Ah Piazza di Spagna…always a hit on any EA educational tour.

The Piazza di Spagna is one of the most popular meeting spots in all of Rome. With a lovely church at the top, an obelisk, and that famous set of stairs it makes for some great photographs! The visually pleasing area is located in the heart of Rome and surrounded by 18th century buildings. The long, triangular square is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. During the 17th century, the area surrounding the Embassy was considered Spanish territory hence the name.

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As I mentioned, the beautiful French church, Trinità dei Monti, sits at the top of the hill providing a great backdrop. Its location makes it a well-known landmark in Rome offering splendid views of the capital. Towards the latter half of the 15th century only a small chapel occupied the spot. However, in 1495, King Louis XII commissioned the erection of a greater church. Construction began in 1502 but took many decades to complete. It wasn’t until 1585 that it was sanctified by Pope Sixtus V. The church is in both the Gothic and Renaissance style with two bell towers. Inside, the church is quiet with several chapels dedicated to various people. Keep an eye out for the works by Daniele da Volterra, who was a pupil of Michelangelo.

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The obelisk just outside the church was originally located in the Gardens of Sallust. In 1788, it was moved to its current location on request of Pope Pius VI. The hieroglyphs were copied from the obelisk in the Piazza del Popolo.

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The crown jewel of the Piazza di Spagna though is the Spanish Steps themselves. Built on the request of Innocent XII, the monumental steps were designed by Italian architect Francesco de Sanctis and connect the church with the square below.  Started in 1723, the elegant staircase consists of twelve flights of varying width with a total of 137 steps. The steps become very crowded in the warmer months, and are particularly stunning come May when they’re decorated with an assortment of flowers in full bloom. The architecture of the surrounding buildings is playfully lost beneath this magnificent array of color.

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With its characteristic layout, Piazza di Spagna is one of the most majestic examples of Roman Baroque style you have the chance to see on your student tour. Its beauty continues to attract locals, tourists, artists, and writers alike and is adored by people all over the world.

I encourage you to take some free time to sit and admire the simplistic beauty that surrounds you.

Have a great weekend,

Kate.