Marvel at the shining white exterior and larger-than-life bronze statues of this impressive monument.
One of Rome’s most distinctive sights, the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II has long divided opinion. Some admire its colossal bronze equestrian statue and its intricate reliefs, while others have criticized it for being too showy and over-the-top. View it yourself to form your own opinion. Discover the treacherous history of the unification of Italy at the nearby museum and take the elevator to the roof for one of the best viewpoints in the city.
Completed in 1925, Il Vittoriano was built to honor Italy’s first king, who is credited with creating a single Italian kingdom in 1861. Made from thick, gleaming white marble and standing 230 feet (70 meters) tall, this gigantic structure is visible from several points across the city.
Walk through the piazza toward the monument and look for the gilded bronze figure of the former king. This 39-foot (12-meter) statue stands above an altar, which is decorated with reliefs representing 14 of Italy’s most important cities. Pay your respects to wartime heroes at the eternal flame that burns just in front of this altar. This marks the grave of an unknown World War I soldier and is a poignant tribute to those who died and were never identified.
Carry on up the wide staircase to reach the main building. Supported by towering Corinthian columns, it is decorated with swirling motifs and carvings of deities. High above on either side of the roof are two bronze chariots being ridden by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory. These sculptures symbolize unity and liberty throughout the country.
Take advantage of this spectacular photo opportunity at the top of the staircase before venturing inside the connecting Museo Centrale del Risorgimento. Browse a range of exhibitions and displays that tell of the bloody battles and conflicts that finally led to Italian unification.
Before leaving, ride the Roma dal Cielo elevator to the top of the monument. Enjoy panoramic views over the entire city and look down over the array of statues and fountains below.
The National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II is located in the Piazza Venezia. Walk from the city center or take a bus to the piazza. The monument is open daily and entry is free.