Rome Travel Guide

Azaleas on the Spanish Steps: Breathtaking Flowers in Rome

Wed 24 Apr 2024

Azaleas on the Spanish Steps: Breathtaking Flowers in Rome

It’s April in Rome, and the Eternal City is exploding into life with blooming flowers and trees seemingly everywhere you look. One of the most eagerly awaited signs that winter is over and Spring has come to Rome is the spectacular annual display of azaleas that graces the Spanish Steps every year, which has returned this week for its 86th showing. The floral display is an absolute must-see when in Rome. Find out more with us!



But first, what are the Spanish Steps?



In Rome, all roads seem eventually to lead to the Spanish Steps. One of the great masterpieces of Baroque urban design, Rome’s most iconic staircase was conceived by the Roman architect Francesco de Sanctis in 1725 to link the hilltop church of Santissima Trinità dei Monti, to the piazza below. 

De Sanctis’ brilliant design transformed the area’s uncompromising hilly terrain into a dramatic and unified work of urban theatre: the staircase’s 135 steps appear to flow down the slope in rippling cascades of liquid marble framed by elegantly bulging balustrades and balconies.

Over the centuries the Steps became a popular meeting spot for locals and visitors alike, from the Romantic poet John Keats to Audrey Hepburn’s bored princess looking for trouble in the classic Hollywood movie Roman Holiday. Find out everything you need to know about the Spanish Steps with our guide here.



Watch as Through Eternity founder Rob explores Rome's historic centre


What is the Tradition of Flowers on the Spanish Steps?



The city of Rome’s gardening team have enjoyed international prestige for their floricultural skills for centuries, and have been cultivating a wide variety of plants to beautify the city’s urban landscape from their headquarters in the grounds of the medieval monastery of San Sisto since the opening years of the 19th century. 

To celebrate the skills of the San Sisto nursery, an annual floral showcase was set up in the Villa Aldobrandini park in the 1930s. In 1952, it was decided to move the display to a more prominent, and spectacular location right in the heart of the city - the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps azaleas have been an indelible part of Spring in Rome ever since. 

This year 380 separate azalea plants of two distinct varieties decorate the iconic staircase. These are the lilac Rhododendron indicum native to Japan and the white Bianca di Piazza di Spagna, a hybrid varietal particularly well adapted to the Roman climate that was developed specifically for the display on the Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti. 


When to See the Azaleas on the Spanish Steps



The exact timing of the annual display of azaleas on the Spanish Steps varies slightly depending on the climate from year to year, but you’ll always see them in full bloom at the end of April and early May. This year the flowers made their appearance on April 12th, and it’s expected that they will remain in place until at least the second week of May.


How to Visit the Spanish Steps



The Spanish Steps are located right in the heart of Rome’s historic centre. The landmark is serviced by its own metro station, Spagna, on the A line of the city’s underground metro network.

Rich in fascinating history as well as being one of the city’s most beautiful sights, the Spanish Steps is a must-visit sight when  in Rome. It's also one of the essential monuments we visit on our Rome at Twilight walking tour, a great introduction to the delights of the Eternal City. To find out more and book your trip, click the link below!




For over 20 years, Through Eternity have been organizing itineraries showcasing the best of Rome led by our resident expert guides. If you're planning a visit to the Eternal City this Spring, be sure to get in touch to help plan your perfect trip!


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