It was my grandmother who had introduced me to Gregory Peck and also introduced me to using hair gel on my hairs. She insisted that there was no better actor in Hollywood than Gregory Peck and also insisted on using hair gel on my hair to have that sleek look. During childhood, Gregory Peck was no match to our beloved Mithun Chakraborty or for that matter Amitabh Bachchan so I never really paid much attention. But one thing that I did pay attention was to my hair and till date, I keep using a hair gel.
I did start liking the works of Gregory Peck much later in life approximately around college life when I shifted to watching more of classics. I had seen one of his finest work according to me by Gregory Peck which was Roman Holiday but did not remember it much. After my trip to Rome last year I chanced upon Roman Holiday once again and this time it was my turn to introduce Gregory Peck to my seven-year-old daughter.
I was luck by chance that few days in Rome was spent traveling with her without my wife and it was a fun time for her as well as for me. We changed all the rules starting from breakfast to dinner we had tons of pizzas followed by rounds of m&m’s. We traveled like crazy around Italy and the only challenge that I faced was to tie up her hair. For that, I took help from videos on YouTube.
Back in Kolkata when I showed her Roman Holiday it was as if we were reliving our own Roman Holiday but the only difference was that the move was in black and white set in the 1950’s while we traveled in 2017. Luckily visually nothing had changed much and we could relate all the tourist sites that we had visited and the ones shown in the movie.
Our first father-daughter adventure in Rome was a visit to the Spanish Steps and in the movie Roman Holiday this place is shown in all its glory. As we watched the movie my daughter kept shouting with joy and kept on telling her mother that she remembers every bit of it especially drinking from the fountain.
How to Reach?
Using the Metro is the best option as there is a metro station right next to it called Spagna which comes under Metro Line A. It’s located within hundred meters from the tourist attraction thus follow the exit signs to come out the gate located next to the Spanish Steps.
What to See?
Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Boat)
Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps)
Trinità dei Monti (Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti)
Obelisco Sallustiano (Roman obelisk in imitation of Egyptian ones)
The Keats – Shelley House (House of English Poet John Keat)
Babingtons (Tea House)
Colonna dell’Immacolata (Column of the Immaculate Conception)
Fontana della Barcaccia
This fountain located at the base of Spanish Steps was designed by Bernini in 1623 and completed in the year 1627. The design of the fountain resembles a sunken boat with water flowing from seven points. The inspiration of this design was from the flooding of the Tiber river which led to a boat being carried in the waters and finally resting at this spot. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII.
The water source of this fountain comes from the Acqua Vergine which is one of several Roman aqueducts that delivers pure drinking water to Rome built around 19 BC. Thus the water is drinkable and you can see many tourists filling up bottles and some even drinking directly from one of the seven sprouting points. I was bit hesitant but Rianna did try out drinking from the fountain.
Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti
More popularly known as the Spanish Steps is basically 135 stairs that connect Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti. This is a place where you can see tourists sitting and enjoying the Roman summer as this place overlooks the Fontana della Barcaccia. On the top of the stairs you have Trinità dei Monti (Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti) and at the base of the steps on the right, you have The Keats – Shelley House (House of English Poet John Keat).
Construction of these steps started in the year 1723 and opened to the public in the year 1725 and was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. Roman Holiday is not the only movie to feature the steps this iconic landmark has been used in several films as well as in song lyrics.
I would recommend you to just buy some gelatos and enjoy basking in the Roman holiday.
Trinità dei Monti
The Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti is located on top of the Spanish Steps and overlooks both the steps as well as the Fontana della Barcaccia. At the center is the Obelisco Sallustiano. Construction of a church started in the year 1502 by Louis XII of France but was never completed instead the church that we now see was built in the year 1585 by Pope Sixtus V. The church has frescoes by Perino del Vaga which was finished by Federico and Taddeo Zuccari in 1589, Deposition in Grisaille, by Daniele da Volterra, frescoes by Pablo de Céspedes and Cesare Arbasia and much more.
The Roman’s wanted to copy the Egyptian obelisk thus created their own version in Rome and they number thirteen in total. One such obelisk is present at the top of the Spanish Steps. This was not the original location in which the obelisk once stood. It is believed that this obelisk once adorned the private race course of the Roman imperial gardens. In the year 1789 architect Giovanni Antinori erected this obelisk in front of the Trinità dei Monti as per instruction from Pope Pius VI.
The Keats – Shelley House
This house is located at the foot of the Spanish Steps (right side from the ground level). This was the house where once famous English poet John Keats used to reside when he had shifted to Rome. In fact, this is the very house where the poet had breathed his last as he was suffering from tuberculosis and had come to Rome from England hoping for a relief in a warm climate.
This house now has been restored and has been converted into a museum dedicated to Keats and Shelly both of whom had died in Italy.
This museum has a good collection of memorabilia, letters, and paintings. Access to the museum is through ticketing thus plan accordingly.
Babingtons (Tea House)
This is a legendary tea room located on the opposite foot of the Spanish Steps. This place is nearly 125 years old and had opened in the year 1893. You can simply relax and sip a cup of tea along with a collection of pastries as you watch the Fontana della Barcaccia.
The main column is that of Roman origin and was found in the year 1777. It was later shifted here and then modified with the status of The Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception which was sculpted by Giuseppe Obici. At the base of the column there are statues of Patriarch Moses by Jacometti, Prophet Isaiah by Revelli, King David by Tadolini and Seer Ezekiel by Carlo Chelli.
This new version of the column was dedicated in the year 1857 and is located little up from the Spanish Steps.
I hope you have enjoyed the father-daughter trip to Spanish Steps, keep tracking my blog more such blogs on our Italian adventure coming up soon. Till then bon voyage.
Video of The Trip