Don’t be us.
You may have seen us at the Trevi Fountain in the summer of 2014. We were the Americans with confused looks on our faces, because we had not done our research. If we had, we would have known the fountain was closed for renovations. (In our defense, we hadn’t actually planned to visit Trevi and didn’t expect to have time to make it there.) That restoration began just before our visit (in June 2014) and has had its completion date extended a few times. According to Tourismo Roma, there will be an inauguration of the renovated classic on 3 November 2015. Finally!
However, renovations continue across the Eternal City, and next up are the Spanish Steps. Work is now underway and is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2016. The staircase will be closed entirely, with portions being open in December for the Catholic Holy Year of Mercy. Italian jewelry house Bulgari has donated 1.5 million Euros to clean and resurface the marble staircase, similar to Fendi’s 2+-million Euro Fendi for Fountains project to restore Trevi and Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona.
The Steps were last restored in 1995, but Roman officials say heavy pedestrian traffic and invasive weeds have taken a toll. Although Trip Advisor ranks the Spanish Steps as #99 out of nearly one thousand things to do in Rome, it is the #1 photo op in town. According to Google’s Panaramio tool, which tracks the locations of photos uploaded and shared using the service, the Spanish Stairs and Piazza di Spagna is the single most photographed attraction in all of Italy (as of 2014).
For now, any dreams of playing Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant at the iconic site will have to wait. There are still plenty of great sights at the top of the Steps though, where the Piazza di Spagna and stunning Trinita dei Monti Renaissance church (which was also recently renovated) offer astounding city views. Plus, soon you’ll be able to visit Fontana di Trevi, too!