At the foot of the Spanish Steps is the Fontana della Barcaccia, a natural draw for the throngs of tourists to be photographed against with the Spanish Steps itself as a backdrop.
In English the name translates to “Fountain of the Old Boat” and is so named because it is in the shape of a half-sunken ship with water overflowing its bows. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and was completed in 1627 by Pietro Bernini.
The story behind the ship is that the River Tiber often flooded before the city walls were built and in 1598 there was a particularly bad flooding and the Piazza di Spagna was flooded up to a meter. Once the water withdrew, a boat was left behind in the square. People could fill up their water bottles at the fountain which was pretty awesome!
3. Getting To The Spanish Steps
By Metro take Linea A (red line) and exit at Spagna. The station is right next to the Spanish Steps.
Rome city buses are too big to negotiate the narrow streets around the Spanish Steps, plenty of buses go to Barberini or Piazza del Popolo / Flaminio about a 10 minute walk away.
There are a myriad of Rome hop on, hop off the bus operators, all of which will not stop at the Spanish Steps itself as the buses are too large, but will stop within a 10 minute walk.
A classic Rome walk is to start at the Spanish Steps and end at Piazza Navona visiting the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon on the way. ((ll Talk about Trevi Fountain on my next blog post.)