The Obelisco Quirinale (14.6 m), which is located in Piazza del Quirinale, was one of two obelisks that once stood outside the Mausoleum of Augustus. The other is the Obelisco Esquilino. Both were created in Egypt, when it was a Roman province.
In 1786, by order of Pope Pius VI (r. 1775-99), the obelisk joined the two statues of the Dioscuri, known as the ‘horse tamers’, which stand outside the Palazzo del Quirinale.
The inscriptions at the base of the obelisk read: XII KAL OCT / MDCCLXXXVI (September 20th, 1786); ANNO XII / SACRI PRINCIPATVS EIVS (In the twelfth year of his sacred office); SALVE / OPTIME PRINCEPS / SALVE / PARENS POPVLI ROMANI / VOTISQVE VIVE NOSTRIS / VIVE VRBI TVAE / VIVE / ORBI CHRISTIANO / CVI TE DEVS / MAXIMVM RECTOREM / DEDIT. (Hail, best of princes. Hail, father of the Roman people. And live in our prayers; live for your city, live for Christendom, on which God has bestowed you as its supreme ruler.)
The long inscription on the south-east side declares: ME QVONDAM AEGYPTI DESECTVM E CAVTIBVS VNDAS / VIS QUEM PER MEDIAS ROMVLA TRANSTVLERAT / VT STAREM AVGVSTI MOLES MIRANDA SEPVLCRI /CAESAREUM TIBERIS QVA NEMUS ADLVERET / IAM FRVSTRA EVERSVM FRACTVMQUE INFESTA VETVSTAS / NISA EST AGGESTIS CONDERE RVDERIBVS / NAM PIVS IN LVCEM REVOCAT SARTVMQUE QUIRINI / SVBLIMEM IN COLLIS VERTICE STARE IVBET / INTER ALEXANDRI MEDIVS QUI MAXIMA SIGNA / TESTABOR SEXTI GRANDIA FACTA PII. (Now in vain has hostile time striven to bury me, overturned and shattered, in heaps of rubble, I, once hewn from the cliffs of Egypt and borne through the midst of the sea by the strength of Romulus that I might rise, mighty marvel of Augustus' tomb, where the Tiber lapped at the grove of the Caesars for Pius recalls me to the light and bids me, remade, to stand tall on the summit of the hill of Quirinus, where between the mighty figures of Alexander I shall attest to the great works of Pius the Sixth.)
In 1818, at the behest of Pope Pius VII (r. 1800-23), a fountain was added to complete the ensemble. The fountain was designed by Raffaello Stern (1774-1820). The inscription reads: PIVS VII PONT MAX / QVOD ABSOLVENDVM SVPERERAT / ADDITO CRATERE EXCITATO SALIENTE / SYMPLEGMA CONSVMMAVIT / A D MCCCXVIII PONTI XIX. (Pius VII, Pontifex Maximus, by adding the basin and erecting the fountain, brought to completion the ensemble, which remained to be finished, in the year of our Lord 1818, the 19th of his pontificate.)