The Altare della Patria is a striking and dominating marble edifice that dominates Piazza Venezia and is noticeable amidst the church domes and rooftops in Rome‘s skyline. The building name translates to “Altar of the Fatherland” and was built between 1885-1925 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, himself referred to as Father of the Fatherland and who served as the first king of a unified Italy.
Altare della Patria is a building with many names, including Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II) and Il Vittoriano, though it has accrued some less flattering monikers since it was first designed by Italian architect Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885. Standing a sweeping 70 m (230 ft) tall and 135 m (443 ft) wide, the neoclassical monument is made of marble and features elaborate staircases, columns, fountains and statues. It’s commonly called “The Wedding Cake” and “The Typewriter” by critics who protest its ostentatious design and its incongruity with the city’s architecture. In fact, much of the Capitoline Hill and its surrounding medieval neighborhood were destroyed to create space. The altar even obscures the Colosseum behind it, which some say appears to supplant it in importance.
However, when Sacconi designed it, he sought to represent Italy geographically and allegorically. He did this through a number of elaborate symbols, friezes and statues featured on the altar. The two fountains at either end of the monument represent the seas surrounding the Italian peninsula, the Adriatic Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea. A cycle of friezes at the top of the monument depict the regions of Italy personified as statues, and a bronze statue of Vittorio Emanuele II on horseback is prominently displayed in the center on top of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with its eternal flame.
Il Vittoriano contains a museum dedicated to Italian unification, and visitors can climb to the rooftop for sweeping views of the city. Just behind the monument is a separate exhibition space, the Complesso del Vittoriano Ala Brasini, which hosts important art shows in its numerous halls.
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.