The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Spagna) sweep down in a cascade of balustrades and balconies to Piazza di Spagna. In the nineteenth century the steps were the hangout of young hopefuls waiting to be chosen as artists’ models, and nowadays the scene is not much changed, with the steps providing the venue for international posing and flirting late into the summer nights. The only Spanish feature about them, incidentally, is the fact that they lead down to the Spanish Embassy, which also gave the piazza its name.
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Trinità dei Monti
At the top of the Spanish Steps is the Trinità dei Monti, a largely sixteenth-century church designed by Carlo Maderno and paid for by the French king. Its rose-coloured Baroque facade overlooks the rest of Rome from its hilltop site, and it’s worth clambering up just for the views. Do look inside for a couple of works by Daniele da Volterra, notably a soft, flowing fresco of the Assumption in the third chapel on the right, which includes a portrait of his teacher Michelangelo, and a Deposition across the nave.