There are several accesses to the Vittoriano but best is to start by the gate at the front on Piazza Venezia. On left and right are the monumental fountains "Due Mari" of the two seas Adriatic and Tyrrhenian.
Once you start climbing the stairs you will see on the sides the six statues representing the "I Valore degli Italiani" the Italian Values and in front of you the Altare Della Patria. A flame guarded by soldiers burns on this front terrace to mark the grave of an unknown soldier from WW I. See my tip "Altare della Patria"
Above it is the colossal equestrian statue of King Victor Emmanuel II.
On the right side of the Altar of the Fatherland you can enter the building itself and climb by another monumental staircase to the Museum of the Risorgimento and to the terrace on the right and back side of the Vittoriano. From this terrace you can enter the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli which is at the same level showing how the Vittoriano was built at the expense of the Capitoline hill.
From here visitors have access to a glass lift installed in 2007 to take paying visitors (7 € in 2007) up to the very top the "Quadriga's" terrace. As there was a queue at the elevator I remained on this intermediate terrace where there is a self service cafeteria. From this (free) terrace one has already exceptional views on the Foro di Cesare, Foro and Mercato Traiano with the Torre delle Milizie in the back and on the right the Colosseum.
This intermediate terrace with a cafeteria is really a good place to have a rest and unforgettable views on Rome.
One can also reach this terrace by the principal entrance to the Museo del Risorgimento (free entry) at Via di San Pietro in Carcere.
I like to say that despite all the criticism about this monument, the Vittoriano attracts a large number of visitors because it is a fantastic view point over the city of Rome. Don't hesitate to climb the stairs. It seems that there are somewhere lifts inside the monument but I didn't see any.
Open every day 9.30 - 18.30 h. Free.
From many of the higher vantage points that give you a view of the city of Rome, you can see a very large very white structure in the middle. If you are looking for the Colosseum, you can’t miss this white monument to unified Italy’s first king, Vittorio Emanuele II.
From everything I’ve read, the locals don’t like the monument and many tourists don’t either. I wasn’t that impressed with it – so much so that I was fine with seeing it from the street; I didn’t need to climb the steps to go inside or pay to take the elevator to the top for a view. Locals call this monument unflattering names such as the “wedding cake,” the “false teeth,” or the “typewriter.”
It was built in the early 1900s as a memorial to the king (not a tomb – he’s buried in the Pantheon); this design won from a contest of 98 other entries (one can only imagine what the others looked like). It was only later that a museum to the reunification was added along with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and its eternal flame. And recently glass elevators were added to take people to the top of the monument (they sneak some stairs in on you).
The monument is next to the Capitoline Hill with its museum and the Church of Santa Maria in Aracoelli butts up against this monument. There are three sets of almost dueling steps for each of these sites.
In the center of the two sets of steps to the monument is an equestrian statue of Emanuele and fountains that represent the Tyrrhenian Sea are on either side of the monument. At the foot of the wide steps are two bronze sculpture groups: Action and Thought, while additional groupings of sculptures around the monument represent Law, Sacrifice, Concord, and Strength. On the top of the monument are two quadrigae representing Liberty and Unity.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I is continuously watched by guardsmen who change every hour and is the site of official military ceremonies.
The glass elevator to the top of the monument costs €7 and is open daily from 0930-1930. The elevator is near the café in the back of the monument.
One of the most photographed monuments of Rome (see the number of pics here on VT) is undergoing restoration works. The central part of the frontage is covered with a sheet.
For how long? Non lo so!
Photographers will be disappointed but the two monumental chariots (Quadriga del Unita) in bronze with the winged Victory on the top of both corners at 81 m high and the colossal equestrian statue of King Victor Emmanuel II are not so bad for a pic.
Inside the Vittoriano monument is located the "Museo Centrale del Risorgimento Italiano". Risorgimento is often translated by Independence but it is in fact a period of Unification of the various peninsular States of Italy from 1815 to 1870. It should be noted that most Italian cities have a "Museum del Risorgimento" but this is the central one.
The history of unification of Italy is shown through various testimonies in a chronological way from the second half of 18th c. to the end of the First World War.
The first section of the Museum is dedicated to the chief protagonists of the Risorgimento. Are exposed paintings, sculptures, all types of documents concerning Garibaldi, Mazzini and Cavour. The swords and uniforms (including the trousers) of Garibaldi are exposed in showcases like relics.
A very dynamic sculpture is that of the battle of Castelfidardo (photo) in 1860.
The Piedmont army, the driving force in the war for Italian unification, under command of general Cialdini, won a very bloody battle against papal troops. Actually the papal soldiers were 10.000 against 40.000 Piedmonts!
