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Pincio Obelisk

Present Site:  Pincian Hill's Garderns (Monte Pincio), Rome
N 41°54'38.9"(41.910806) E 12°28'47.1"(12.47975)
Pharaoh:  Roman Emperor Hadrian (Hadrianus)
Measurement:  9.24 meters high for the obelisk itself, 17.26 meters high including pedestal
Weight:  Unknown

About The Site:
The Pincian Hill (Monte Pincio) is not so popular garden, but the Wikipedia page is on the website. The garden is on the south side slope, and connects to the Villa Borghese gardens on east side.
The name of hill is derived from the Pincii, one of the families that occupied around here in the 4th century.
At the west side of the Hill, there is the scenic view point, Napoleon Square Terrace. We can look out over the Flaminio Obelisk which stands at the center of Piazza del Popolo, and the St. Peter's Basilica beyond. [See image below]
Also, we can go down to the Piazza del Popolo through the steps right hand side of Napoleon Square.

Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo as seen from the Napoleon Square Terrace


How To Get There:
The Pincian Hill Garden is just a middle of two Metro stations, Spagna and Flaminio on Line "A", and it's about 500 meters from either station.
From Flaminio Station through the Piazza del Popolo, is not recommended because this route is climbing up to the Hill.
On the other hand, the route from Spagna Station is easier than above. We can go up to the top of Spanish Steps, or Piazza di Trinità dei Monti, with a elevator. From here, we can directly approach to the Pincian Hill through Viale della Trinita dei Monti.
At the observation deck on the way, there is a fork. The downhill way at left is Viale Gabriele D'Annunzio, and the uphill way at right is Viale Adamo Mickievicz. Go up right at the fork in the road, then go right along the road, we can see the Obelisk at straight ahead.
In the satellite photo of former Google Maps, the obelisk was behind of woods. But after updated the photo of September 2014, we can recognize the Obelisk. [Note: As of March 2016, the aerial photo of Google Maps API is not updated. Please click "Large Map" first, and move to Google Maps.]

three cartouches Three cartouches were
inscribed on North Side.


About The Obelisk:
It is known this obelisk was made by Roman Emperor Hadrian (Hadrianus) in AD 2nd century. Hence, this obelisk is also called "Hadrianic Obelisco del Pincio".
On north side of the obelisk, we can see three cartouches were inscribed. I could confirmed the one at least expresses Sabina, a wife of Hadrian. However, I couldn't unfortunately read the names of other cartouches which seem to be inscribed the name of Hadrianus Caesar.
Small letters of inscription are cramped, and the impression is different from other obelisks. The descriptive style (of Ancient Rome) is also different from Ancient Egyptian style which begins with the Pharaoh's horus name. But archaeologists seem to be able to read it.
Emperor Hadrian had once stayed in Alexandria of Egypt, at that time, he had called his wife Sabina to Alexandria.
This obelisk is 9.24 meters high for the obelisk itself, and 17.26 meters high including pedestal. This would keep the condition when Hadrian made it in AD 2nd century.
It's unknown the site where the obelisk was erected when it was made. In 3rd century, this was carried to Circus Varianus (where was out of Porta Maggiore) in order to decorate the "spina" (central reservation), but toppled at unknown date. After moved various places, Pope Pius VII [reigned 1800-1823] ordered to re-erect it at the present site, Pincian Hill's Gardens (Monte Pincio), in September 1822. Then the obelisk remains here until today.

Notes For Pictures:
Although many tourists are at the Napoleon Square Terrace, where we can look out over the Piazza del Popolo, but little people at the site of obelisk where a slightly far from the Terrace. When I visited here in summer 2014, the relaxed time of summer afternoon flows around the site - a person taking a rest with parking a car was under the leafy shade, another person was jogging in the vast gardens, and another person was having a break around the obelisk.

pincio_south.jpg
South Side

pincio_east.jpg
East Side

pincio_west.jpg
West Side

pincio_north.jpg
North Side

August 11, 2014    by Hiroyuki Nagase    (For high definition image, please click the picture)

Copyright Hiroyuki Nagase nagase@obelisk.org and Shoji Okamoto okamoto@obelisk.org