Conceptio in Itinere

Egyptian obelisks of Rome

Two cultures merged into the same city
length 3hrs approx  Available: everyday am/pm



On request it can be effected also without Bus

Rome has been baptized “the city of obelisks” since it's the city with by far the largest number. At present they are thirteen, although there are legends of a fourteenth obelisk buried near the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. Augustus the Emperor was the first to raise them - bringing two from Egypt - and subsequently Caligula and the others followed his example.
Our itinerary in search of ancient obelisks, often arranged by the Popes in the middle of squares and crossroads as visual reference points, starts from the famous one in Navona Square. Here, in the centre of the area stands the famous Four Rivers' Fountain, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini to support a magnificent obelisk. The monolith of red granite created on 1st century a.C. in imitation of the Egyptian ones, was initially intended to for the Temple of Campus Martius to celebrate Domitian the Emperor. The Pope Innocent X Pamphili, after having ordered the present collocation, decided to bestow a strong symbolic connotation to the obelisk by adding the papal dove at the top of it, that transmit the truth of the Gospel to the 4 continents represented by the 4 rivers: The Danube, the Ganges, the Rio della Plata and the Nile. From Navona Square we head toward the Pantheon. In the centre of the square facing the Pantheon there's the fountain designed by Giacomo della Porta. In the middle of the fountain Pope Clement XI Albani ordered the raising of the obelisk, a red granite monolith 6.43 meters tall that comes from Egypt where it has been built by Ramses II.

 

From the Pantheon, we reach Piazza della Minerva where we can see the little obelisk 5.47 meters tall constructed by Pharaon Apires and rediscovered in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Only in a second time it has been raised in the square in front of the Church with the sane name. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the elephant as obelisk's basement.
We come to the near Piazza Montecitorio where, in front of the Palace which is seat of the Italian Parliament, we can see the obelisk originally erected in Heliopolis by Pharaon Psammetichus II and moved to Rome by Augustus.
The obelisk of Piazza del Popolo, standing in the middle of the square, is 23.90 meters tall and was the first to be transported to Rome by Augustus celebrating the victory over Egypt (it was originally collocated in Circus Maximum)Tour includes: transportation with private vehicle, authorized local English speaking guide (no entrance fees foreseen).

 

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