This battle reduced the Papal States to the present Lazio region.
The final section of the Museum is dedicated to the World War I. In the middle of the section, is the gun carriage used in 1921 for transporting the remains of the Unknown Warrior.
March 17th 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the Italian National Unity.
The museum is open every day 9.30 - 18.30 h. and museum admission is free.
Outside the museum is a terrace (and cafeteria) with wonderful views on the centre of Rome.
Yes, Rome is full beauty, its always one visual pleasure after the next... until you get to Piazza Venezia. In fact, you can't miss it because it is a central point in Rome and a good geographical reference to see the sights along the way. It starts OK with the Venetian palace, Palazzo Venezia (it used to be the Venitian Embassy to the Pontifical states). Pope Paul II, who was from Venice, had it built when he was still a cardinal. It truly represents the architectural style you can find in the Canals City. Mussolini had his offices there and was adressing the crowd from the balcony. He also had Via dei Fori Imperiali built so he could see the Colliseum from his office. Via del Corso, a central axis, runs from there all the way to Piazza del Popolo. And then, you turn around towards the south-side an bam! The collosal Monument to Vittorio-Emmanuelle II, a white stone building most commonly known as "the wedding cake", a turn of the century structure that his now the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A sore sight for many Romans and travelers' eyes alike, you can't deny that it's impossible to forget the Monument and you can see it from afar, which helps while walking on your droman discovery. Traffic is chaotic at this huge square and you will often find a policeman on its pedestal directing the traffic and looking like an angry orchestra director!
It's also a hub for many bus lines.
Piazza Venezia is a square at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. It is surrounded with structures of Palazzo Venezia, Palazzo San Marco and is completely dominated by the huge monument of King Vittorio Emanuel II. The street in Piazza Venezia is so congested and crowded due to many tourist who want to have a glimpe of the structures around the square.
I visited the square once at daytime (late afternoon I should say!) on a little more than three days stay in Rome. It was nice to see the place on a clear sunny day, as I can imagine the reflection of the white marbles in the Vittorio Emanuel II monument will be very striking. It is also recommended that you be at the square at night as it is all well lit and that you will be able to appreciate the hugeness of the monument and the other attractive sights around the piazza.
Going at the square once is not enough. I have to return to Rome on my next European tour. There is no feeling sorry for whatever I have done because I enjoyed it and because I believe there is always a 'next time'. There are far too many places to visit in Rome, and if you are particular about seeing the spectacular architecture and stunning art of the city, then don't fail to visit Piazza Venezia, a square surrounded with many attractions. Enjoy your stay!
After you have passed Forum Romanum and continued to the right you'll see the Piazza Venezia, and it's incredible monument Il Vittoriano. It's made as a memory of Victor Emmanuel, who was the first king for the united Italy.
I'm quite sure you'll be as impressed by the building as I was the first time I saw it, although many romans makes fun of it, saying it looks like a typewriter-machine (hm, could maybe agree about that, but it's still an amazing building) or a cake.
The started to build it in 1885, and it was finished 1911, quite quickly for being in Italy, and specially in Rome :)
In 1921 also the tomb of the Unknown soldier was placed at the entrance of the building. There is a fire that will stay there for ever and it's guarded by two guards 24 hours a day.
It's there as an memory of all the Italian soldiers that have been killed in all the big and small wars during the years, although specially during the first World War if I'm not totally wrong.
The first time I went to Piazza Venezia was with one of my roman friends, who was very proud of the whole place. He had some strange right wing-opinions, but it took me some years before I understood what made him so proud about the piazza. But apart from the tomb and Il Vittoriano there is also Palazzo Venezia, which was the official residence of the Italian fascist dictator Mussolini...
On the front of the brown building you'll see the small balcony where he stood, talking to the people.
The whole Piazza Venezia is by the way the most trafficed area in the whole Rome, so be very careful when you'll pass the square...
UPDATE december 2007: The whole Il Vittoriano is restaurated in this moment, so half the building is covered by building bricks. Quite an impressive view anyway I still have to say.
The monument itself is a stunning presence - it commemorates the Risorgimento - the social and political "resurgence" as well as the military conflicts that recovered land - paving the way for Italy's eventual unification. A must-see is the museum inside that contains historic art and artifacts, photos, print media on the many elements and personages of note in this period. Of particular interest are the rooms devoted to World War I.
During the 18th century, intellectual changes began to dismantle traditional values and institutions. Liberal ideas from France and Britain spread rapidly, and from 1789 the French Revolution became the genesis of "liberal Italians". A series of political and military events resulted in a unified Italy in 1861.
