Monumento Vittorio Emanuele II - Altare della Patria Rome

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Sebastian Erkens

The national monument in honor of the first Italian king is Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II in Piazza Venezia.

Better known to Italians as the Altare della Patria or ‘Rome’s typewriter,’ the spectacular building attracts thousands of tourists every day.


The colossal monument was built between 1885 and 1927, but years before its completion, the Vittorio Emanuele Monument was inaugurated in 1911.

It commemorates Italy’s unification in March 1861, which was made possible by Italy’s first king, Victor Emmanuel II.

Visitor Information:

Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma

Subway stop: Colosseo, line B
Bus: 40, 44, 84, 780, 810

Opening hours:
Monday – Sunday: 9.30 am – 7.30 pm (last admission is at 6.45 pm!)
25.12 | 01.01 permanently closed

Capitoline Museums (0,1 km)
Roman Forum (0,3 km)
Palatine Hill (0,8 km)
Colosseum (1,3 km)

Recommended exploration time:
1 hour (without museum)

Altare della Patria - Rome's monument in honor of Italy's unification

The Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II is located in the heart of the Eternal City, close to Capitoline Hill and the Roman Forum.

Especially in the summer months, the white marble façade of the majestic 135-metre-wide and 70-metre-high building literally glows at its visitors!

It was Giuseppe Sacconi who designed this beautiful Rome attraction. However, the monument was completed by someone else, namely the Italian sculptor and composer Pietro Canonica.

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The top of the chic marble construction features two chariots symbolizing freedom and unity. In the center is a giant bronze statue of Victor Emmanuel II on horseback. It is around 12 meters high and weighs over 4 tons.

Since 1921, the Viktor Emanuel monument has also contained the tomb of the unknown soldier. The eternal flame, which you can see burning in the middle of the steps, is also guarded day and night by two soldiers.

Contrary to what you might think, Victor Emmanuel II was not buried in the ‘Altare della Patria’ but in the 2000-year-old Pantheon.

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Highlights of the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II

Roof terrace with a 360-degree view of Rome:

One of the absolute highlights of the Viktor Emanuel Monument is the fantastic 360° terrace with a view of the Eternal City.

Even if you must pay an entrance fee for this beautiful viewpoint (12 euros), you should take advantage of the view, at least in good weather!

If you visit Rome in winter, be sure to see the gigantic Christmas tree erected yearly in front of the massive marble monument!


Museo Centrale del Risorgimento:

The museum mainly informs its visitors about the history of Italy’s unification in 1861. There, visitors can meet well-known personalities such as Giuseppe Mazzini, Camillo Benso, and Garibaldi.

The museum contains a modern art exhibition, some relics, and personal valuables from Garibaldi and Co. On average, visitors spend about an hour in the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento. Access is via the entrance on Via di San Pietro in Carcere.

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The bronze statue of the Vittorio Emanuele monument:

The equestrian statue in the center of the ‘Altare della Patria,’ which looks rather inconspicuous from afar, appears colossal up close.

No wonder when you consider that this statue is at least 12 meters high and 10 meters long! It was created by the Italian sculptor Enrico Chiaradia, who worked on his mega project for almost 20 years.


The grave of the unknown soldier:

Guarded day and night by two soldiers, the tomb of the unknown soldier can be recognized relatively quickly just below the statue of the goddess Roma. The fire you see here is the Eternal Flame.

The crypt of the unknown soldier has a very high symbolic significance. This unidentifiable soldier symbolizes all the millions of Italian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the First World War.


Santa Maria in Aracoeli:

Directly behind the Vittorio Emanuele monument is one of the oldest churches in Rome, the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.

The church had an important function, primarily due to its central location. In the Middle Ages, it served as a place of justice and as the town parliament, among other things. Its official name is Santa Maria in Ara Coeli al Campidoglio. 


Palazzo Venezia:

Directly opposite the Vittorio monument is the Palazzo Venezia, a wonderful Renaissance building from the 15th century. If you have time, you should visit the palace. Cardinals and even popes such as Pope Paul II have lived here! 

Today, the palace houses a museum that is well worth a visit. You can also gain fascinating insights into the highly feudal chambers of the past. The murals alone are well worth a visit.


Where is the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II located?

Editor: Sebastian Erkens
Hey and welcome to Rome-Tourist! My name is Sebastian and I travel regularly to Rome, Italy.
On our Rome blog you will get valuable travel tips. If you have any questions about specific tours or sights, feel free to leave us a comment.

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