Piazza di Spagna, or the Spanish Steps
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Architect Alessandro Specchi
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Location Rome, Italy   map
Date 1721 to 1725   timeline
Building Type plaza, stairway
 Construction System cut stone bearing masonry
Climate mild
Context urban
Style Italian Baroque
Notes Piazza at the foot of the Spanish Steps, "Scalla di Spagna", also known as the "Scalinata della Trinita dei Monti". Design of the steps finished by Francesco de Sanctis after generations of controversy. The church at the top of the Steps is the Trinita dei Monti, founded by the French in 1495.


Photo, looking down the steps

Photo, looking up the steps

Photo, historical


Plan Drawing


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Discussion Piazza di Spagna, or the Spanish Steps Commentary

"The Spanish Stairs were built to unite Via del Babuino (the easternmost of the three main arteries radiating into the city from the Piazza del Popolo) with Via Felice, the first great street planned by Sixtus V (1585). Their junction is crossed at an approximately right angle by Via Condotti, which defines the direction toward St. Peter's and the Vatican. Several projects were made between 1717 and 1720, also by Alessandro Specchi, whose ideas were later assimilated by the chosen architect of the Stairs, Francesco de Sanctis. The very rich and varied solution ultimately employed by De Sanctis (1723-26) is based on a simple doubling in depth of the central theme from the Ripetta: a protruding volume flanked by convex stairs and a straight flight in front. The upper unit presents the theme in its basic form; the lower constitutes an articulate and lively variation."

— Christian Norberg-Schulz. Late Baroque and Rococo Architecture. p28.

Sources on Piazza di Spagna, or the Spanish Steps

Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. LC 79-18045. NA2760.C46. perspective drawing, p37. — A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at Amazon.com

Howard Davis. Slides from photographer's collection. PCD.2260.1012.1537.011. PCD.2260.1012.1537.012

Pattrick Nuttgens. The Story of Architecture. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall exterior photo from base of steps, p212.

Christian Norberg-Shultz. Late Baroque and Rococo Architecture. New York: Electa/Rizzoli, 1980. ISBN 0-8478-0475-5. LC 82-62750. NA590.N63. plan, p19. discussion, p28.

Duane Siegrist, University of Oregon. Slide from photographer's collection, July 1993. PCD.3236.1011.0837.023.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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