The website below provides a timeline of events leading to Italian Unification. Much more about this monument and World War I on the Rome page Vittorio Emanuele travelogue. Admission to this museum is free for everyone.
The controversy surrounding this monument began with the construction which destroyed a large area of the Capitoline Hill with a Medieval neighbourhood. Then, the monument itself is often regarded as pompous and too large. It is clearly visible to most of the city of Rome despite being boxy in general shape and lacking a dome or a tower. The monument is also glaringly white, making it highly conspicuous amidst the generally brownish buildings surrounding it, and its stacked, crowded nature has lent it several derogatory nicknames. Romans sometimes refer to the structure by a variety of irreverent slang expressions, such as "Zuppa Inglese", "the wedding cake", and "the false teeth", while Americans liberating Rome in 1944 labeled it "the typewriter", a nickname also adopted by the locals. Despite all this criticism, the monument still attracts a large number of visitors - Italian and tourists.
This piazza seems to be the traffic center of Rome. We stopped here for a refreshing beer and some great people watching - there were people everywhere, cars from all directions and of course hundreds of the ubiquitous Vespas. In the center of it all, on a pedastal in the middle of the intersection was a traffic cop dressed in black trousers, white shirt, helmet and gloves. Watching him direct (?) the traffic, we felt that there should be some lively and grand symphony as background to amplify his dramatic waves, whistles and gestures. The piazza also faces the huge Victor Emmanuel monument and the balcony from which Mussolini delivered his ranting speeches and stirred up the Fascists into a rabid mass.
There has to be a moment when you run in to
this huge 'building'. It is the most important
monument for the unification of Italie.
95 Architects and designers competed to
their design to be chosen as the
'Altare della Patria'. Most important demands
for this monument were size and impressiveness.
For example , the harse statue in the middle
is 12 meters long.
And 'Giuseppe Sacconi' did make an important
monument for the unknown soldier.
There must have been tons of Bresia marble in it.
So mission succeeded.
Opinions seem to be variably. It is said that
the romans got a few nicknames for it.
Not a bad word from me. I like largely and
I love the horses and the angels on top.
What I also found special is during nightime
you can see the seagulls fly above this monument.
They are lighted from below. Mysterious.
You will see this monument from different
places in the city. I think you should see
it on different point of time to see what
lightning does with it.
One thing crosses my mind?
What was there before they build this ...
How much did it cost? And how much taxes
did the people back then payd for it?
This monument honoring Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy was begun in 1885 by Giuseppe Sacconi and completed in 1935. In 1925 the central part of the monument was opened, the Altare della Patria. The monument, also known as Il Vittoriano and "The Wedding Cake" is 443 feet wide and 230 feet high. It's located between Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill. Vittoriano offers a tremendous view of Rome. One of the more notable aspects of the monument is the Eternal Flame and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, who's remains were chosen from World War I unidentified soldiers. The tomb is under constant watch by Roman Honor Guard. Hours in the winter are 9.30 - 16.30, summer 9.30 - 17.30 and admission is free.
This mammoth structure is a monument to Victor Emmanuel, the first president of the unified Italy, built around the turn of the 20th C probably in hopes of being a unifying symbol of the marriage of the various regions that comprise present day Italy. It is massive and starkly modern compared to some of its surroundings but is not unattractive. It backs up to the Campidoglio and the Forum and faces Piazza Venecia. I read that the locals have various names for it: "the wedding cake," "the typewriter" and "the dentures." You can get some idea of its size by seeing how small the automobiles are in front of it.
It is the special place, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It always is moving to be there and think about all those people, soldiers who lost their lifes during the wars...
It is dedicated to the soldiers of War I but in my opinion it is the tomb of the all soldiers who never returned to their homes, mothers, wifes, fiancees, sisters...
This tomb lies before the Il Vittoriano.
What do you do if you are a johnny come lately first king of Italy in 1885 and you want to build something that overwhelms the monumental architecture of Rome? Well you build this monstrosity. Much maligned by locals as the "wedding cake" for its sterility, this however is a very impressive monument. It contains the Italian version fo the tomb of the unknwon soldier contains museums inside and offers great views of Rome from the top.
The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, coloquially called "Vittoriano", was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi and it dominates the whole area of Capitol Hill. This huge monument commemorate Italian unification and have special significations in the hearts of its citizens.
The central part of the monument is occupied by the equestrian statue of the king, work of Venetian sculptor Chiaradia and completed by Gallori after the death os the artists. The bas-reliefs on the base represents the most famous Italian cities, while in the center is the Altar of the Fatherland, crowned by the statue of Rome. In 1921 the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added to the monument.
Il Vittoriano is one of the emblems of the Rome and belongs to the most visited sights of the town.