A view of the Piazza di Spagna, Rome, from the North, with the church of Trinità dei Monti on the left and Sant'Andrea della Fratte in the distance oil on canvas 49.3 x 65 cm. (19 3/8 x 25 5/8 in.)
The present composition depicts a rare early view of the Piazza di Spagna. Located between via del Babuino and via Due Macelli, it was known as Platea Trinitas until the end of the 17th Century after the church which dominates the square. The section of the piazza before the Spanish embassy then became known as Piazza di Spagna and the Northern part as di Francia; an area of influence for both these foreign powers within Rome. At the centre is the Fontana della Barcaccia, which was commissioned in 1629 by Pope Urban VIII from Pietro Bernini, son of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. According to an unlikely legend, Pope Urban had the fountain installed after he was impressed by a boat being brought there by a flood of the Tiber. Pietro Bernini also modified the palazzo shown at the far end of the square, the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, in 1644. The tree lined street to the left was replaced by the now famous Spanish steps built in 1723-1725, which were designed by Francesco de Santis and paid for by the French diplomat Stefano Gueffier's funds (20,000 scudi), thus linking the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy see, today still located in the piazza below, with the Trinita dei Monti.