Rome is home to more obelisks than any other city in the world, a grand total of eighteen, including the world's largest. In addition to eight ancient Egyptian obelisks, there are five ancient Roman obelisks and five modern (19th & 20th century) obelisks.
Obelisks originated in the world of the ancient Egyptians, who thought them to be sacred to the sun god. They were generally erected in pairs at the entrances to temples.
A traditional obelisk is a square, tapering, monolithic pillar, which culminates in a capstone, known as a pyramidion. The pyramidion was normally sheathed in a bright metal, such as gold, gilded bronze or electrum, so that its facets reflected the moving sun. The faces of the shaft are normally decorated with hieroglyphs.
Obelisks were known to the ancient Egyptians as Tekhenu; obelisk comes from the Greek word obeliskos, which means a 'small spit'.
Click on my Google Map to see the location of all the obelisks in Rome.