Who parked the boat in the middle of the square?

Piazza di Spagna or the Spanish square is situated in Rome and is very well known to travellers around the world. Most people remember it by the monumental staircase that is the biggest and the widest staircase in Europe. Other stories about this place include how it was divided between the French and the Spanish; about the triangles on the ground, the connection between the church (Trinita de Monti) and Basilica di San Marco…

My first association about Piazza di Spagna is the Fountain of the old boat, of in Italian ‘Fontana della Bracaccia’. Legends say many different things; how after the great inundation of Rome in 1588 one boat was left stuck in the mud at that exact place or how Pope Urban VIII wanted it installed because he was impressed by some boat that was brought by the river. What really happened was that Rome was, at that time, often flooded by the Tiber river (Tevere) and people had to move around the area in boats. The Romans didn’t like the fountain for a long time because that area in the 17th century belonged to Spain. And today, it is still mostly Spanish (the Embassy, the church, even sculptures dedicated to Spanish saints).

La Fontana della Bracaccia

So, who really parked the boat in the middle of the square we don’t know, but it is believed that Pietro Bernini designed the fountain. Pietro Bernini was the son of the famous Bernini that designed the monumental square in front of Basilica di San Marco (Vatican City).

Piazza di Spagna is now flodded with people and tourists taking photos every day throughout the year. During summer many people sit on the stairs resting, soaking up the sun.

Stella – European Travelling Advisor

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8 Responses to “Who parked the boat in the middle of the square?”

  1. February 18, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Hi Stella
    I like the little history lesson, I found that very interesting. I love the photo of the boat fountain. I enjoy reading this post.
    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  2. February 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Stella .. I never knew the background to the Spanish Steps – Spanish Square .. so that’s interesting ..

    I love your title .. Who parked the boat in the middle of the Square?! – it definitely made me want to read your post .. good one….

    Thanks – again .. Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

  3. February 23, 2009 at 3:38 am

    Stella, what a great post. That is the best photo. Thank you for the wonderful posts all the time.
    Dan and Deanna “Marketing Unscrambled”

    PS. You have been tagged. To Learn more visit our other blog at


  4. February 26, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Hi Stella,

    What a great history lesson on “Who parked the boat in the middle of the square” very catchy title. The nice thing is we do know who designed the beautiful fountain that is know a historic landmark. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful picture.

    Many Blessings….
    Hugo and Roxanne
    ~Believe Achieve~

  5. 5 barbershopjerry
    March 3, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Hi Stella
    From a man’s perspective… the person who parked the boat had to be a woman… just kidding. I enjoyed you site, thanks for sharing. Jerry

  6. 6 Stella Stopfer
    March 9, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Hugo and Roxanne,

    nice to see you here :)
    Yes, the title had to be catchy, lol. Thanks for your comment.

    Stella – European Travelling Advisor

  7. 7 Stella Stopfer
    March 9, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Jerry,

    lol! Thanks for the laugh ;)

    Stella – European Travelling Advisor

  8. December 12, 2009 at 6:18 am

    Great, I didn’t heard about this topic until now. Cheers!

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