The piazza, church and famous Scalinata Spagna (Spanish Steps) have long provided a gathering place for foreigners. Built with a legacy from the French in 1725, but named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See (which is still located in the piazza), the steps lead to the French church, Trinit? dei Monti. In the 18th century the most beautiful women and men of Italy gathered here, waiting to be chosen as an artist's model. In May each year the steps are decorated with pink azaleas. lf you can't manage the steps there's a lift to the top outside the Spanish Steps metro station. It might look like the perfect spot for a picnic, but don't get too enthusiastic.
Theoretically you are not allowed to eat whilst sitting on the steps. The municipai police who patrol the area can be quite strict, and transgressors can be fined. lt's all aimed at keeping the steps clean after a major restoration in 1995-96, but the police would do better to catch the vandals who are defacing Rome's monuments with graffiti.In the piazza is the boat-shaped fountain called the Barcaccia, believed to be by Pietro Bernini, father of the famous Gian Lorenzo. The Viale della Trinit? dei Monti at the top of the steps leads to the Pincio. Half way along the road on the right is the Villa Medici, perhaps Rome's best piece of real estate with undoubtedly one of the city's best views.