The Vittoriano or the Altare della Patria (Alter of the Fatherland) divides both Rome itself and opinion. Situated between Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill it’s slightly hard to miss. I’ve skirted round the edges of it, wondering how to get in, and only realising at the end of our last trip that there’s an elevator to the rooftop.
Sadly, this was exactly the moment when my camera battery decided to die, so the pictures below are the work of my other half, Colin!
Built to honour both the newly unified Italy and its first king, Vittorio Emanuele II, work on this complex started in 1885, and was completed in 1925. It rather cleverly integrates the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with eternal flames just out shot below, and anyone seen disrespecting that gets a sharp whistle from the attending guards….
Once inside, there’s more to see, but we were aiming for Roma Dal Cielo (Roma from the sky) the panoramic lift which talks the visitor right up to the terrace of the giant quadrigas. We were treated to an almost 360 degree view of the Roman cityscape, from the remains of the Forum almost directly underneath, to the Pantheon, Villa Medici and Villa Borghese and beyond.
I think we’ll be back, maybe taking more time to explore inside of the building, which houses the Museo of the Risorgimento (Italian unification), as well as temporary exhibits.
Just beside the elevator and backing onto the whole complex sits Santa Maria in Aracoeli, the church of the Capitoline (you can see the shortcut gates in the pic below), showing just how close this massive monument gets to ancient ruins, and perhaps showing some of the controversy around its build and reception. But back to this church, and again an unimposing building – this time one that’s been there for nearly 1500 years – hides real splendour within.