Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps
We had covered a lot of ground in one day (Tuesday, September 30), 2013, but we didn’t come to Rome to sit around.
We started our day at “D”, the Pantheon. From there we had walked southeast, to “B”, the Colosseum, and then just to the north, “C”, to San Pietro in Vincole. After all of that walking, we were hot and tired, but we didn’t come to Rome to sit around. We walked back to our hotel, changed clothes, and then went in search of the Trevi Fountain, “E”.
From the streets that intersected our home base piazza, Piazza Della Rotonda, there were signs posted that pointed the way to many of Rome’s most visited sites. One of these was the Trevi Fountain. We located the sign, and then set out to follow the arrows, heading east.
By this time it was mid-afternoon and the winding streets of the city center were crowded. The smell of coffee and a million different foods was in the air, and as we walked we could hear conversations going on around us in so many different languages. It was only day two, but we were officially in love with Rome, and with the Italian language. I began to wish that I’d studied a little harder before coming here.
The Italians seem to be somewhat obsessed with Pinnochio. He even had his own shop:
We reached the Trevi Fountain in less than half an hour. The fountain itself was beautiful, but half the fun really was getting there. Once there, the crowd made it a little bit difficult to enjoy the beauty of the site. People were jockying for position for the best photo op, and also to throw a coin into the fountain, the proper form being to face away from the fountain, and toss the coin over your left shoulder using your right hand. If you make your shot, so the legend goes, you will return to Rome someday. I was somewhat afraid that I might take someone’s eye out, so I didn’t attempt the toss.
(From what I understand, the location of the fountain is the ending point for one of the city’s ancient aquaducts, the Acqua Vergine. The ancient Romans had an amazing acquaduct system delivering fresh water into the city from locations that were many miles outside the city walls. In 538 AD the Goth invaders cut off the acquaducts, and the rest, as they say, is history.)
Because of the crowd, I really couldn’t get a picture that did the site justice. It’s in a very small area that is bordered on three sides by buildings. But someone was kind enough to take this one of Glenn and I:
We spent a few minutes enjoying the fountain, and then followed the signs to the Spanish Steps, another iconic spot in the heart of Rome. We were covering a lot of ground on foot.
The Spanish Steps were not as impressive to me as the Trevi Fountain was. From everything that you read, it’s one of those spots that they say you *HAVE* to go see, yet when you get there, you have a vague sense that it’s somewhat overrated. At least that was my experience. But still, we were in Rome, and just to be there was fantastic.
Aside from the steps themselves, the piazza where they are located is home to a few things worth mentioning. The steps got their name due to their location near the Palazzo di Spagna, the home of the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican. Located nearby is the home of the English poet John Keats, who resided there until 1821 (today it is a museum). And here we came across another famous Bernini fountain, the “Fontana della Barcaccia” aka, the “Fountain of the Old Boat” (completed in 1627). I loved it.
There was a very interesting monument not to far to the left of the fountain. This was the Column of the Immaculate Conception, completed in 1857, and featuring the Virgin Mary.
The longer that we hung around Piazza di Spagna, the more I liked it.
Eventually we decided to leave though, and go have some dinner. Tired and footsore from all of the walking, we hired a carriage to get us back to Piazza della Rotonda, but decided to take the long way home. I tried to get some photos of all of the sites that we passed, but in the failing light they weren’t too great. Still, it was a spectacular twilight carriage ride through the heart of ancient Rome.
Oh, and we passed the “Mussolini Balcony”, the spot where the infamous dictator used to address the Roman crowds back in the Fascist heyday:
Sure, he looks happy here, but trust me, he came to a bad end.
But I do indeed digress.
At any rate, wow, we had certainly packed a lot into Day Two! There had been the Colosseum, St. Peter in Chains, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps, and a lot of winding streets in between. It had been a truly memorable day. Our carriage ride ended back our favorite piazza, where we thanked our driver for a great tour and said goodnight to him. With our last few ounces of energy, we strolled over to Piazza Navano for a bite, and then back to Piazza della Rotonda for some wine and people-watching. We couldn’t have planned a better day. Every minute that we spent in Rome made us love it even more.