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Quirinale Obelisk

Present Site:  Piazza del Quirinale, Rome [In front of the Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the president of the Italian Republic.]
N 41°53'56.8"(41.899117) E 12°29'11.9"(12.486648)
Pharaoh:  Probably a replica by Romans
Measurement:  14.64 meters high for obelisk itself, 28.94 meters including the pedestal
Stone:  Red granite

About The Site:
Piazza del Quirinale is in front of the Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the president of the Italian Republic. Here is the top of Quirinal Hill (Colle Quirinale), the highest hill among the Seven hills of Rome. And the name of Piazza came from the name of hill.
The Quirinal Palace (Palazzo del Quirinale) was originally built in 1583 by Pope Gregory XIII (Gregorio XIII) as a papal summer residence. In 1871, the palace became the official royal residence of the Kings of Italy, and currently used for the official residence of the Italian president. The guided tour is available every day except Monday and Thursday. The prior booking is required.
Also, according to ROME.NET, the changing the guard can be seen every day at 3 PM. But it's not in a colorful costume such as Vatican and Buckingham Palace, just in a military uniform.
From the west end of the Hill, we can get a panoramic window, and look the Vatican's St. Peter's Cathedral in the distance.

The Quirinale Palace and the obelisk The Quirinale Palace and the obelisk

How To Get There:
Using bus from Termini Station (Stazione di Termini)is the most convenient. Take either #64 (for Stazione San Pietro) or #70 (for Clodio), and get off at Nazionale-Quirinale, then walk about 200 meters. Each bus runs every 10 minutes.
In the case of Metro, the nearest station is Barberini on Line "A". In this case, it's hard because we have to walk uphill 500 meters. However, there is the Palazzo Barberini (currently the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica) near the station, and the impressive church, Chiesa di San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is after turning right at the Quattro Fontane crossing. So, we can enjoy the sightseeing with this course. This is another option for approaching the Piazza del Quirinale.
Another option is going from the famous Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). Against the Fountain, walk about 100 meters, then we will come to the crossing. The left side street is called Via d. Dataria. Take this street, then we will see the broad flight of steps. Go up the steps, we will arrive a large place. This is the Piazza del Quirinale. The obelisk is right ahead, with colossal sculptures of man and horses.

About The Obelisk:
This obelisk is 14.64 meters high for obelisk itself, 28.94 meters including the pedestal. No inscription is engraved. This is one of two (pair) of obelisks that were quarried from Egypt in the late 1st century, and erected at the entrance of the Great Tomb of Emperor Augustus (Mausoleo di Augusto) in Rome.
This obelisk was discovered underground fragmented in three pieces at the site of Great Tomb of Emperor Augustus in 1781. After 4-year restoration, this was erected at the current site by Pope Pius VI in 1786.
This obelisk does not have pyramidion. Its top is in the state cut into a flat stone. This is common point with the obelisk at Piazza dell'Esquilino. For ancient Egyptians, the pyramidion had an important meaning. However the Romans did not understand it.
This is evidence that these obelisks were made by the Romans.
Both sides of the obelisk's pedestal, the sculptures of man and horses are placed. The men are twin brothers of Castor and Pollux of Greek mythology. The brothers, together are sometime called the "Dioscuri" which means the divine son of Zeus.
As an another story, Gemini which is well seen in the spring sky is derived from this twin brothers. In the astronomical chart, the right second magnitude star is Castor and the left first magnitude star is Pollux.
This "Dioscuri" sculptures were initially made for the Baths of Constantine, and moved to here Piazza del Quirinale in middle age. Hence the obelisk was erected after the sculptures.
Also, there is a great water bowl in front. This was placed here in 19th century from the original site at Tempio dei Dioscuri of Foro Romano.

Notes For Pictures:
This Piazza is vast, and has calm and inactive mood when little tourists are here while no event is held.
Since the facade of Quirinale Palace is facing to southwest, this obelisk is not facing at accurate north-south-east-west directions. Hence the below photos tell Northwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast.

Northeast Side

Northwest Side

Southwest Side

Southeast Side

May 3, 2016    by Hiroyuki Nagase    (For high definition image, please click the picture)

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