The Victor Emmanuel II Monument also referred to as the Altar of the Nation (Altare della Partia or Il Vittoriano) is an impressive building of white marble between Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill, inaugurated in 1911. Moreover, it provides excellent views of Rome. A military museum can be visited inside. The monument is known as “The Wedding Cake” or “The Giant Typewriter” and features allegorical statues, columns, reliefs, frescoes, and majestic staircases.
The construction of the monument started in 1885 after Giuseppe Sacconi won an architectural contest with his design. Many ruins and medieval churches were destroyed in the process and the northern part of the Capitoline Hill was emptied to start the works. However, Sacconi never saw his monument finished because he dead in 1905 and the works were completed by Manfredo Manfredi, Pio Piacentini, and Gaetano Koch. Eventually, in 1911, the Altare della Partia was inaugurated at the fiftieth anniversary of the kingdom.
Victor Emmanuel II was a King of Sardinia and the victor over the Austrian army in Lombardy. He became a symbol of the Risorgimento, which is the movement for a united Italy. Moreover, after his army joined forces with Garibaldi and defeated the papal army, Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed the king of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Always at war, Emmanuel secured Venetia and Rome for Italy.
Since 1921, the Altare della Partia holds the tomb of the unknown soldier and there is the eternal flame which is always guarded by soldiers. The monument is 135 meters width and 70 meters high. It is made of scores of beautiful Corinthian columns and impressive stairs made of white marble. On the top of the monument is an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel made of bronze and two chariots driven by the goddess Victoria.
The Victor Emmanuele II Monument was highly criticized during its construction because it was necessary to demolish many valuable buildings to create such a huge building on their place. Moreover, Italian citizens didn’t agree with the idea to build such a remarkable and eye-catching monument next to other famous ancient buildings that surround it
The upper section of the monument consists of a huge curved colonnade with fifteen meter (50ft) tall columns with small temple-like wings. Its design was inspired by the double colonnade of the Domus Augustae with views of the Circus Maximus in the Atiquity. Inside of the colonnade, there are murals and statues that represent the regions of Italy.
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Inside the building is the Institute for the History of the Italian Risorgimento and the Central Museum of the Risorgimento. This military museum is dedicated to the unification of Italy and holds weapons, flags, and other historic subjects.
Also, one of the most famous attractions of the monument is the panoramic view from the terrace located at the same height as the chariots
There are elevators to reach the upper part of the monument to enjoy the view.
There are two fountains that represent two seas that border Italy. The left one embodies the Adriatic Sea, while the right one is the Tyrrhenian Sea. Talking about the statue of Victor Emmanuel or “The Father of the Nation”, it is made by sculptor Enrico Chiaradia. Additionally, the weight of the statue is fifty tons and it is 12 meters long (39 ft).
The Altar of The Nation is one of the most beautiful, famous, and impressive building in Rome, visited daily by thousands of tourists. Undoubtedly, this is one the must-see in Rome. You can explore the history of the Eternal City and to take marvelous pictures during your visit to the monument.
Author: Kate Zusmann
For the last 6 years I live in the Eternal City. Traveling, exploring new things, writing blogs, shooting vlogs are my main hobbies, but the thing that I like even more is to share my experience and thoughts with you! Explore Rome with Us :)
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