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).
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