Friday, January 26, 2007

Piazza di Spagna

Piazza di Spagna holds a special place in my heart as it's where I met my now husband. A popular meeting place by both day and by night, The Spanish Steps are one of the most famous sights in Rome.

By day the piazza is full of tourists taking a second to rest their feet, take a pause from shopping (it's located at the end of the fabulous and very expensive Via Condotti- home to fashion houses such as Gucci, Prada and Christian Dior) or simply to take in the views.

In the evening it transforms into a social gathering point for both Italians and tourists. You are likely to find young Italian men playing guitar, singing and trying their luck with the tourists. One of the most common phrases you'll hear in this piazza is in fact "Ciao Bella" which means "hi beautiful".

Despite their name, the Spanish Steps were commissioned by a Frenchman Etienne Gueffier who in 1723 tried to link Piazza di Spagna with the French-owned church Trinità dei Monti on the hill above. A century earlier the piazza had been home to the headquarters of the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See giving the name to both the steps and the square.

The Museo Keats-Shelley, the lodgings where the poet John keats died in 1821, is also located in the piazza.

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