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Spanish Steps, Rome

The Piazza di Spagna or Spanish Square is connected to a French church (Trinità dei Monti) on top of the hill via a long staircase, known as the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti or Spanish Steps. The idea of connecting the church with the square below originates from the 17th century, when the French also planned a statue of King Louis XIV of France at the top of the staircase. Papal opposition caused the plans to be shelved until 1723, when the monumental staircase was built without the statue. Pope Innocent XIII appointed the Italian architect Francisco de Sanctis. He presented a design that satisfied both the French and the papacy. The elegant staircase consists of 137 steps over twelve different flights. View from Spanish Steps in RomeIt has an irregular albeit symmetric structure. It is especially beautiful in May, when it is decorated with azaleas. The steps are usually very crowded; it attracts tourists as well as locals who use it as a gathering place.