The Spanish Steps are one of the most elegant places in Rome, particularly popular both during the day and in the evening, when the windows of refined boutiques by Gucci, Bulgari and Valentino shine and while on the streets artists and jugglers are performing.
Spanish Steps are located at the foot of the hill of the Pincio, which in the modern age was just a suburban area: up to late seventeenth century, they served as a staging point for horses, which leaded in Rome the increasing number of foreign travelers, passing from Porta del Popolo, a little further to the north.
From the seventeenth century the square underwent a substantial makeover, entrusted to the architect Antonio Del Grande: the headquarters building of the Embassy of Spain, from 1647 placed on the south side of the square, was improved with a majestic facade visible till today, despite changes made by the Spanish architect Antonio Celles at the end of the eighteenth century.
Since 1857 in front of the Embassy's palace stands the Column of the Immaculate Conception, which laid down the dogma just confirmed three years before: done on purpose of Pope Pius IX, it is a work in polychrome marbles by architect Luigi Poletti.
You will also find tbe Collegio of Propaganda Fide hail from seventeenth century that was built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and finished by Francesco Borromini. At one side rises up the Three Wise Men's Oratory, originally built by Bernini in 1633, then demolished and rebuilt by Borromini.
At the sides of the magnificent stairway of Trinità dei Monti you can admire two twins arenas: the right one, called Casina Rossa, homed the british poet John Keats during his last days; the other is characterized by the presence of Babington's tea room, already in use in 1893.
The father of the more famous Gian Lorenzo, Pietro Bernini, made the famous fountain at the center of the Spanish Steps, called "La Barcaccia" for its seamanship form: the bees engraved on the fountain refer to the Barberini family, from which came the then Pope Urban VIII.