The 'Pinciano' Obelisk (9.25 m), which stands in Viale dell' Obelisco on the Pincian hill, was commissioned by the emperor Hadrian (r. 117-38) and erected at the tomb of Antinous, the nineteen-year-old favourite of the emperor who died in 130. The obelisk was moved to Rome by the emperor Elagabalus (r. 218-22) to decorate the spina of the Circus Varianus.
The obelisk was unearthed in the 16th century near the Porta Maggiore. It was first moved to the Palazzo Barberini and later to the Vatican. Hadrian's obelisk was finally erected in 1822 on the Pincian hill, at the behest of Pope Pius VII (r. 1800-23).
There are three inscriptions on the base; the main one reads: PIVS VII PONT MAX / OBELISCVM AURELIANVM / QVI VNVS SVPERERAT / TEMPORVM INIVRIA DIFFRACTVM / DIVQVE OBLITVM / IN PRISTINAM FACIEM RESTITVI / ATQVE HOC IN LOCO ERIGI IVSSIT / VT AMOENA PINCII SPATIA / CIVIBUS AD APRICANDVM APERTA / EXIMII GENERIS MONVMENTO / DECORARET.