Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rome, another High Point: Altare della Patria AKA Il Vittoriano

While in Rome, another stupendous vantage point is the top of Il Vittoriano. You can't miss it, it's that big white monument to a shrinking violet named Vittorio Emanuele, Re d'Italia (VERDI). In fact the only way you could possibly miss it is to be standing right on top of it.

I'm joking, he clearly wasn't a wallflower. He was the King of Italy, a contemporary of Guiseppe Garibaldi, and was known as the Father of the Homeland/Nation (and also, I believe, related to Marie Antoinette - if I am reading the chart correctly one his grandparents would have been a sibling to her).

His monument, inaugurated at the 50th anniversary of the unification of Italy, honors more than just Vittorio - including Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was controversial when it was built (and may still be) because of the damage it did to an archeologically sensitive part of Rome. They plowed it into the Capitoline, from the looks of it, and they even moved a church and took out some cloisters of the convent of Aracoeli.

Apparently the lift was installed in 2007 which was around the time of my last visit. We arrived in May so I suppose we just missed it.

If you want to visit it, the best way to reach it is to go up the Aracoeli steps. I think that is 100+ steps right there, so you've got another scoop of gelato coming afterwards. When I walked those steps I distinctly heard the theme to Rocky when I reached the summit.

Once you are at the top of the steps you go through the gate to the monument and then walk behind it to the lift, pay your 7E and get whisked to the top.  I managed to time this view for sunset.

Here are a few photos of the Aracoeli steps one morning:


Here are the sunset photos taken from the top of Il Vittoriano, all taken with my iPhone. Very freeing not to carry around the Big Bertha, but, the photo quality simply isn't as good.


Here are some views of Il Vittoriano from afar.  This will give you perspective on how large it is.

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