Altare della Patria

The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument (Italian: "Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II"), also known as the (Mole del) Vittoriano, Il Vittoriano, or Altare della Patria (English: "Altar of the Fatherland"), is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy.[1] It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. It's currently managed by the Polo Museale del Lazio, the Italian Ministry of Defense and the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento Italiano (Museo centrale del Risorgimento al Vittoriano).

The eclectic structure was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885. Established Italian sculptors, such as Leonardo Bistolfi and Angelo Zanelli, made its sculptures nationwide. [2] It was inaugurated on June 4th, 1911 and completed in 1935.[3]

Its design is a neoclassical interpretation of the Roman Forum. It features stairways, Corinthian columns, fountains, an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel II, and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. The base houses the museum of Italian Unification[4][5] and in 2007 a panoramic lift was added to the structure, allowing visitors to ride up to the roof for 360-degree views of Rome.[6] The structure is 135 m (443 ft) wide and 70 m (230 ft) high. If the quadrigae and winged victories are included, the height reaches 81 m (266 ft).[4] It has a total area of 17,550 square metres.[7]

The monument holds great national significance. It is an architectonic and artistic tribute to the Italian Risorgimento: the complex process of unification undertaken by Victor Emmanuel II throughout the second half of the 19th Century. It is regarded as a national symbol of Italy and every year it hosts important national celebrations.[1] The largest annual celebrations are Liberation Day (April 25th), Republic Day (Italian: "Festa della Repubblica Italiana") (June 2nd), and Armed Forces Day (Italian: "Giornata dell'Unità Nazionale e delle Forze Armate") (November 4th). During these celebrations, the Italian President and the highest government officials pay tribute to the Unknown Soldier and those who died in the line of duty by laying a laurel wreath.[7]

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
Altar della Patria September 2015-1
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument
Altare della Patria is located in Rome
Altare della Patria
Location within Rome
Alternative names"(Mole del) Vittoriano
"Il Vittoriano"
"Altare della Patria"
General information
Architectural styleNeoclassical with eclectic influences
LocationRome, Italy
Coordinates41°53′41″N 12°28′59″E / 41.894599°N 12.483092°ECoordinates: 41°53′41″N 12°28′59″E / 41.894599°N 12.483092°E
Construction started1885
InauguratedJune 4th, 1911
Height70 m (230 ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectGiuseppe Sacconi

Brief History of the Monument

Following the death of Victor Emmanuel II in 1878, the Italian government approved the construction of a monumental complex on the Northern side of Rome’s Capitol Hill. The monument would celebrate the legacy of the first king of Italy and would become a symbol of national patriotism. Construction began in 1885, under the lead of Italian architect Giuseppe Sacconi, and required the demolition of numerous buildings in the proximity of the selected location.[1]

The partly completed monument was inaugurated on June 4th, 1911 on the occasion of the Turin International world’s fair and the 50th anniversary of Italian Unification. Construction continued throughout the first half of the 20th Century; in 1921 the body of the Unknown Soldier was placed in the crypt under the statue of goddess Roma and in 1935 the monument was fully completed amidst the inauguration of the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento Italiano (Museo Centrale del Risorgimento al Vittoriano).[4]

With the rise of Fascism in 1922, the Vittoriano became the setting for the military parades of the authoritarian regime guided by Benito Mussolini. After World War II, with the institution of the Italian Republic in 1946, the monument was stripped of all its Fascist symbolisms and reassumed its original function as a secular temple dedicated to the Italian nation and its people.[7] Throughout the second half of the 20th Century, however, its significance as a symbol of national identity started declining as the public opinion started perceiving it as a cumbersome relic representing a nation superseded by its own history.[1] At the turn of the 21st Century, Italy’s President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi pushed for a revaluation of Italian patriotic symbols, including the Vittoriano. To this day the monument hosts major national parades and celebrations such as Liberation Day (April 25th), Republic Day (Italian: "Festa della Repubblica Italiana") (June 2nd), and Armed Forces Day(Italian: "Giornata dell'Unità Nazionale e delle Forze Armate") (November 4th).[7]

