Esquilino Obelisk Rome

The Esquilino Obelisk is located in the center of the Piazza dell’Esquilino in Rome. It is almost 15 meters tall and is a Roman imitation of an Egyptian original. Originally it probably stood near the Mausoleum of Augustus.

Esquilino Obelisk Rome

Address: Piazza dell’Esquilino. Opening hours and admission: The Esquilino Obelisk is visible from outside.

History and description

Esquilino Obelisk

In 1587 the Obelisco Esquilino was placed on the Piazza dell’Esquilino, on the Via Cavour side of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

There are no inscriptions on the sides.

The obelisk was found in the Via San Rocco, unfortunately broken into several pieces. Before that it probably embellished the Mausoleo di Agosto, in the company of another obelisk, which nowadays can be found on the Piazza del Quirinale.

The pieces of one of these obelisks were dug up in the year 1519. The architects Baldassarre Peruzzi and Antonio da Sangallo made drawings of the pieces, which were then placed somewhere along the Via di Ripetta.

In 1585 Domenico Fontana was commissioned with the task of moving the obelisk to the Piazza dell’Esquilino.

Esquilino Obelisk Rome
Esquilino Obelisk

He had been ordered to do this by Pope Sixtus V, whose coat of arms (the mountains and the star) can be seen at the top of the monument.

The spot was probably chosen because it was near the entrance to the Villa Montalto Peretti, which was owned by the Pope. This villa, of which very little remains, at the time took up a great part of the district.

At the time the obelisk was at the end of a street called the Via Felice, Felice being the Pope’s real name. The Via Felice, once finished, ran all the way from the Spanish Steps to the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme Church.

Piazza dell’Esquilino – Rome

Montecitorio Obelisk Rome

The present Montecitorio Obelisk was brought to Rome in the year 10 BC, together with another obelisk now known as the Flaminio Obelisk. Another name for the monument is Obelisco Solare, since its original function was that of sundial for the meridian in the present Piazza del Parlamento.

Montecitorio Obelisk Rome

Earliest history

The obelisk in the Piazza di Montecitorio in Rome is of Egyptian origin and was made by Pharaoh Psammetico II. Emperor Augustus had the monument transported to the Eternal City. The obelisk was originally located in Heliopolis, in those days one of the most important cities of Egypt, but now no more than part of a suburb of Cairo.

The emperor placed the monument in what was then the Campo Marzio district, in order to serve as a sundial for the enormous meridian north of the Piazza del Parlamento.

Lost and found

Montecitorio Obelisk Rome
Montecitorio Obelisk

Towards the 11th century the ground shifted as a result of either floodings or earthquakes. This made the obelisk tilt so that it became unable to fulfill its function. It became covered with earth and virtually forgotten, not to be found until several centuries had passed.

In 1748 the architect Antonio Zabaglia got the task to restore the obelisk, which had broken into five pieces. The restoration had been ordered by Pope Benedict XIV.

The restoration took a long time and was finally completed in 1792 by Giovanni Antinori, who also placed it in its present location. Antinori used red granite parts of the Column of Antoninus Pius for the restoration. The pedestal of this column is on display in the Vatican Museums.

The globe on top of the obelisk is a memorial sign for its former function. Every day, exactly at 12 noon, a sunbeam strikes the earth through a hole in this globe.

The height of the Montecitorio Obelisk is almost 22m, but with its base it reaches more than 33m. The pedestal contains an inscription with a dedication to emperor Augustus.

Of the inscriptions on the obelisk, only very few are still legible. The ones that can still be deciphered include a list of the Pharaoh’s names and an interpretation of natural phenomena according to the Egyptians’ philosophy.

The pavement below the obelisk was decorated with mosaics showing the signs of the zodiac, the winds and a sundial. After a first restoration in 1965, in 1998 the entire square got a new layout. The signs of the zodiac and the sundials were recreated.

Piazza di Monte Citorio – Rome

Colonna dell’Immacolata Rome

The Column of the Immaculate Conception is located in the middle of the Piazza Mignanelli, right next to Piazza di Spagna and the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide (the seat of one of Rome’s latest museums) and opposite the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See.

Colonna dell’Immacolata Rome

The column was constructed by the architect Luigi Poletti and inaugurated on December 8, 1857, with the help of no fewer than 220 firemen.

