The Spanish Steps in the Campo Marzio district are one of Rome’s post popular tourist spots, so it will be busy all the time unless you go really early in the morning. I made them part of my jogging route as there’s something very cool about running up and down them early in morning when there’s no-one else around.
Be warned that as of 2019 you can no longer sit down on the steps, unless you want to get a €450 fine! Audrey Hepburn should definitely have got a ticket for littering in Roman Holiday though (at 1.00).
City map here.
Unbelievably there’s a great place to eat near the Spanish steps that’s not a tourist trap…
Fiaschetteria Beltramme (Intermediate A), 39 Via della Croce
This classic trattoria has been serving trad Roman dishes since 1889. It’s best to get here early at about 7.30 to beat the crowds because they don’t take reservations. There are several tables set for four but as a lone diner I was seated at a large table laid for eight which I shared with a Japanese and American couple, two Finns and a German, all of whom turned out to be foodies who like me had tracked the place down. Conversation ranged from secret Roman restaurants and Yorkshire beer to Singaporean cuisine and cured reindeer meat. It’s amazing what you can learn through a shared love of food.
To start I had the soup of the day; a stew of chickpeas and pasta hoops in a hearty broth (A). To follow, Pollo alla Romana, three chicken legs stewed with tomatoes , onions and peppers until the meat was falling off the bones, wonderful (A). On the side Carciofo alla Romana (artichoke heart braised with mint, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil), another tasty local classic (B). I had a quartino each of the house white and red with each course and both were very good for table wines. To finish Zabaione (aka Zabaglione)with two chunks of amaretto biscuit, also excellent (A). Total cost €48, very good value considering the location.
Unbeknownst to most people, there is a fun, little known sight down a backstreet near the top of the stairs. Palazzetto Zuccari , aka Casa dei Mostri (Monster House), was built by the famous Baroque artist Federico Zuccari in 1590 as a studio.
The faces on the facade were inspired by the Parco dei Mostri (Monster Park) in the north of Lazio. For a while it was the residence of the exiled queen of Poland.
A sleepy Sunday in Trastevere next!