Holy Obelisks, Batman!

Rome Travel Blog

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Minerveo Obelisk. Look closely at the men in black pointing directly at us, at the base of the obelisk... strange! *also note the back of the Pantheon in the background.

Rome has more obelisks than Egypt!

I think this is a pretty well known fact, but Rome has a total of 13 obelisks throughout the city, that's six more than their country of origin! Now, I didn't exactly make it my mission to see each and every one, but I saw quite a few of them, all by accident!! I think my best obelisk story is the one involving the Minerveo Obelisk that stands in the piazza della Minerva in front of the Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  So here goes....

After wandering away from the Pantheon (marvelous experience and a whole 'nother blog!) we stumbled upon the Minerveo Obelisk, a small obelisk as far as obelisks go, that rests on the back of a completely adorable elephant designed by Bernini. There was a temporary chain linked fence erected in front of it so a few of the pictures I took of it were through the links, but at there was an opening in the fence we walked through to take a closer look and better photos.

Minerveo or Piazza della Minerva Obelisk
This is where it began to get a little strange. As I was taking pictures of the obelisk I noticed men in black suits and ties pointing in our directions and people gathering around them. Very C.I.A. (*see picture.... I have proof!)Then I noticed that there were black cars parked everywhere and wondered if we'd stumbled upon something we shouldn't have. That's when we kind of panicked because the men in the black suits started walking towards us. I grabbed Daniel by the arm and yanked him towards the church behind us, hoping that we could take refuge and maybe find another exit! We made our hasty retreat into the dark church, made a donation, sat in a pew and prayed the men in black suits would go away!! Now if anyone would care to enlighten me on why this little event happened I would be more than pleased!!!! Did we walk into some kind of government event? A celebrity sighting? An important funeral? Did I take a picture of the Mafia?!?! At any rate when we left the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva about 20 minutes later the men in black had moved on and we made our run for it!!!!!

Okay so back to my original train of thought.

Lateran Obelisk. The grandaddy of them all!!!
.... here are a few obelisks and their locations that we stumbled upon on our various adventures around Roma! (photos of all of the listed obelisks are below *except the Piazza dell'Esquilino obelisk, which I unfortunately didn't get a picture of)

the Lateran Obelisk: This is the grandaddy of all the obelisks in Rome.  Coming in at 105.6 feet tall it's the largest authentic Egyptian obelisk in Rome (and the world actually). You'll find this biggie in the Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano next to the bacilica of the same name (which is also where you will find the original bronze doors to the Curia, (found in the Roman Forum) the home of the Senate.)

the Vatican Obelisk: Obviously this one is found at the Vatican, in the Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Square) to be exact.

Vatican Obelisk. (Piazza San Pietro).
At 83 feet it's the second largest obelisk in Rome.

the Piazza Navona Obelisk: again the name states the obvious. You'll find this one in the Piazza Navona atop the Fountain of the Four Rivers.

the Piazza dell'Esquilino Obelisk: This obelisk has a twin! You'll find this one located behind Santa Maria Maggiore. It stands at 48.5 feet. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of this one but I passed it everday I was in Rome, as we needed to pass it to get to our hotel.

the Piazza del Quirinale Obelisk: This is the Piazza dell'Esquilino obelisk's twin. Only 4 inches shorter it rests atop a pedestal flanked by two horses and men or "horse tamers". Apparently this is located in front of the official residence of the Italian President, which I didn't know at the time.

Piazza Navona Obelisk.

the Sallustian or Trinita dei Monti Obelisk: Located at the top of the Spanish Steps.

the Rotunda Obelisk: located in the Piazza della Rotunda in front of the Pantheon. this obelisk is also situated on top of a fountain much like the one in Piazza Navona.  (my picture of this one isn't very good, but at least you can see it.)

and the last but not least....

the Minerveo or Piazza della Minerva Obelisk: * see above story for location.

And that concludes my personal tour of obelisks! There are 5 more to discover so get lookin'!!

dansgirl1978 says:
Posted on: Sep 06, 2007
Andy99 says:
I like your idea of an obelisk tour of Rome!
Posted on: Sep 05, 2007
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Minerveo Obelisk. Look closely at …
Minerveo Obelisk. Look closely at…
Minerveo or Piazza della Minerva O…
Minerveo or Piazza della Minerva …
Lateran Obelisk. The grandaddy of …
Lateran Obelisk. The grandaddy of…
Vatican Obelisk. (Piazza San Pietr…
Vatican Obelisk. (Piazza San Piet…
Piazza Navona Obelisk.
Piazza Navona Obelisk.
Piazza del Quirinale Obelisk.
Piazza del Quirinale Obelisk.
the Trinita dei Monti Obelisk and …
the Trinita dei Monti Obelisk and…
If you look closely between the tw…
If you look closely between the t…
me in front of the Lateran Obelisk…
me in front of the Lateran Obelis…
the Piazza Navona Obelisk again.
the Piazza Navona Obelisk again.
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