The structure consists of a marble base, the 12m tall column itself, which is actually older and was discovered by chance during excavations in the Campus Marzius, and a bronze statue of the Madonna, which is the work of Giuseppe Obici.

The 4 bronze statues on the base of the column depict Moses (made by Ignazio Jacometti), David (by Adamo Tadolini), Ezekiel (by Carlo Chelli) and Isaiah (Salvatore Revelli).

It is dedicated to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854. According to this dogma Madonna is the only human being born free of original sin.

Every year on December 8 the festivities of the Immaculate Conception are celebrated. The Pope comes to bless the statue and those attending and the Fire Brigade, with the aid of a crane, puts a garland of flowers around the Madonna’s neck.

Piazza Mignanelli – Rome

Mussolini Obelisk Rome

The Mussolini Obelisk is located on the Foro Italico, just south of Rome’s Olympic Stadium. The Obelisco Mussolini is also called the Monolite Dux and was created by Costantino Costantini in 1932.

Mussolini Obelisk Rome

Address and public transport

The address of the Mussolini Obelisk is Viale del Foro Italico – Rome. Public transport: Bus: 32.

History and description

Mussolini Obelisk Rome
The Mussolini Obelisk was raised in 1932.

It is right in the middle of the Piazza Lauro de Bosis, a square not unexpectedly characterized by mosaics exalting fascism and youth.

The obelisk was made after a number of industry leaders from Carrara gifted a huge marble monolith that was to be used for the creation of an obelisk dedicated to the former dictator.

The marble was donated in 1927, but it was not until Movember 4th 1932 that the inauguration took place. Both the extraction of the marble and its transportation to Rome turned out to be more difficult than expected. The last time obelisks were moved within Rome was in the 16th century, so nobody had any experience in this kind of task.

The enormous slab of marble was pulled to the coast by sixty couples of oxen. After that it was moved along the coast and up the river Tiber by means of a special boat .

A concrete structure was created in order to be able to finally pull the obelisk up into a standing position.

Although the obelisk in itself does not exceed 17m, its total height including the base and the upper part is over 36m.

Several people believed the shiny top part to be made of real gold. After the war many Romans tried to climb the obelisk only to find out that this gold consisted of no more than some glittery stones.

Piazza Lauro de Bosis – Rome

Trinità  dei Monti Obelisk Rome

The Sallustiano Obelisk is the official name of the obelisk in front of the Trinità  dei Monti church at the top of the Spanish Steps, although most people know it by the name Trinità de’ Monti Obelisk.

Trinità  dei Monti Obelisk Rome

Trinita dei Monti obelisk Rome
The Sallustiano Obelisk in front of the Trinità  dei Monti Church.

It was probably brought to Rome by Aureliano originally placed in the Orti Sallustiani (Gardens of Sallust). The inscriptions themselves are Roman and were, badly, copied from the one that can be seen in the Piazza del Popolo. Whoever did the work managed to turn some of the symbols upside down.

For centuries the obelisk was left abandoned in the Sallustian Gardens, where it had been torn down by Alaric‘s Visigoths in the year 410.

In 1789, the architect Giovanni Antinori moved the Obelisco Sallustiano to its present location. It was Pope Pius VI who commissioned the move, after Pope Clement XII had earlier tried (and failed) to have the obelisk erected in front of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano in 1734, just as Pope Sixtus V had failed to move it to a spot in front of the Santa Maria degli Angeli Church in the 16th century.

The actual needle is, with its measly height of slightly less than 14m, one of the smaller obelisks in Rome, although the pedestal, the French lily (the only symbol on all the obelisks of Rome that is not Papal) and the cross on top raise its total height to around 30m. It is made of red granite.

The pedestal, which proportionally is far too big for the monolith, is not the original one. This can be found on the Capitol Hill, in the garden to the left of the Palazzo Senatorio, and was dedicated the “Altar for Fallen Fascists” (Ara dei Caduti Fascisti) in the 1920’s.

Trinità  dei Monti Obelisk Rome Gallery

Piazza della Trinità  dei Monti Rome

Obelisco Agonale Rome

The Obelisco Agonale can be found right in the middle of the Piazza Navona in Rome. It is located on top of the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi), which was constructed by Bernini in 1651.

