Not only was it laid out in a perfectly elliptical shape, but dead center stood a towering Egyptian obelisk-a square pillar of stone with a distinctively pyramidal tip.
Are any of the churches located near obelisks?
In the center of the piazza rose Caligula’s 350-ton Egyptian obelisk.
Spoils of Rome’s imperial plundering, obelisks were scattered across Rome and referred to by symbologists as "Lofty Pyramids"-skyward extensions of the sacred pyramidal form.
The first two markers had been located on or near piazzas that contained obelisks!
Two fountains flanked the obelisk in perfect symmetry.
Maybe obelisks were a theme?
"Or," Vittoria added, "Bernini could have placed his markers near existing obelisks."
To the obelisk?
As they neared the obelisk, Vittoria slowed.
Tourists wandered, nuns chatted along the perimeter of the piazza, a girl fed pigeons at the base of the obelisk.
A homeless drunk dozed awkwardly at the base of the obelisk.
The terrified youngster stood frozen, pointing at the base of the obelisk where a shabby, decrepit drunk sat slumped on the stairs.
City planners had removed the obelisk and replaced it with a small fountain called the Triton.
In Bernini’s day, Langdon now realized, Piazza Barberini had contained an obelisk!
No obelisks on the line.
Somewhere around the obelisk, boldly positioned outside the largest church in the world, was the second altar of science-Bernini’s West Ponente-an elliptical block in St. Peter’s Square.
Twenty years ago, construction of the subway terminal had created a stir among art historians who feared digging beneath Piazza Barberini might topple the multiton obelisk that stood in the center.
He considered the cruciform arrangement of the four obelisks.
A giant cross of obelisks.
And even more perfect, Langdon realized, the cherry on the cake, was that high atop Bernini’s fountain stood a towering obelisk.
Atop this stood an obelisk that climbed another forty feet.
On the obelisk’s tip, a faint shadow blotted the sky, a lone pigeon perched silently.
Scanning the hieroglyphics covering the obelisk, he wondered if perhaps there were a clue hidden in the Egyptian symbology.
Feeling a shimmer of hope, Langdon circumnavigated the fountain one more time and studied all four facades of the obelisk.
Langdon was staring straight up the obelisk.
It was perched high atop the obelisk, gazing calmly westward.
They clattered across the upper levels of the granite obelisk.
Halfway to the base of the obelisk, he emerged from the mist and could see the head of the bird more clearly.
The truth almost lifted Langdon the rest of the way to the obelisk.
Langdon could think of no more lofty perch for the Illuminati’s final marker than atop this obelisk.
He reached the platform from which the obelisk rose and could climb no higher.
In a final breathtaking revelation, Langdon realized Bernini’s city-wide cross of obelisks marked the fortress in perfect Illuminati fashion; the cross’s central arm passed directly through the center of the castle’s bridge, dividing it into two equal halves.
"It’s a long shot," Langdon said, "but I know that many of Rome’s obelisks were erected or moved during Bernini’s reign.
There are no more uses of "obelisk" in the book.
Show samples from other sources
Colin and Hassan followed her to a six-foot-tall obelisk—a kind of miniature Washington Monument—before which la’ a plethora of not-new pink silk roses.