909 to 1919 when he founded the Metaphysical School art movement. Similar to Gala's role as Dalí's muse, de Chirico's wife, Isabella, held a significant place in his artistry, appearing in numerous portraits and paintings. However, in 1939, he shifted to adopt a Baroque style influenced by Rubens. These later works faced criticism for not matching the brilliance of his earlier creations. In a defiant response to the critics he deemed "ignorant," de Chirico back-dated certain paintings, which were subsequently hailed with acclaim.

Guided Tours (English/Italian) - pre-booking only:
Mon, Thu-Sat: 10:30am, 11:30am, 2:30pm, 3:30pm
Last Sundays of the month: 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm
Piazza Colonna & Colonna di Marco Aurelio (Column Square & Column of Marcus Aurelius)

5) Piazza Colonna & Colonna di Marco Aurelio (Column Square & Column of Marcus Aurelius)

Part of the historic heart of Rome, the Column Square derives its name from the colossal 30-meter marble column of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Constructed in the Doric style and adorned with intricate carvings, it was erected in the 2nd century AD following Marcus Aurelius' death. However, during a 16th-century restoration, Pope Sixtus V ordered the placement of a statue of St. Paul atop the column. The motive behind this decision remains a mystery. It is uncertain whether it was to eradicate any remnants of paganism or to mirror Trajan's Column nearby (on Via dei Fori Imperiali), where the same pope had a statue of St. Peter installed.

If you possess a long-lens camera or binoculars, be sure to examine the reliefs near the top of the column, as they are in superior condition compared to those at ground level. Notably, you will encounter intriguing depictions of a supernatural figure summoning a miraculous storm that once saved the Roman army during a battle.

While the column undoubtedly commands attention, the square also houses a small fountain that was originally constructed in the 16th century to provide clean drinking water to the residents of Rome. Fashioned from pink marble sourced from the Greek island of Chios, it features an oval basin adorned with 16 intricately carved white marble lion heads. At each end of the basin, two 19th-century groups of dolphins entwine their tails around seashells, spouting water from their mouths.

The square is enclosed on three sides by imposing buildings erected between the 16th and 19th centuries. One such structure is the Chigi Palace, built in 1562 and currently serving as the official residence of the Italian Prime Minister. Another notable building is the Wedekind Palace, constructed in the 17th century on the site once occupied by the Temple of Marcus Aurelius. The magnificent columns adorning the palace's ground floor were acquired from the Etruscan city of Veii, which the Romans conquered in the 4th century BC.
Chiesa di Sant' Ignazio di Loyola (Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola)

6) Chiesa di Sant' Ignazio di Loyola (Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola)

Dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (commonly known as Jesuits Order), this 17th-century Baroque church was inspired by the Church of Gesù in Rome, built in the late 16th century.

The church follows a typical "Latin Cross" layout, with the main section and side chapels intricately adorned. Due to insufficient funds for a dome, a painter was commissioned to create an optical illusion of one. As a result, the ceilings were skillfully painted using a technique that creates a visual perspective, seemingly expanding the physical boundaries. The paintings above appear three-dimensional, defying their flat surface. To fully appreciate this effect, stand within the circle marking the center of the main floor. The grand ceiling painting depicting St. Ignatius entering Paradise is particularly captivating, although it may strain one's neck to gaze at it for too long. To alleviate this, a large mirror is placed on the floor.

Among the other notable features are a colossal stucco statue of St. Ignatius, as well as the vibrant-colored marbles, extensive gilding, and opulently ornamented altars. The church welcomes visitors free of charge and is typically tranquil. It overlooks the eponymous Loyola square, one of the nicest in Rome, which is also an attraction in its own right.
Piazza di Trevi & Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Square & Trevi Fountain)

7) Piazza di Trevi & Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Square & Trevi Fountain) (must see)

A visit to Rome would be incomplete without witnessing the magnificent marble masterpiece of the Trevi Fountain. Throughout the day, the small Piazza di Trevi is bustling with crowds of visitors eager to behold this iconic attraction. Interestingly, a quick glance may lead one to believe that the fountain was constructed at the heart of the city, but in reality, it was the city that developed around the fountain.

Designed by architect Nicola Salvi in the 18th century, the fountain took an impressive 30 years to complete. Unfortunately, Salvi passed away midway through the project, never witnessing its full realization. One notable aspect of this fountain, among many others, is the striking contrast between its grandeur and the narrow alleyways and tiny squares that surround it. This intentional contrast serves to further impress visitors who are left in awe of such beauty.

The focal point of the Trevi Fountain ensemble is the statue of Oceanus riding in a chariot shaped like an oyster shell, pulled by two horses and guided by Tritons. One horse remains calm while the other prances, symbolizing the contrasting nature of the sea. On one side of Oceanus stands the statue of Abundance holding an urn, while on the other side, Salubrity holds a cup for a snake to drink from. Above the statues, a bas-relief depicts the legend of a young virgin who led Roman technicians to the water source feeding the aqueduct.

Every day, a considerable sum of money (approximately €3,000 worth of coins) is thrown into the Trevi Fountain for good luck. If you wish to partake in this tradition and have spare change, stand with your back to the fountain and toss a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand. The police ensure that this money is not taken by anyone and it is collected by municipal authorities for charitable purposes.

The surrounding piazza is also home to charming shops, souvenir stalls, delightful restaurants offering pizza and pasta, and enticing ice cream parlors. It is a lovely place to spend some time, immersing yourself in the ambiance of the area.

Why You Should Visit:
This marble wonder has to be seen in person to really appreciate its size and beauty.
Great walking distance from Piazza Navona, The Pantheon and, in reality, mostly everything.

The fountain holds particular allure at night, especially after 10pm when it is beautifully illuminated and the crowds dissipate, allowing you to enjoy the site almost exclusively.
Gelato di San Crispino

8) Gelato di San Crispino

One of the premier ice cream shops in Rome, Gelato di San Crispino offers an extensive array of flavors that vary with the seasons. The shop takes great pride in the purity of its gelato, utilizing high-quality ingredients while abstaining from artificial preservatives, chemical emulsifiers, and pre-prepared or frozen foods. Engage in conversation with the knowledgeable staff, and you'll discover that each individually sealed container of gelato is stored at the ideal temperature, depending on whether it contains fruit, spices, or chocolate. With a polite request, you may even have the opportunity to sample some unique and unconventional flavors.

Situated just a few blocks away from the renowned Trevi Fountain, Gelato di San Crispino is a convenient stop during your visit, as the service is prompt. For some, the added allure lies in the fact that the shop was featured in the 2010 Hollywood movie "Eat, Pray, Love" starring Julia Roberts.

Given the wide selection of gelatos available, take your time in choosing a flavor that suits your preferences. Additionally, be sure to explore the delightful sorbets on offer, such as the grapefruit flavor, which strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and tanginess.

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