Credit © iStock/Elena Odareeva
Credit © iStock/Elena Odareeva
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Egyptian steps in Rome

2 minutes to read

There are many places of Rome connected to ancient Egypt, as the link between these two millennial civilizations is very close.

After the conquest in the Egyptian land by the Roman emperor Julius Caesar, Rome knows the great civilization of the Middle East. Today there are numerous testimonies of Egyptian Rome or those that evoke Egypt — starting with the Pyramid Cestia, built in the Ostiense area, completely covered with white Carrara marble.

© iStock/lucamato
© iStock/lucamato
Pyramid Cestia Rome
Pyramid Cestia Rome
Via Raffaele Persichetti, Roma RM, Italia

The Obelisks

Not only the pyramids but above all the obelisks are witnesses of the ancient relationship between Rome and Egypt. Moreover, there are many small temples dedicated to the cult of Isis and Serapis, almost wholly destroyed, and the remains of statues and sculptures dating back to 'Ancient Egypt.

© Mara Noveni
© Mara Noveni

In imperial times the obelisks had not only a decorative function, but they remembered the victories, and they were a sign of the power of civilization. During the barbarian invasions, many of these obelisks were destroyed or lost. Only in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, they were relocated to the squares of Rome. Pope Sisto V's goal was to create a tourist-religious itinerary for pilgrims, who were helped to find their way following the path through the obelisks.

Then, on the recommendation of Pope Sisto V, 4 obelisks were placed: one in Piazza San Pietro, one in Esquilino, one in San Giovanni in Laterano and another one in Piazza del Popolo. Later, other famous squares of Rome were embellished with Egyptian obelisks.

The Obelisco Lateranense is the oldest, and comes from Thebes (now Luxor), in front of the temple of Amon at Karnak. The obelisk of St. Peter's Square is the only one still standing and comes from Heliopolis, as well as the Flaminio obelisk, located in Piazza del Popolo.

Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano
Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano
Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican
Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano
Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano
Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4, 00184 Roma, Italie
Esquilino Obelisk
Esquilino Obelisk
Piazza dell'Esquilino, Roma RM, Italia
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo, 00187 Roma, Italie

The Egyptian Academy in Rome

The Egyptian Academy in Rome is a place where all Egyptian culture, both ancient and modern, is represented. It houses the Egyptian Museum, which illustrates salient passages from the great history of ancient Egypt through unique replicas of part of the funerary equipment of the Tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Inside the Egyptian Academy, which recalls the Library of Alexandria in Egypt as architectural form and external decorations, various types of art are hosted. Through exhibitions, concerts, cultural events, conferences, the whole world of Egyptian Fine Arts is illustrated.

Egyptian Academy in Rome
Egyptian Academy in Rome
Via Omero, 4, 00197 Roma RM, Italia

Vatican Museums

Of great importance for quality and quantity of pieces, the Gregorian Egyptian Museum was founded inside the Vatican Museums by Pope Gregory XVI and houses a vast collection of finds from ancient Egypt. The exhibited material includes papyrus, mummies, the famous Book of the Dead, and the Grassi Collection.

Musei Vaticani
Musei Vaticani
Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma

Musei Capitolini

The Egyptian hall includes remarkable statuary with Egyptian pieces. The glyptic collection recently donated by the Santarelli family, housed in Palazzo Clementino Caffarelli, presents various Egyptian pieces.

Musei Capitolini
Musei Capitolini
Piazza del Campidoglio, 1, 00186 Roma, Italie

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The author

Mara Noveni

Mara Noveni

My name is Mara, I am Italian, born in Rome and raised in the wonderful Tuscany. Always in love with reading and writing, I completed this way of expressing myself through photography, especially street and travel photography. Thanks to my many and long travel experiences, I have enriched my mind and my inner life.

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