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With the steps now returned to their former glory, here's everything you need to know about them. There are exactly 135 steps However, if you try to count them yourself you may reach the figure of 136; the drainage system is elevated and so is often mistaken for the first step. It may seem odd that a landmark in Italy's capital, designed by an Italian architect and funded by a French diplomat (Étienne Gueffier, whose bequest of 20,000 Scudi - an old Italian currency), gets its name from Spain.Also, the steps are the widest stairway in all of Europe - making them a perfect meeting place. The Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the steps is named after the Spanish Embassy there, so the name simply extended to the steps, which were built in the 18th century to connect both the Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church (which was under French patronage) with the Holy See - the seat of the Catholic Church in Rome - in the square below. You can't eat your sandwiches there In the middle of the city's shopping district, the steps may seem like a perfect place to pause for a picnic - but not so fast.
Rome's legacy as a cradle of Christianity in western Europe is strongly evident in relatively modern landmarks such as St Peter's Basilica, but to truly uncover the faith's continental origins you have to take a trip south.
With time came greater acceptance, more adherents to the faith, and consequently a greater demand for burial space.
Many of these people wished to be laid to rest as close to the bodies of the original martyrs as possible, prompting the need for more and deeper chambers plus connecting hypogeums.
This shuttle bus service offers a straightforward means of reaching the archaeological site, and once you arrive you'll be treated to a professional guided tour.
The journey starts with a short sightseeing overview of Rome, then continues on-foot once you reach the catacombs.
Roman urban regulations prevent anyone from tucking into lunch on the steps, as part of an effort to keep them pristine.