Obelisks in Rome

We managed to sight the majority of obelisks in Rome. They total 13.

1. We saw the obelisk at San Giovanni in Laterano, the oldest and tallest dating from 14th century BC, 100 feet high and brought to Rome from Egypt in 357AD.

2. The obelisk in Piazza dell’Esquilino in front of Santa Maria Maggiore was erected 1587 as a landmark for pilgrims. It was an ancient Roman creation and not Egyptian.

3. The obelisk in front of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva with the elephant designed by Bernini is the smallest.

4. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi also designed by Bernini has an obelisk which was moved from the Circus of Maxentius on the Appian Way. We saw this one almost daily along with the Borromini designed church of Sant’Agnese in Agone.

5. Piazza del Popolo has the second oldest obelisk, dating around 12 or 13th century BC and brought to Rome from Egypt by Augustus.

6. The obelisk in Piazza Montecitorio was also brought to Rome by Augustus and once used as a sundial.

7. The obelisk in the Piazza del Quirinale once stood at the Mausoleum of Augustus but is now flanked by Castor and Pollux statues, copies of Greek originals, and sits in front of the presidential palace.

8. The obelisk in Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon is also a Roman imitation.

9. There is a small obelisk in the Pincio Gardens in the Borghese Park erected by Hadrian.

10. Piazza San Pietro’s obelisk is Egyptian but has no hieroglyphs on it.

11. The obelisk in front of Trinta dei Monti is at the top of the Spanish Steps, but we only saw it from the bottom of the steps. Didn’t want to climb the 156  or thereabouts steps.

12. We did not see the Egyptian obelisk in Villa Celimontana which is a park like area and villa of the Mattei family south of the Colosseo.

13. We thought we might be able to see the ancient Egyptian obelisk at the Baths of Diocletian which is near the Termini train station. When we were going to the train station on Thursday, the taxi drove right through that area, but we could not spot any obelisk. Odd since the obelisks were often erected on a spot to guide Christians doing a pilgrimage to churches in Rome. Since I needed to get to the airport and the traffic on the surrounding streets is crazy busy, we didn’t try to find the obelisk. But 11 out of 13 sightings is not too bad. Going to have to go back to Rome to see the last two.

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