Rome Guide


For a complete presentation, please visit the specific pages on the streets of the quarter:

Rome visitors never cease to be delighted and surprised by Piazza di Spagna. It owes its name to the Spanish Embassy, the first to be permanently established in Rome, in Palazzo Spagna by Antonio del Grande (1647). The square was completed with the building of the Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinita’ dei Monti) in 1725. Designed by the Italian architect Francesco De Santis, the project was financed by King Louis XV of France.

The striking architecture of the area was designed by Pope Sixtus V, a renowned town planner of the time. Through the centuries, millions of visitors have walked the Spanish Steps and admired their timeless beauty.

The Spanish Steps consist of 12 flights of travertine steps of varying widths, leading up to the Church of Trinità dei Monti. Every year, in May, the steps are decorated with pink azaleas, making this month a delightful time to visit. While most visitors enjoy climbing the steps, for those who prefer an easier route up, there is a lift/elevator outside of the metro station.


"Three Coins" (Vicolo del Forno): A one bedroom attic with ample sitting-dining room, and a panoramic patio overlooking old Rome's roofs and the Trevi Fountain (2-3 persons).

"Valentino" (Via Sistina): an upscale panoramic topfloor apt., with master bedroom, sitting room, separate dining room, two bathrooms, a patio and a large terrace overlooking all Rome (2-3 persons).

"Leonardo" (Via della Croce), a three bedroom, sitting room, 2 bathrooms, terrace apartment in an 18th century palazzo (2-7 persons).

"Anita" (Via delle Carrozze): a large upscale suite with three bedrooms, sitting-dining room, three bathrooms, large kitchen, remarkably equipped (3-6 persons).

"Regina" (Via San Giacomo): a large upscale suite with three bedrooms, sitting room, separate dining room, three bathrooms, large roof garden, balconies (3-6 persons).

In the piazza at the bottom of the Spanish Steps is the 17th century Fountain of the Old Boat (Fontana della Barcaccia), spouting water as she sinks. This fountain, by Pietro Bernini, supposedly marks the place where a large barge came to rest when the River Tiber overflowed its banks.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the area surrounding and including the Spanish Steps became a popular visiting point for wealthy people making the Grand Tour of Europe.
All rich foreign travellers were given honorary British citizenship and treated as noble folk. This made it easy for locals to make money from them by offering their services.

What a Rom...antic place! The most beautiful steps in the world

The term "Er ghetto de l’inglesi" - literally, “the English ghetto” - was the name given to this area at the time, referring both to the wealthy English who made the area their home as well to the penniless English artists and writers.

Via Condotti

Via Condotti, the fashionable, elegant street facing the Spanish Steps, is a shopper’s paradise. It is also a wonderful vantage point for viewing the Steps and Church of Trinita' dei Monti. As you approach the Steps walking along Via Condotti, you can't help being attracted by the awesome and imaginative shapes of the Steps and of the Church, which resembles a spaceship about to take off. The atmosphere is quintessentially Roman: teens chatting on their "telefonini" (mobile phones), tourists visiting the shops, business people on their way to meetings and chic Roman women catching up with their errands.

You will find here the famed Caffè Greco, founded in 1760, whose past customers include Casanova, Keats, Goethe, Gogol, Werner, Stendhal, Liszt, Byron, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Buffalo Bill and the mad King Ludwig of Bavaria. The Caffè’s interior is elegantly furnished with antiques, paintings and original dedicated documents of its famous customers.

To the left of the Steps, the classic Babington’s Tea Room, founded in 1896, offers an elegant interior, a wide selection of teas and pastries, and waiters in traditional English attire.

For those who love fashion, Via Condotti is no disappointment! Valentino, Bulgari, Gianni Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Fendi and Jean-Paul Gauthier are just a few of the designer boutiques to be found here.

Via Condotti

Via Condotti: the Caffè Greco

Church of Trinità dei Monti

At the end of the steps you find the scenic Franciscan Church of Trinità dei Monti, by architects Carlo Maderno and Domenico Fontana, with in front the Sallustian Obelisk, taken from the ancient Sallustian Gardens.
John Keats and Percy B. Shelley lived in the palazzo to the right of the Steps, and their home is presently a memorial museum.

In the photo to the right you see a view of the quarter from the windows of the Franciscan nuns of the Church. In the background you can see the Church of San Carlo al Corso, and behind it St. Peter.

