The structure is about 98 ft in height, or 115 ft including its large pedestal. The shaft is made from a series of 20 colossal Carrara marble drums, each weighing about 32 tons, with a diameter of over 12 ft.
The 620-foot frieze winds around the shaft 23 times. Inside the shaft, a spiral staircase of 185 steps provides access to a viewing platform at the top.
Ancient coins indicate preliminary plans to top the column with a statue of a bird, probably an eagle. After construction, though, a statue of Trajan was put in place.
This statue of Trajan, however, disappeared in the Middle Ages. On 4 December 1587, the top was crowned by Pope Sixtus V with a bronze figure of St. Peter, which remains to this day.
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