The elephant in the piazza: Bernini and Minerva’s chick

Learning Escapes

If you go for a stroll around the area of Piazza del Pantheon in Rome, you are likely to come a cross a peculiar square called Piazza della Minerva, a small hidden spot that is home of one equally peculiar monument: the statue of an elephant carrying an Egyptian obelisk on its back.

Obelisks are easy to find in Rome and you don’t have to look further than landmarks such as piazza Navona or even Piazza San Pietro to see incredible examples of them. Elephants, on the other end, are a rare sight in the Eternal city, so this chunky pachyderm makes this obelisk pretty unique. Unique is also the story, or I should maybe say the gossip, that surrounds its construction: it is one of the many legends that surround Bernini and I find it really funny.

The story highlights two of the most distinctive traits of the Romans: cynicism and humor.

Il pulcin della Minerva, Piazza della Minerva Il pulcin…

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