Piazza di Spagna, Rome The piazza di Spagna is one of the most popular meeting places in Rome. It is also one of the most visually pleasing squares. The combination of a monumental staircase - the famous Spanish Steps, an obelisk and a rosy church draws photographers to the square. Spanish Steps The Piazza di Spagna or Spanish Square is connected to a French church (Trinità dei Monti) on top of the hill via a long staircase, known as the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti or Spanish Steps. The idea of connecting the church with the square below originates from the 17th century, when the French also planned a statue of King Louis XIV of France at the top of the staircase. Papal opposition caused the plans to be shelved until 1723, when the monumental staircase was built without the statue. Pope Innocent XIII appointed the Italian architect Francisco de Sanctis. He presented a design that satisfied both the French and the papacy. The elegant staircase consists of 137 steps over twelve different flights. It has an irregular albeit symmetric structure. It is especially beautiful in May, when it is decorated with azaleas. The steps are usually very crowded; it attracts tourists as well as locals who use it as a gathering place. Piazza di Spagna At the bottom of the Spanish Steps is the Piazza di Spagna or Spanish square. The long, triangular square is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. In the 17th century, the area around the embassy was even considered Spanish territory. Fontana della Barcaccia At the foot of the Spanish Steps is the Fontana della Barcaccia, a sober fountain commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The design, a small boat, was inspired by the flooding of the Tevere in 1598, when a small boat stranded here after the water subsided. Trinità dei Monti The Trinità dei Monti is a beautiful French church located on a hill overlooking the small piazza della Trinità dei Monti. From this square, you have an nice view over Rome. At the end of the 15th century, only a small chapel existed on the hill. In 1495, French King Louis XII commissioned the erection of a new church, replacing the chapel. Construction started in 1502 and dragged on for decades. It was only consecrated in 1585 by Pope Sistus V. The gothic church with a renaissance facade has two bell-towers. Inside, several paintings decorate the different chapels. Among them are two works by Daniele da Volterra, a pupil of Michelangelo.turkeyarena.com Its location on top of the Spanish Steps and the rosy color make the Trinità dei Monti a well-known landmark in Rome. The obelisk just in front of 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 on the Piazza del Popolo. Colonna dell'Immacolata In the southeast part of the square is the Colonna dell'Immacolata (column of the Immaculate conception). It was erected in 1857 to commemorate the dogma of the immaculate conception. The column was found in 1777 under a monastery. It is now topped with a statue of Virgin Mary.