Piazza di Spagna was for centuries the focus of the artistic and literary life of Rome. The Piazza is the place which perhaps best characterises the opulent air of Rome, since it is in the pedestrian streets which lead from it down to the Corso, that the most elegant shops are to be found, and some of the grandest Roman hotels are nearby.
The famous Spanish Steps provide a theatrical background to the Piazza, always filled with tourists and Romans. Sweeping down in a cascade of balustrades and balconies, in the XIX century the Steps were the hangout of young hopefuls waiting to be chosen as artists’ models. Nowadays the scene is not much changed, with the steps providing the venue for international posing and flirting late into the summer nights.
At the top is the Trinità dei Monti, a largely XVI century church begun in 1493 by Louis XII. Its rose-coloured Baroque facade overlooks the rest of Rome from its hilltop site, and has a double staircase by Domenico Fontana. It’s worth clambering up just for the views, but do look inside for a couple of works by Daniele da Volterra and Michelangelo.