Unknown soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, under the statue of goddess Roma, with the eternal flame on the right

The monument holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame, built under the statue of goddess Roma after World War I following an idea of General Giulio Douhet. The body of the unknown soldier was chosen on 26 October 1921 from among 11 unknown remains by Maria Bergamas, a woman from Gradisca d'Isonzo whose only child was killed during World War I. Her son's body was never recovered. The selected unknown was transferred from Aquileia, where the ceremony with Bergamas had taken place, to Rome and buried in a state funeral on 4 November 1921.

Military colours

The flags of disbanded units of the Italian Armed Forces, as well as the flags of ships stricken from the naval register of the Italian Navy are stored at the Vittoriano in the so-called Shrine of the Flags (Sacrario delle Bandiere). The oldest flag on display is the flag of the 19th-century frigate Giuseppe Garibaldi. When an Italian military unit is reactivated its flag is taken from the Vittoriano and returned to the unit, which with the flag receives also the name, traditions, and military honors bestowed upon the flag over time.


The monument, the largest in Rome, was controversial since its construction destroyed a large area of the Capitoline Hill with a Medieval neighbourhood for its sake.[8] The monument itself is often regarded as conspicuous,[8] pompous and too large.[5][1][9]

It has been described as being "chopped with terrible brutality into the immensely complicated fabric of the hill".[10]

It is clearly visible to most of the city of Rome despite being boxy in general shape and lacking a dome or a tower.[4] The monument is also glaringly white, built from "corpse-white marble" imported from Botticino in Brescia, making it highly conspicuous amidst the generally brownish buildings surrounding it. For its shape and conspicuous nature, Romans have given it a number of humorous and somewhat uncomplimentary nicknames, including la torta nuziale ("the wedding cake"), la dentiera ("the dentures"), macchina da scrivere ("the typewriter") and la zuppa inglese ("English soup" dessert, which refers to a trifle).[11]


Piazza Venezia, Towards Altare della Patria

A view from the Piazza Venezia, looking towards Altare della Patria from the North-West

Vittorio Emanuele II statua altare Patria

Bronze statue of Victor Emmanuel II

Fontana dell'Adriatico - Vittoriano, Roma

Fontana dell'Adriatico

Rione IX Pigna, 00186 Roma, Italy - panoramio (17)

One of the two winged lion statue

Italian cities Vittoriano

The cities of Italy, from the pedestal

Rome-Italy, Vittoriano - Il Pensiero, G.Monteverde

Il Pensiero, Giulio Monteverde

Roma Monumento Vittorio Emanuele II 001
Roma Monumento Vittorio Emanuele II 002
Victory proclamation WW1 Vittoriano

Victory proclamation in World War I

Roma Vittoriano - Vittoria alata con palma e serpente - N.Cantalamessa (esterna destra)

Winged Victory, on the left

Roma Vittoriano - Quadriga dell'Unità

The Quadriga dell'Unità on the summit


Initial study for Victoria on quadriga, inside the building


  1. ^ a b c d e Atkinson, David; Cosgrove, Denis (March 1998). "Urban Rhetoric and Embodied Identities: City, Nation, and Empire at the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome, 1870-1945". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 88 (1): 28–49. doi:10.1111/1467-8306.00083.
  2. ^ Sandra Berresford, Italian Memorial Sculpture, 1820-1940: A Legacy of Love56.
  3. ^ "Ministero della Difesa - Il Vittoriano". (in Italian). Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Vidotto, Vittorio. "The Invention of Two Capital Cities. Archaeology and Public Spaces in Athens and Rome" (PDF). European Association for Urban History. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  5. ^ a b d'Aquino, Niccolò (February 2001). "Capitals: Rome". Europe (403): 36–38.
  6. ^ Vittoriano, su con l'ascensore da oggi le terrazze con vista
  7. ^ a b c d Tobia, Bruno (2011). L'altare della patria (2nd ed.). Bologna: Il mulino. ISBN 978-8-81523-341-7. OCLC 742504798.
  8. ^ a b Hughes, R (2012). Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History. Random House. pp. 372–4. ISBN 0375711686.
  9. ^ Peter Davey (October 1996). "Outrage". The Architectural Review. 200 (1196): 25.
  10. ^ Davey, P (1996). "Outrage - the Vittorio Emanuele II monument in Rome". The Architectural Review. October, 1996.
  11. ^ "Il Vittoriano". Hotel des Artistes. Retrieved 2 November 2016.

