Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II)/ Vittoriano/ Museo della Patria

"Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II)/ Vittoriano/ Museo della Patria" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Wednesday 11th May 2011

statue of Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, rome, italy

In 1878 the Italian Parliament decided to build a national monument in honor of the recently deceased sovereign Victor Emmanuel II. The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II) or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) or "Il Vittoriano" is a monument to honor Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. After publishing two international competitions (in 1880 and 1882) for drawings, it was decided to choose the ones presented by Giuseppe Sacconi. This young architect from the Marche region used the great temples of classical times as a model and conceived the designated space as a scenic representation celebrating the Italian Risorgimento at the heart of Imperial Rome. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill.

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II)/ Vittoriano/ Museo della Patria
The two-fold problem of visibility and the absence of a national monument was resolved beginning in 1885 with the construction, on the north side of the Campidoglio, of the large monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, designed by Sacconi in the Greco-Roman style. Inaugurated in 1911, the 50th-annivesary of the Unification of Italy, the building was completed only in 1925. The Vittoriano (the name was assumed following the Italian victory in the First World War) is both a national monument and the new Campidoglio [Capitol Hill] of unified Italy: a statute that was defined in 1921, following the burial of the Unknown Soldier at the feet of the Altare della Patria. With a width of 135 metres and a height of 70 metres, (81 with its quadrigae and winged victories) the Vittoriano overshadows the ancient Campidoglio, hides the church of Aracoeli and, above all, with its high colonnade, constitutes the backdrop of the central axis of the trident created by Sixtus V at the end of the 16th-century. Its central visibility, limited from afar by the narrow width of via del Corso, is accompanied by the more inviting perspective from piazza dell’Esedra down the via Nazionale, the new axis of 19th-century Rome, framing the side colonnade of the Vittoriano and restoring the illusion that one is looking at an ancient, monumental scene.

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II)/ Vittoriano/ Museo della Patria was built in 1885-1911, but completely finished only a decade later. It is a monument to the King who united Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, and to the Italian struggle for independence. The author of the project is G.Sacconi, who won an international contest of 1880-1884, opened after the king's death in 1878. In total there were 293 projects. Unfortunately the place chosen for the monument was not appropriate for this 80m high mass of white "botticino" marble from Brescia, familiarly known as "the wedding cake" or "typewriter".

Some of the old constructions had to be destroyed: Palace of Paul III, Convent of S.Maria in Aracoeli and etc. The big quantity of statues and decorative elements was executed by the best sculptors of the epoch. The colossal equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II (12m high, and with the capacity of 21 persons in the horse's stomach) is by Enrico Chiaradia; two enormous quadrigas are by Paolo Bartolini (1908). At the foot of the statue of Dea Roma, by A.Zanelli, is a Grave of Italy's Unknown Soldier from the First World War, guarded by two sentinels.
Night view of Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II)/ Vittoriano/ Museo della Patria, rome, italy
The years between 1885 and 1910 saw works in the whole area at the foot of the Capitol, with the demolition of the existing Medieval and Renaissance buildings. To improve the view of the new monument, even the Palazzetto Venezia and Church of Santa Rita were moved. After Sacconi’s death, in 1905, the construction works were directed by the architects Gaetano Koch, Manfredo Manfredi and Pio Piacentini. On 4 June 1911, during the International Exposition marking the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel III inaugurated the huge gilt-bronze equestrian statue.

At the sides of the monument are fountains representing the Tyrrhenian Sea, by P.Canonica, and the Adriatic.

On the left of the monument are the rests of the Tomb of C.Publicius Bibulus (1st century b.C.), and on the right, close to the staircase of Aracoeli, was discovered a Roman house of the 2nd century A.D.. The interior of the Monumento houses the Istituto per la Storia del Risorgimento, with its own historical archives and Museum. The latter was founded in 1906 and open to public only in 1970. The entrance is from the left side of the monument. It contains a vast documentation about Italy's struggle for independence from the 18th century to the WWI.

National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II/ Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II)/ Vittoriano/ Museo della Patria
Piazza Venezia
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Trevi (Quirinale-Tritone-Barberini) (Roma centro)
Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II)/ Vittoriano/ Museo della Patria is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "131"
Bus: H, 40, 44, 46, 60, 62, 63, 64, 70, 75, 81, 84, 85, 87, 95, 160, 170, 175, 186, 492, 780, 628, 716, 781, 810, 850 en 204 (fest.) [40, 64, from Termini Station or 63, 95 form Piazza Barberini]
By Metro: Line B - Colosseo
Opening hours:
Daily from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7p.m. Dec 24th and 31st from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The box-office closes 1 hour before. Closed on Monday and Jan 1st, May 1st, Dec 25th.
Winter: Mon-Sun 9.30am-6.30pm, Last entrance at 4.30pm.
Summer: Mon-Sun 9am-6.30pm., Last entrance at 5.30pm.
FULL 5.00 €. REDUCED 4,20 € (European Union citizens between 18 and 25 years old; - European Union teachers of State schools only by showing valid membership card); FREE € 2 (European Union citizens under 18 and over 65 years old. - ICOM members (only by showing valid membership card) - European Union school groups, upon reservation. - European Union students and teachers in Architecture, History of Arts only by showing valid membership card. - Journalists only by showing valid membership card).
Telephone: 0039 06 6991718, 066 780664, 066780363/6793598
Official Web site:

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