Aurelian Obelisk Rome (or Pincio Obelisk)

The Aurelian Obelisk (Obelisco Aureliano) is located in 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

History and description

It was none other than Napoleon Bonaparte himself who turned the Parco del Pincio into a public park by confiscatin it from the Brotherhood 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.

The Obelisco Aureliano had originally been erected by the Emperor Hadrian and is made of just one block. Hadrian had it raised to honor his beloved Antinoo, who had drowned in the river Nile in the year 130.

In 1632, Pope Urban VIII placed the obelisk in the Piazza Barberini, at the entrance of the Palazzo Barberini. The Barberini got rid of it, however, by giving it to Clemens XIV. The reason was that the monument blocked the passage of carriages and other vehicles.

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

Before it had been moved to 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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