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Don't get scammed at Spanish Steps!

September 20, 2012

Day 6

 

We are in day 3 of Rome and good that I'm still in love with this place. Honestly, I think Rome is so big that you can't really able to tour around everywhere in months! With our limited days in Rome, we can only make the most out of it.

 

Our main destination for today is the Trevi Foundatin and the Spanish Steps. To get to our desinations, we had to go through a big giant plaza, Piazza del Popolo. At this plaza, we saw our first obelisk (first of the many!). Now, what is an obelisk and why do they exist? An obelisk is a tall, four-sided monument that looks like an enlarged pyramid (upwards). Keep in mind, Romans weren't the first to invent the obelisks. They actually come from Egypt and were used to disperse any negative forces that threaten to accumulate, or simply, just for religious offerings. It is no surprise that the Roman culture has huge influence from Egypt (remember the relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra?). Nowadays, obelisks are just simply architecutral landmarks. 

 

You can clearly see Egyptian engraving in the obelisk. 

The road to the Spanish Steps.

 

After walking for about 20 minutes, we have finally arrived the Spanish Steps. Keep in mind that the street leading to Spanish Steps is full of temptation for the girls. All the stores on that street sell branded products (i.e. Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton etc.) Then, once you're at the Spanish Steps, it is the gentlemen's turn to get scammed.

 

Why did I say that? Well, the pictures below probably don't explain much but there are MANY people who will try to sell roses to the gentelmen, not the ladies! They try to persuade you to buy roses for your girlfriend, girlfriends, wife, wives, signficant other etc. The thing is, they try to make it obvious so that it's hard to refuse them. Obviously, I was a prime target of these merchandisers because I was with four other girls. Luckily, my conscience convinces me otherwise and I wasn't persuaded by them.

 

This baroque foundatin is called "Fontana della Barcaccia". The fountain resembles a sinking ship and it is said to be based on a folk legend. 

Now here is the real question. Why is it called the Spanish Steps?

We are in Rome, shouldn't it be called the Roman Steps or the Italian Steps? 

 

Back in 1717, the local government tried to connect the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the top. To make this project a little more entertaining, the government opened up a contest which was won by a designer known as Francesco de Sanctis. Piazza di Spagna was used to be the home of the Spanish Embassy, and the square itself was even considered Spanish territory. Therefore, the connection from the top to the bottom is known as the Spanish Steps. There are a total of 138 steps and I counted them all myself just to verify it.  Yes, it is verified.  

After, we went to Rome's another significant attraction, the Trevi Fountaion. Luckily, the fountain is not under construction because the local city was going to do a major renovation of the fountain. 

 

This is by far the largest Baroque fountain in the city. Legend says that in 19 BC, thirsty Roman soldiers were led by a young girl to find a source of pure water within the city of Rome. After the discovery, Augustus commissioned the construction of a massive aqueduct to lead water to the city. 

 

Nowadays, it is customory to throw coins to the fountain. Rumours say that once you throw the coin to the fountain, you will come back again. Does that mean I'll be back? It is estimated that 3,000 euros are thrown to the fountain daily and the city has been using the money to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy.

 

 

After the Trevi Fountain, we went to the enormous Pantheon of Rome. The Pantheon is commissioned by Agrippa during Augustus time. The building is circular with many Corinthian columns. What is more impressive is that there is a central opening (oculus) to the sky under a giant cofferred concrete. 

 

The engineer is very impressive. This building was able to support 4,500 metric tons of concrete at the roof top without any pillar support in the middle. In order for this engineering feat to work, there must be an opening in the centre, known as the oculus.

 

During rainy days, water will just come down to the sewers at the bottom.

 

 Towards the end, we walked to Piazza Navona (4th plaza today!) and saw another obelisk/fountain. This fountain comes with four statues in each corner, each representing a river from the continent known to earth, Danube, Nile, Ganges, and Rio de la Plata. 

 

At the end, we were treated with Tartufa desert, known as the rival of geltao.

 

 

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Who is Henry Shew?

Henry is an avid traveler and a tax consultant by profession.

 

Walk In My Shew is started to document the travel stories and culture experienced in different countries.

 

Contact me: walkinmyshew@gmail.com

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