Rome Travel Guide

Rome Sights

Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, or Altare della Patria (Victor Emmanuel II Monument, or Altar of the Nation)

  • Entrances on Piazza Venezia, Piazza del Campidoglio, and Via di San Pietro in Carcere Map It
  • Piazza di Spagna
  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

Published 06/20/2007

Fodor's Review

The huge white mass of the "Vittoriano" is an inescapable landmark—Romans say you can only avoid looking at it if you're actually standing on it. Some have likened it to a huge wedding cake; others, to an immense typewriter. Though not held in the highest esteem by present-day citizens, it was the source of great civic pride at the time of its construction at the turn of the 20th century. To create this elaborate marble monster and the vast piazza on which it stands, architects blithely destroyed many ancient and medieval buildings and altered the slope of the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill), which abuts it. Built to honor the unification of Italy and the nation's first king, Victor Emmanuel II, it also shelters the eternal flame at the tomb of Italy's Unknown Soldier, killed during World War I. The flame is guarded day and night by sentinels, while inside the building there is the (rather dry) Institute of the History of the Risorgimento. You can't avoid the Monumento, so enjoy neo-imperial

grandiosity at its most bombastic.

The views from the top are some of Rome's most panoramic. The only way up is by elevator (entrance located several flights of stairs up on the right as you face the monument). Opposite the monument, note the enclosed olive-green wooden veranda fronting the palace on the corner of Via del Plebiscito and Via del Corso. For the many years that she lived in Rome, Napoléon's mother had a fine view of the local goings-on from this spot. The monument also houses the Caffetteria Italia, which has great views and follows the same hours as the elevator.

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Sight Information


Entrances on Piazza Venezia, Piazza del Campidoglio, and Via di San Pietro in Carcere, Rome, Latium, 00186, Italy

Map It




Sight Details:

  • Free, elevator €7

Published 06/20/2007


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