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Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps, Rome Travel Guide

Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps Summary


  • Beautiful area with centuries-old architecture
  • Very pedestrian-friendly and within easy walking distance of the metro
  • Great restaurants and shops, particularly along Via Condotti
  • Home to several iconic structures: Santa Maria del Popolo church, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain
  • Fun nightlife, with an upscale vibe, in the plazas


  • Crowds can be thick, particularly during peak season
  • Most hotels is the area are extremely pricey

What It's Like

The area around Piazza Popolo and the Spanish Steps is one the most luxurious neighborhoods in Rome, with high-end shops, restaurants, and hotels, and of course, plenty of sightseeing opportunities. Part of central Rome, Piazza Popolo is one the of city's largest squares. Designed by Giuseppe Valadier, the square is bordered by the gorgeous twin churches, Santa Maria del Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto, as well as Santa Maria del Popolo; built in the mid-1400s, Santa Maria del Popolo is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in the city. Piazza Popolo is a popular spot for strolling, and sipping coffee at the local cafes, but the scene can become even more lively at night when the numerous bars open their doors. The square is also the site of the main New Year's Eve celebration in Rome.

One of the most iconic places in Rome, the Spanish Steps (all 135 of them) are a popular meeting spot for tourists and Romans (you can tell them apart by what they're doing -- tourists will likely be snapping a billion photographs; Romans will likely be making out). Built in the early 18th century to demonstrate the union between France and Spain (French funds paid for their construction), the Spanish Steps are the starting point of several fashionable streets, such as Via Condotti, lined by luxurious shops and gourmet restaurants.

Where To Stay

In central Rome, Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps is a convenient place to stay; almost everything -- the Trevi Fountain, the Villa Borghese, Piazza Spagna -- is within walking distance, as well as the metro when you're ready to check out other parts of Rome. The downside to the great location is that hotels are pricey (although very luxurious) and at night, the area remains lively and noisy. Those looking for a quieter retreat in the same area may consider the upscale residential neighborhood of Parioli.

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