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
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 excavated 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.
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.