Why are the Spanish Steps so significant?

The Spanish Steps are one of the most visited tourist spots in all of Rome. Decorated in the Roman Baroque style, the stairs hold great beauty, history, and culture. It has made appearances in artworks, poems, famous films, and countless Instagram posts – listed as one of the most photographed places in the city. But why is this the case? What makes these steps different from any other staircases which are littered throughout the area?

The beginning of the Spanish Steps

Despite the name, the steps were actually not constructed by the Spanish. The Spanish part of the name comes from the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, which was located at the base square Piazza di Spagna, which translates to the Spanish Square. The stairs were actually made by Étienne Gueffier, a French diplomat. They were completed in 1724 and instantly became an attraction.

It’s linked with the Art world

The steps became a wonderland for beauty and creativity after many appearances in famous films, poems, and artworks. Probably the most well-known film was the 1950s ‘Roman Holiday’ starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. During the 18th century, the steps became a meeting place for local artists due to its inspirational beauty. After the artists arrive, the crowds gathering in this spot started to fill with more and more beautiful people. The high concentration of pretty gals and guys were wannabe models and flooded the area due to the artists and photographers using the steps as their muse. The budding models all hoping they would be the one captured in a photograph or painting that displayed their beauty with the stairs as their backdrop.

What activities you can do at Spanish Steps

  • Climb to the top

    There are 138 steps up to the top, and although this may seem a bit daunting, it is not a difficult climb for most travellers. With several wide space levels along the way, the steps allow you to take a break while climbing to enjoy the view.

  • Sip on a coffee

    At the base of the steps in the famous Piazza di Spagna, home to many beautiful decorations, Fontana della Barcaccia, and some local shops. Sit outside on the classic European café tables and sip on a coffee while you listen to the trickling sound of water from the beautiful fountain nearby.

  • Kick back and relax on the steps

    One of the best activities to do at the steps is to simply relax at them. The common spot to relax is on the steps themselves, with both locals and tourists people watching, drawing, reading, or simply soaking up the sun.

  • Get your portrait done

    To this day the steps are still littered with artists, with many offering portrait paintings for tourists interested. As they do this every day, the artists are quick and easy, handing you a stunning masterpiece in less than half an hour.

Be sure to check out our Historical Rome Walking Tour today!

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