November 03, 2015 2 min read
Constructed between 1723 and 1725, the Spanish Steps are one of the must-see landmarks in central Rome. Easily one of the most famous staircases in the world, The Spanish Steps were built to solve a problem facing the engineers responsible for maintaining the Italian capital. During the 18th century, planners were attempting to unite two of the main streets running through Rome, the Via del Baubino and the Via Feliece.
The issue was a tricky one, and many who were charged with the task came up unable to find an adequate solution. Finally, it was the architect Francesco de Sanctis, at the time not at all famous, who came up with the desired solution. Rather than creating a roadway, which was difficult given the vastly different altitudes of these two roads, he extended the area and created a grand staircase instead.
The resulting structure consists of 138 steps that fan outward in an appealing fashion, making the stairs a thing of beauty, not just utility. The staircase is the longest and widest of its kind in all of Europe, and because it was well constructed, it's still in great shape hundreds of years after it was first constructed.
Taking its name from the Piazza de Spagna, located at the bottom of the staircase, it's interesting name has caused wonder in tourists for years. Moreover, its inclusion in such classic films as "Roman Holiday" with film great Audrey Hepburn has helped to make it iconic even to those who have not seen it for themselves.
In addition to the 138 stone staircase treads and risers, the famous steps feature a wide double balustrade on the left and right, separating the walkway into three parts. The significant stone staircase newels have been used as a model for many smaller structures the world over, and so long as it continues to be a landmark, are likely to continue to do so.
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