The obelisk located in front of the Trinità dei Monti church at the top of the Spanish Steps was originally placed in the Orti Sallustiani (Gardens of Sallust). Unlike many obelisks in Rome it is not an original Egyptian one, but rather a copy of an Egyptian original.
The hieroglyphs are similar to the ones on the obelisk in the Piazza del Popolo, with some small mistakes. Whoever did the work managed to turn some of the symbols upside down.
In 1789, the architect Giovanni Antinori placed the Obelisco Sallustiano, which is its official name. It was Pope Pius VI who commissioned the move, after Pope Clement XII had earlier tried (and failed) to have the obelisk erected in front of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano in 1734.
The actual needle is with its 14m one of the smaller obelisks in Rome, but its pedestal and the French lily and the cross on top make the total height into around 30m.
The pedestal, which proportionally is far too big for the monolith, is not the original one. The original can be found on the Capitol Hill, in the garden to the left of the Palazzo Senatorio, and was dedicated the “Altar for Fallen Fascists” (Ara dei Caduti Fascisti) in the 1920′s.
Trinità dei Monti Obelisk Practical Information
|Address||Trinità dei Monti|
|Hotels nearby||All Rome hotels|
|Opening Hours||Always open|
|Public transport||Metro: Spagna|
Directions to the Trinità dei Monti Obelisk
Take metro line A to the Spagna stop. Look for the exit to Piazza di Spagna. The obelisk can be found at the top of the Spanish Steps.