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History

Spanish Steps in Roman Travertine


May 4, 2021

A long-lived marriage, the one between the most famous staircase in the world and Roman Travertine, which has lasted for almost 3 centuries. In 2025 the staircase that connects Piazza di Spagna to Trinità dei Monti will turn 300 years after its inauguration, which took place during the Jubilee of 1725.

First conceived by the famous Cardinal Mazarin and designed in 1660, the staircase was built only 60 years later, due to the death of Mazarin. The new project began with Pope Benedict XIII, who wanted to carry it out on the occasion of the Jubilee. Commissioned by Cardinal Pierre Guérin de Tencin and designed by a pair of renowned architects, Alessandro Specchi and Francesco De Sanctis, it served to connect the square (now Piazza di Spagna) to the church of Trinità Dei Monti. 135 steps, interrupted by some “garden terraces”, which in spring are historically embellished with azalea flowers, an ancient tradition of Rome.

The staircase was made entirely out of Roman Travertine stone, for the elegance of the stone, for its longevity and resistance to atmospheric phenomena. The challenge was to ensure a safe staircase that avoided the sliding effect. Due to Roman Travertine being not only naturally anti-slip, but also resistant to weather conditions and a durable stone, it was considered the right choice for the long-lasting staircase.

For over 3 centuries the staircase was used by millions of citizens and tourists, photographed billions of times, used for events and fashion shows. A jewel of elegance in the heart of Rome.

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