External links

1911 in architecture

The year 1911 in architecture involved some significant architectural events and new buildings.

1925 in architecture

The year 1925 in architecture involved some significant events.

Cesare Spighi

Cesare Spighi (April 23, 1854 - 1929) was an Italian engineer and architect.

Spighi was born and died in Florence. He made his first studies at the Istituto Tecnico Provinciale of Florence; from there he moved to Pisa, followed by studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence, where he obtained various prizes. After exiting the Academy, he worked in the studio of the engineers Comparini, Calderini, and Micheli, and alongside professor Giuseppe Castellazzi, he took part in the restoration of the church of Santa Trinita. A Ministry of Florence commissioned from him a study to enlarge the Laurentian Library, but the government was limited in funds for projects. He competed unsuccessfully in the first legs of the contest to design a monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome, which ultimately led to the Altare della Patria.

He pursued various projects for the reordering of central Florence; one of these projects was presented in 1888 to the Commune, but not pursued. He was nominated as architect for the Royal Commission for the Conservation of Tuscan Monuments. Among his designs in Florence and surroundings, are included the Villino del conte Daudini on Viale Prince Eugenio and the Villino Rosai at the Barriera delle Cure.

He also designed the Villa Renatico-Martini (1887), now a museum but originally built for the fascist writer Ferdinando Martini (1841-1928) in Monsummano Terme, near Pistoia. He also completed a monument to Ugo Foscolo, and two cemeteries in San Piero in Bagno in Emilia-Romagna near Forlì. He also designed the church in San Piero in Bagno, and played a role in its urban planning. Spighi was elected consigliere comunale for the city of Florence, and assessor of public works. He served also as President of the various Civil Societies in Florence, associate of various Academies, and Secretary at the Artist's Circle (a society of artists). He was instructor in architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts in Florence. He was Knighted into the Order of the Crown of Italy.

Emilio Gallori

Emilio Gallori (1846–1924) was an Italian sculptor, principally of historical monuments and religious statuary.

Fontana dell'Acqua Felice

The Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses, is a monumental fountain located in the Quirinale District of Rome, Italy. It marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice aqueduct restored by Pope Sixtus V. It was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 1585-88.

Fontana di Piazza d'Aracoeli

The fountain in the Piazza d'Aracoeli is a fountain in Rome (Italy), located at the base of the Capitoline Hill, in the little square with the same name.

It is one of the first and simplest of Renaissance fountains that would embellish the city. Two circular basins, capture the water, the top ringed by children pouring water from jugs, while above them is the heraldic symbol of the papal family. Commissioned by Pope Sixtus V in 1589, the fountain was designed by Giacomo della Porta and constructed by Andrea Brasca, Pietro Gucci and Pace Naldini. In front of the fountain, once stood the facade of Santi Venanzio e Ansovino, razed and now replaced with by the roads and park-space near the Altare della Patria.

List of monuments of Italy

Monuments of Italy, due to the country's long and varied history, are present in various locations. The country's national landmark, the Colosseum of Rome, was used for entertainment for the people of Rome.

With 54, Italy is the country with the single largest number of World Heritage Sites.

