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Following a competition in 1717 the steps were designed by the little-known Francesco de Sanctis, though Alessandro Specchi was long thought to have produced the winning entry. Generations of heated discussion over how the steep slope to the church on a shoulder of the Pincio should be urbanized preceded the final execution. Archival drawings from the 1580s show that Pope Gregory XIII was interested in constructing a stair to the recently-completed façade of the French church. Gaspar van Wittel's view of the wooded slope in 1683, before the Scalinata was built, is conserved in the Galleria Aadaam 00:50, 18 August 2007 (UTC)