The Monument to Victor Emanuel II

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View from the top of the Vittoriano, Rome

View from the top of the Vittoriano, with the corner of Palazzo Venezia straight ahead, and the cupola of the Pantheon at 2 o'clock, St. Peter's at 11 o'clock, in the distance. The equestrian statue on the right represents King Victor Emmanuel II.


The Monument to Victor Emanuel II, also called "Il Vittoriano" (to celebrate victory), was built between 1885 and 1911.

This huge monument, originally designed by Giuseppe Sacconi, is dedicated to the King Victor Emmanuel II of Savoia, who achieved the unification of Italy in 1870, with Rome as its capital.

A broad flight of steps leads to the Altar of the Nation. The Tomb of Unknown Soldier is guarded by an honour guard and a perennial flame.

The steps are flanked by two allegorical groups in bronze gilt, representing Thought and Action.

The large equestrian statue of  King VEII dominates the Altar of the Nation.

At the foot of the monument, two fountains flank the staircase, with statues representing the Tyrrhenian Sea (right) and the Adriatic (left).

The Vittoriano has been reopened recently, after years of extensive restoration. It's worth climbing the staircase to enjoy the view of Rome - with the added advantage that, from the Vittoriano itself, you cannot see this large blotch on the Roman landscape.

Roman ruins and medieval churches were destroyed to make room for this oversized cream cake - this disaster is nicely documented in a museum inside the Vittoriano.

If the kitsch of the building doesn't make you sick, the cops patrolling the monument, who will pounce on you when  you sit to take a picture on the steps, certainly will. As you can't avoid this eyesore - you might as well visit it.

Inside the portico, at the top of the Vittoriano

Don't even think of sitting on the steps - cops will pounce on you - it's strictly verboten! And, please, do refrain from nasty remarks about the fact that real criminals get away with practically anything in Italy.

In the background, the medieval church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, nearly touching the Vittoriano.


A view from the back of the Vittoriano, with the steps of the church of Santa Marian in Ara Coeli (white marble), the Capitol steps (in darker stone, flat, so you could climb on horseback), the Teatro Marcello in the background and the house of the Colonna family at 3 o'clock. The Synagogue, in the background, just behind the Colonna house.