Romantic centre of 19th Rome, already in the 15th century took a very important business role for the presence of hotels and houses inhabited by foreigners, attracted in this area for the presence of Spanish and French delegations.
The Cardinal Mazzarino in the middle of 1600 decided to unify the two poles of Piazza di Francia and Piazza di Spagna. The works were belated for a series of indecisions and began under Pope Innocent XIII (first decades of the 18th century).
The pope decided for the project by Francesco De Santis who realized what was afterward called the most famous “show of architecture” in the world. The architect was skilled in combining the irregularity and asymmetry of the place in a composition completely unified.
The aim of De Santis was to realize a flight of steps as a meeting point for the citizens. And still today, the steps are a meeting place and therefore is called “the open-air salon of Rome”.
The fountain by Pietro Bernini, Gian Lorenzo’s father, called “Barcaccia”, is at the bottom of the famous Spanish steps. In ancient times a small naumachia (naval stadium) stood in this place, and the shape of this fountain would have recalled the no longer existing structure.
The church of Trinità dei Monti, founded in 1495, is in a wonderful position from which you can see one of the most beautiful views of Rome. Inside it are two works by Daniele da Volterra, a pupil of Michelangelo.