The Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese

Here is Rome at its most orderly and elegant, carefully laid out under 16th-century papal urban planning schemes. Baroque popes such as Leo X and Sixtus V redeveloped the all but abandoned area around the Corso, the extension of the ancient Via Flaminia from northern Italy, for their rapidly growing city. Romans now call it the Tridente after the trident of streets – Corso, Ripetta and Babuino – diverging from Piazza del Popolo. It’s an area stamped by a love of theatricality: the beautifully symmetrical Piazza del Popolo; long vistas that stretch down arrow-straight roads; the carefully landscaped Pincio gardens ...

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