View from the windows of the nuns of the convent adjoining the Church of Trinita' dei Monti.

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), Italy’s most famous fountain, is situated nearby, in the back of Palazzo Poli, facing a little square. The fountain became a household name after Fellini’s movie “La Dolce Vita,” where Anita Ekberg was shown frolicking in the water.

A masterpiece of architecture and sculpture, the Trevi Fountain dates back to ancient Rome. Rebuilt many times throughout the millennia, it was completed by Nicola Salvi between 1732 and 1751. The Fountain is a symbolic and fanciful celebration of the Mediterranean civilization. The rushing waters come from the Acqua Vergine aqueduct, which was commissioned by Agrippa—a general of Augustus—in 19 BC.

Trevi Fountain

The aqueduct transports the water from the Salone springs, 19 miles away from the city. It is named after the young girl (or virgin) who supposedly took Agrippa’s thirsty soldiers to its source. The name Trevi (from “trivium”) literally means three ways: the fountain was constructed at the intersection of three streets.

Legend has it that throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain will ensure your return to Rome. (It is important that you do so by turning away from the fountain and tossing the coin over your shoulder.)

For a more detailed presentation of the fountain, with many photos, please visit its page.

Via del Babuino

Via del Babuino (Baboon Street) leads from the Spanish Steps to the Piazza del Popolo square, and to the Borghese Gardens. It takes its name from an ancient Roman statue adorning a 16th century fountain that witty Romans found so ugly that they likened it to a baboon.


The statue of the Babuino (Baboon)

Entrance of the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Via dei Greci

Two other famous streets (Via del Corso e Via di Ripetta) lead to Piazza del Popolo.
These three streets form the Tridente and, together with those intersecting them (Via della Croce, Via Margutta etc.), comprise a neighbourhood of art houses, antique shops, craftsmen and artists. Poussin and Wagner lived here. On Via dei Greci you will find Santa Cecilia, Rome’s most famous conservatory of music, and the Lion Bookshop, the oldest English bookshop in Rome.

Piazza del Popolo

The immense and elegant Piazza del Popolo contains the Northern gate of ancient Rome (known as the Porta del Popolo). In the centre of the Piazza, is a 3000 year-old Egyptian obelisk taken from the Circus Maximus, surrounded by four lions. The square was designed by the Franco-Italian architect, Giuseppe Valadier—architect to Napoleon— in the early 19th century. There are three churches in the Piazza, the most important of which is Santa Maria al Popolo, which contains paintings by Caravaggio and other important artists. The twin Baroque churches, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesano are also worth a visit.

You will also find in the Piazza, two fashionable cafés, Rosati and Canova. Rosati is a meeting point for Rome’s literati, artists and theatre-folk. The stylish Canova was a favourite of Fellini.

Piazza del Popolo seen from the Pincio
(Borghese Gardens)








Just above the Piazza is the Pincio Garden, one of the oldest parts of the renowned Borghese Gardens. From here, you have the best views of Rome at sunset. The garden is separated from the gardens of the Villa Borghese by ancient walls, and consists of a number of formal, tree-lined avenues.

Palace for the Defense of the Holy Faith

Piazza di Spagna: Collegio De Propaganda Fide

Gian Lorenzo Bernini's house

In this quarter you will also find the Spanish Embassy (after which the Steps and Piazza are named). You will also find Francesco Borromini’s Palace for the Defense of the Holy Faith (Palazzo di Propaganda Fide) and, perhaps surprisingly, a MacDonald’s. This fast food emporium is quite unlike any other! Its elegant interior has replica frescoes, and is preceded by a Roman mosaic at the entrance. It is worth noting that MacDonald’s houses the only washrooms in the area.

On Via della Mercede you will find the home of Borromini’s great rival, Gianlorenzo Bernini. Adjacent to Bernini’s home is the charming church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte.

Mausoleum of Augustus

Finally, just after Via del Corso, on the way to the Tiber, you will find the Mausoleum of Augustus, a huge, circular grave of the emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Nearby, encased in glass, is the magnificent Ara Pacis, or Altar of Peace, one of the most artistically distinguished monuments of ancient Rome. It was erected in 9 BC to celebrate the wealth and security brought by Augustus’ victories in Spain and Gaul. It was rebuilt from ancient fragments amassed during a time-consuming and difficult excavation.

Mausoleum of Augustus









To visit the other quarters, please go to: