Visit Trinita dei Monti on the Spanish Steps in Rome, with this up-to-date guide featuring the opening hours, ticket price and history of the Trinita dei Monti church and convent.
From its mystical astrolabe and anamorphic art to the nuns that live and work in the Trinità dei Monti convent today, there’s so much to see and enjoy when you visit Trinita dei Monti convent and church at Rome’s Spanish Steps. Read on for my full guide to this unique monument overlooking Piazza di Spagna, offering one of the most beautiful views of Rome.
Trinita dei Monti: An icon of Rome
Thanks to its central position in Rome, planning to visit Trinita dei Monti on the Spanish Steps couldn’t be easier. Spagna Metro stop is conveniently located right in front of the church, with exits both at the top and bottom of the Spanish Steps.
The twin towers of the church of Trinita dei Monti have become an icon of Rome, but the current design was not the first Trinita dei Monti church to stand on this spot. King Louis XII of France started work on the first church in 1502, in a French gothic style.
The present Renaissance-style church towers replaced this, consecrated in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V, famous for his urban interventions. The Pope’s Via Sistina still flanks the church to this day, leading all the way down to Piazza Barberini.
While the architect of the current Trinita dei Monti church is not known, it has been attributed to Giacomo della Porta, a student of Michelangelo. The double staircase is by Domenico Fontana.
In 1774, plans by Giuseppe Pannini were executed to alter the main arch of the nave, changing the interior of the church. This eliminated the original Gothic structures, modifying the balance between the main nave and the side chapels.
Today, the church has 17 chapels, each bearing the name of one of the families that obtained patronage in the 16th century.
Visit Trinita dei Monti church in Rome
The church and convent of Trinità dei Monti have been occupied by a long line of religious orders over the years. In 2016, they were entrusted to the Emmanuel Community.
Opening hours to visit Trinita dei Monti church are as follows, with visits suspended during services:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday: noon – 8:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Daily Mass takes place at 6.30 pm every day (Monday – Friday), and at 9.30 am and 11 am on Sundays. It alternates in French and Italian.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place 5.15-6.15 pm (Mon -Thurs) and 6-7 pm on weekends.
There is also a regular prayer vigil on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm.
Visit Trinita dei Monti convent in Rome
While the famous towers of the Trinita dei Monti church dominate Piazza Trinita dei Monti, a flight of stairs to the left of the church leads into the original convent, which is still active to this day.
Not everyone knows, but you can also visit Trinita dei Monti convent. While some religious orders in the past were more private, the Emanuel Community actively welcomes visitors. Plan to visit Trinita dei Monti convent in the following ways:
Visit the courtyard and Mater Admirabilis Chapel daily, Monday-Friday, from 9 am to 7 pm. It is better to avoid lunchtimes. It is sometimes open on weekends from 10 am to 4 pm. There is no entrance ticket or fee to access the Mater Admirabilis chapel, which was executed by the the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in the 19th century, and has become one of the most famous images of Mary in Christian art.
Guided tours of the convent are also available – currently the only way to fully visit Trinita dei Monti convent. Reservations must be made by email, at the latest two days before the visit. Visit the official page to book, clicking here.
In English: the first and third Wednesday of the month at 5 pm.
In French: Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm.
In Italian: The 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at 5 pm; Saturday at 9:30 and 11 am.
Ticket prices to visit Trinita dei Monti convent
Adults : €12
Students and young people 12-18 : €6
Children under 12 : free
What to see in Trinita dei Monti convent
Highlights of the guided tour of Trinita dei Monti convent include:
- The courtyard
- The astrolabe or sun clock
- Anamorphic art
- French revolutionary graffiti
- The Mater Admirabilis Chapel
- The gardens
Visiting the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are an architectural monument in Rome that are free to visit year round. Originally constructed to join the Spanish embassy (at the bottom) with the Trinita dei Monti church at the top, they take their name from Spanish patronage. There are 138 stone steps in total. The Spanish Steps have been immortalised in films such as Roman Holiday and The Talented Mr Ripley.
The history of the Minims at Trinita dei Monti
The history of Trinita dei Monti is deeply connected to its religious founder, Saint Francis of Paola, or San Francesco da Paola, who was born in 1416.
Named after St. Francis of Assisi, Francis of Paola dedicated himself to a hermit’s life after surviving illness in his childhood. The Calabrian monk founded the order of the Minims, from the Italian word minimo, meaning the smallest or the least. Francis called himself il minimo dei minimi, the least of the least, to show that he was of even less significance than the Friars Minor founded by his patron saint, Francis of Assissi.
In addition to the standard three religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, the Minims committed to ‘a Lenten way of life’, i.e. veganism, a perpetual abstinence from all meat and dairy products, except in cases of grave illness.
In 1483, St. Francis was summoned to France by King Louis XI, who had heard of his spiritual powers. Francis told the king he could not heal him, but would be his deathbed confessor. Francis also told Louis XI that on his way to France he had stopped in Rome, where he had seen a vision of a place which would host the Minim order. This was the hill that would become Trinita dei Monti.
Francis was given a grant to found a monastery here by the grateful son of Louis XI, Charles VIII, who would not see the work completed. Around ten years later, Louis XII started on the construction of the first version of the Trinita dei Monti church, next to the monastery that Francesco da Paola had founded. The French State still owns the church, convent and land on which also stands the neighbouring French academy.
Where to eat near Trinita dei Monti & the Spanish Steps
There are a good range of restaurants near Trinita dei Monti and the Spanish Steps.
Pescolino – This intimate fish restaurant just a few minutes walk from the Spanish Steps makes for the perfect romantic dinner. Full review here.
Emme at Margutta 19 – This refined restaurant on the ground-floor of a five star hotel nevertheless offers informal surroundings for a relaxing lunch or dinner. From its charming garden at the foot of Villa Borghese, to its comfy restaurant seats and sofas, this is the perfect place to try Roman cuisine. Full review here.
Coso Ristorante – This hearty Roman trattoria offers good value, traditional Roman food, in a central location. Full review here.
Il Marchese – Part cocktail bar, part Roman trattoria, Il Marchese attracts a cool crowd for its incredible amaro collection, and smart interiors, just a short walk from the Spanish Steps. Full review here.
Hard Rock Cafe – This classic all-American chain is hard to beat. Full review here.
Alfredo Alla Scrofa – The original home of pasta Alfredo, this classic Roman restaurant offers a piece of local history. Full review here.
Vista at Casina Valadier – One of the most romantic restaurants in Rome, Ristorante Vista offers exquisite Italian cuisine in a beautiful mansion in Villa Borghese. Full review here.
Spanish Steps hotels near Trinita dei Monti
Hotel Hassler is rightly known as one of Rome’s most glamourous and important five-star hotels, sharing the same incredible views as Trinita dei Monti convent. Click here for photos and to book.
Hotel de la Ville, a Rocco Forte hotel, is another five star property with a range of multi-level terrace restaurants and bars which are also open to the public. Click here for photos and to book.
Hotel d’Inghilterra is a perennial favourite for its smart, central location and convenient position for shops and the Spanish Steps. Click here for photos and to book.
Rome Luxury Suites is also a fabulous hotel option when visiting Rome, perfect for travellers who want to combine the luxury of a boutique hotel with its bespoke service and friendliness. To check out reviews and photos, head here.