Aurelian Obelisk Rome

The Aurelian Obelisk (Obelisco Aureliano) is located on the Piazza Bulgaria in the Parco del Pincio in Rome. With its 9m (but 17 if you add the basis and the star crowning it) it is one of Rome‘s smallest obelisks.

Aurelian Obelisk Rome

It was Napoleon Bonaparte himself who turned the Parco del Pincio into a public park by taking it away from the Brothers of Sant’Agostino. Napoleon had wanted to name the park the Jardin du Grand César, but in the end this did not happen.

The architect was Giuseppe Valadier, who worked on the park from 1811 until 1814. Pope Pius VII, after his return, had the work completed. One of his decisions was to move the Aurelian Obelisk to the Parco del Pincio.

Going further back in time, the obelisk stood in the Piazza Barberini, at the entrance of the Palazzo Barberini. It had been placed there in 1632 by Pope Urban VIII, but the Barberini got rid of it by giving it to Clemens XIV when it blocked the passage of carriages and other vehicles.

Poor Clemens didn’t really know what to do with it, so he placed it on a courtyard in the Vatican itself. The architect Giuseppe Marini finally moved it to the Piazza Bulgaria.

The Obelisco Aureliano was originally erected by the Emperor Hadrian and consists of just one part. Hadrian had it raised to honour his beloved Antinoo, who had drowned in the river Nile in the year 130.

Before the Piazza Barberini the obelisk spent some time on the Piazza di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.

Aurelian Obelisk, Parco del Pincio, Rome

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