Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spanish Steps

In the 17th century the French owners of Trinita dei Monti decided to link the church (in the picture) with Piazza di Spagna by building a magnificent new flight of steps. Before constructing them they planned to place an equestrian statue of King Louis XIV at the top. However Pope Alexander VII Chigi was not happy  at the prospect of erecting a statue of a French monarch in the papal city; the arguments continued until the 1720s when an Italian architect, Francesco de Sanctis, produced a design that satisfied both parties. 
The steps completed in 1726, combine straight sections, curves and terraces to create one of Rome's dramatic, distinctive and romantic landmarks. 
When the Victorian novelist Charles Dickens visited the eternal city, he reported that the Spanish Steps were the meeting place for artists' models, who would dress up in colourful traditional costumes, hoping to catch the attention of a wealthy artist.   

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