In 1585, the "Vatican obelisk" was moved 275 feet (83 m) to the square in front of Saint Peter's Basilica. Architect Domenico Fontana designed a wooden tower that would be constructed around the obelisk, connected to a system of ropes and pulleys. The move, including construction of the tower, took 13 months. Seventy-two horses and more than 900 men worked on the project.
This obelisk was brought to Rome from Egypt in AD 37 by emperor Caligula. It is 85 feet tall (25.5 m) and weighs 330 tons. The Romans stole so many Egyptian obelisks that there are more in Rome (13) than in Egypt. Nobody knows how the ancient Romans or Egyptians moved and erected these huge monuments, but Fontana's drawings show one way it could be done with pre-modern technology. This illustration is from the Getty.