Manfredo Manfredi

Manfredo Manfredi (Italian: [maɱˈfreːdo maɱˈfreːdi]; 16 April 1859, Piacenza – 13 October 1927, Piacenza) was an Italian architect.In 1880, Manfredi began his studies at the Accademia di belle arti di Roma (Academy of Fine Arts in Rome). In 1884 he came in second in the architectural competition for the monument now known as the Altare della Patria to honour Victor Emmanuel. When the winning architect Giuseppe Sacconi died in 1905, Manfredi, Gaetano Koch and Pio Piacentini were appointed to oversee the completion of the monument.Manfredi helped found the Scuola Superiore di Architettura in Rome and was its director from 1908 to 1920. He was also involved in politics and was an elected member of the Parliament of Italy between 1909 and 1919.

National Unity and Armed Forces Day

The National Unity and Armed Forces Day is an Italian national day since 1919 which commemorates the victory in World War I. It's celebrated every 4 November, in the same day when armistice of Villa Giusti became effective in 1918 declaring Austria-Hungary's surrender.

National monument

A national monument is a monument constructed in order to commemorate something of national importance such as the country's founding, independence or a war.

The term may also refer to a specific monument status, such as a national heritage site, which most national monuments are by reason of their cultural importance rather than age. The National monument aims to represent the nation, and serve as a focus for national identity.

National symbols of Italy

National symbols of Italy are the symbols that are used in Italy to represent what is unique about the nation, reflecting different aspects of its cultural life and history.

Piazza Farnese

Piazza Farnese, in Rome, is the main square of the Regola district.

Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia (Italian: [ˈpjattsa veˈnɛttsja]) is the central hub of Rome, Italy, in which several thoroughfares intersect, including the Via dei Fori Imperiali and the Via del Corso. It takes its name from the Palazzo Venezia, built by the Venetian Cardinal, Pietro Barbo (later Pope Paul II) alongside the church of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice. The Palazzo Venezia served as the embassy of the Republic of Venice in Rome.

One side of the Piazza is the site of Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altare della Patria, part of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of Italy.

The piazza or square is at the foot of the Capitoline Hill and next to Trajan's Forum. The main artery, the Via di Fori Imperiali begins there and leads past the Roman Forum to the Colosseum.

Capitalizing on this modern and ancient symbolism--and the useful open space--Piazza Venezia was the location of public speeches given by the Italian dictator Mussolini to crowds of his supporters in the 1920s-1940s.

In 2009, during excavations in the middle of the square for the construction of the Rome C Metro Line (station Venezia), remains of the emperor Hadrian's Athenaeum were unearthed.

Timeline of the city of Rome

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Rome, Italy.

Victor Emmanuel

Victor Emmanuel may refer to:

Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia (1759–1824), Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (1820–1878), King of Sardinia

Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (1869–1947), King of Italy

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

Victor Emmanuel II (Italian: Vittorio Emanuele II; full name: Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso di Savoia; 14 March 1820 – 9 January 1878) was King of Sardinia from 1849 until 17 March 1861. At that point, he assumed the title of King of Italy and became the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet of Father of the Fatherland (Italian: Padre della Patria). The monument Altare della Patria (or Vittoriano) in Rome was built in his honor.

Villa Ada

Villa Ada is a park in Rome, Italy, with a surface of 450 acres (1.8 km2) it is the second largest in the city after Villa Doria Pamphili. It is located in the northeastern part of the city.

Viminal Hill

The Viminal Hill (; Latin: Collis Viminalis; Italian: Viminale [vimiˈnaːle]) is the smallest of the famous Seven Hills of Rome. A finger-shape cusp pointing toward central Rome between the Quirinal Hill to the northwest and the Esquiline Hill to the southeast, it is home to the Teatro dell'Opera and the Termini Railway Station.

At the top of Viminal Hill is the Palace of Viminale that hosts the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior; currently the term Il Viminale means the Ministry of the Interior.

According to Livy, the hill first became part of the city of Rome, along with the Quirinal Hill, during the reign of Servius Tullius, Rome' sixth king, in the 6th century BC.

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