Italy is home to some of the most famous landmarks and structures in the world. They are one of the reasons why so many people flock to Italy on their vacation. One of the most iconic landmarks in Italy is the Spanish Steps and tourists love to have photographs taken at this famous spot. Here are 12 interesting facts about the Spanish Steps in Rome.

  1. There are 135 steps although many people mistake the drainage system as the first step.
  2. They were built between 1723 and 1725.
  3. Francesco de Sanctis designed the steps and the project was financed by Etienne Gueffer.
  4. The Piazza di Spagna is at the base of the top and the stairs climb to Piazza Trinita dei Monti, the main structure of which is the Trinita dei Monti church.
  5. The reason the Piassa di Spagna is called this is because the Spanish Embassy had their headquarters at the base. The Spanish theme was then carried over to the name of the steps.
  6. The steps were built to connect the Spanish Embassy to the Trinita dei Monti Church which was, at that time, under the patronage of the King of France.
  7. At the base of the steps is the Fontana della Baraccia which translates at the ‘Fountain of the Ugly Boat’.
  8. The fountain is based on a legend about a fishing boat that was carried away during a flood of the River Tiber and landed in that spot.
  9. Looming over the Spanish Steps is an obelisk. This is a copy of the Flaminian Obelisk which was built for Pharaoh Rameses II over 3,200 years ago.
  10. The home of the English poet John Keats is to the right of the steps. It is where he lived and died in 1821. The house is now a museum that is dedicated to the poet’s memory and is filled with memorabilia from the English Romantic generation.
  11. The Spanish Steps became famous to Americans when they featured in the 1953 movie ‘Roman Holiday’, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.
  12. Several steps were damaged in 2007 when a drunken man drove a Toyota Celica down the Spanish Steps. The man was arrested.
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