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.