Gracefully designed and good for a rest and people watching, I admit I was not overwhelmed by the Spanish Steps the first time I saw them. There seemed to be a lot of traffic, a lot of chaos, and too much grime and rubbish.
However, after staying nearby and passing through the area everyday, along with my progressive understanding that the glory of modern Rome is its very chaos and grime; I came to love them. I was there in spring, and lovely purple-pink flowers dotted the steps. The fountain, Barcaccia, the sinking boat at the foot of the steps soon became a welcoming sight, like a friend always just happily burbling away no matter what mayhem is going on nearby.
The infamous steps lead up to a church, the Trinita dei Monti. From here it’s an easy walk around the Gallery Borghese and the Borghese Gardens, a more restful place but still filled with the energy of Rome. At the base of the steps, there are several cafes clinging on to the elegance of days passed. One is the Caffe Greco, dating from 1760 and famous for having had Casanova as a regular customer. It’s all gilt and velvet and does bring to mind adventures of an amorous nature. Or at least a more glittering and decadent life – especially when the bill arrives. Drink your coffee standing at the bar to cut the cost and still get the ambience. The poet Keats was also a regular here and in the Piazza di Spagna is the house where he died, now a museum to the writer.