Obelisco Agonale Rome

The four statues surrounding the obelisk represent the four big rivers known at the time (the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube and the Rio de la Plata) and were each made by a different sculptor.

The Obelico Agonale initially stood on the Circus of Maxentius along the Via Appia.

The dove on top of the obelisk is there since it is the symbol of the Pamphili family.

The obelisk itself is rather short (16m), but thanks to the basis and the dove the height of the entire structure reaches more than 30m.

Piazza Navona – Rome

Obelisk Saint Peter’s Square Rome

The obelisk in the center of Saint Peter’s Square was brought to Rome from Egypt. Supposedly there used to be a bowl on top that contained the ashes of no one less than Julius Caesar. It was originally brought to the city to adorn the Circus of Caligula, but was not placed in its present position until 1586.

Obelisk Saint Peter’s Square Rome

Obelisk in Saint Peter's Square
Obelisk in Saint Peter’s Square

The obelisk in Saint Peter’s Square is more than 25m tall, but when adding the base and the cross its height reaches slightly more than 40m.

The monument, which is made of red granite, started its existence in Heliopolis. In 37 AD the Emperor Caligula had it brought to Rome, in order to embellish the Circo di Nerone. It was transported by boat, in a bed of lentils, in order to prevent it from breaking.

Until 1586 the obelisk faithfully kept its position, right next to the old Saint Peter. In that year Pope Sixtus V commissioned the architect Domenico Fontana to move it to its present location.

Symbols pertaining to three different coats-of-arms can be found on the obelisk. Its base is adorned with four lions and some bronze eagles while at the top hills and stars can be seen. The lions refer to Sixtus V, the eagles (only added in 1713) to the Conti family of Pope Innocence XIII and the hills and stars belong to Pope Alexander VII‘s Chigi family.

On its peak there are some relics of the Holy Cross. The bronze globe containing the ashes of Julius Caesar that used to crown the obelisk was donated to the city of Rome by Pope Sixtus V and can now be seen in the Palazzo dei Conservatori.

The compass rose on the ground in front of the obelisk shows the time with the aid of the obelisk’s shadow.

The two fountains on Saint Peter’s Square are in a straight line related to the obelisk and are located at an equal distance from the pillars surrounding the square.

Piazza San Pietro – Rome

Lateran Obelisk

The Lateran Obelisk (Obelisco Lateranense) is located on the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano and is the oldest existing Egyptian obelisk in Rome.

Lateran Obelisk Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano – Rome. Opening hours and admission: The monument can be viewed from outside.

History and description

The obelisk itself is more than 32m tall, but when counting its base, its total height reaches almost 46m.

It is made of red granite and was brought to Rome from Thebe, an Egyptian city along the Nile, now known as Luxor. In Thebe the obelisk stood in front of the Temple of Amon and was dedicated to Pharaoh Tutmosi III.

The obelisk was shipped to Rome in the year 357 AD by Costanzo II and was initially placed on the Circus Maximus. After the Circus Maximus was abandoned and left to decay both the Obelisco Lateranense and the other obelisk that had been erected there (now the Obelisco Flaminio) were covered with earth and not seen anymore until they were rediscovered in 1587 during the reign of Pope Sixtus V.

The Lateranense obelisk was broken into three pieces. The Pope commissioned Domenico Fontana to restore it and place it in its present location, in front of the back entrance to the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano.

Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano – Rome

Marconi Obelisk Rome

The Stele di Marconi (Marconi Obelisk) is an obelisk in the EUR district of Rome. It is located right in the center of the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi and is dedicated to the Italian inventor of that name.

Marconi Obelisk Rome

The Marconi Obelisk is completely made of concrete and covered with 92 marble panels depicting events from the life of the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. The marble panels were made in Carrara.

The construction is located in what used to be called the Piazza Imperiale, but is now named the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi.

The Stele was commissioned by Benito Mussolini and designed by Arturo Dazzi, in 1937. The intention was to have its construction completed in time for the 1942 Esposizione Universale. Work was halted when the war caused the  to be cancelled.

The obelisk was finally finished in 1960, when the Olympics were held in Rome. The same

but (like e.g. the artificial lake in the quartiere EUR) it was finished only just in time for the 1960 Rome Olympics. The same happened with several other constructions, includin the artificial lake in the district.

Piazza Guglielmo Marconi – Rome