In the center of Piazza San Pietro, the Vatican obelisk stands between two enormous fountains and four cast-iron lamp posts. It stands on four bronze lions and was placed in the square by Domenico Fontana for Pope Sixtus V. It was brought to Rome from Alexandria in Egypt in 37 CE by Caligula who used it to decorate Nero's circus. Many legends arose around the enormous monolith. It is said that while it was being raised, in total silence, a certain Bresca (who realized the cords were breaking) prevented it falling by shouting the famous phrase, "Water on the cords". Even more famous is the story that the tip of the obelisk held the ashes of the cremated Julius Caesar in the bronze globe that is now to be seen in the Capitoline museums. Now the tip of the obelisk is crowned, 41 meters up, by a relic of the Holy Cross.
- Open Hours: Monday to Sunday from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Attractions & Landmarks
- Nearest Train: Ottaviano-S. Pietro