The Vittoriano monument, among the most famous landmarks in Rome, is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Vittoriano Museum Complex (Complesso del Museo Vittoriano). This is where some of the city’s most important art exhibitions are held each year, so it’s a particularly interesting for art enthusiasts.
The Vittoriano, also known as the Altare della Patria or Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, was inaugurated in 1911 to honor the first king of the newly united Italy. Today, in addition to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento (Museum of Italian Unification), and the Sacrario delle Bandiere gallery of Italian military flags, the enormous building houses a large exhibition space in the eastern wing (Ala Brasini), which is used as a venue for temporary exhibitions. For one of the best views in the city, take the panoramic Roma dal Cielo elevator, which was added to the building in 2007, up to the rooftop Terrazza delle Quadrighe.
The Vittoriano dominates the central Piazza Venezia square near the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and is included in many small-group walking tours of Rome, or guided tours by bike or car. The monument is particularly striking at night, so consider joining an evening tour to see its white-marble staircase and dramatically lit facade.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The museum complex inside the Vittoriano hosts important exhibitions and retrospectives of Italian and international artists, which change regularly.
- Be sure to bring your camera if you’re taking the Roma dal Cielo elevator up to the monument’s rooftop terrace.
- The monument is accessible to wheelchairs via the Via del Teatro di Marcello entrance on the right side of the building.
How to Get There
The Vittoriano has three entrances: Piazza Venezia; Via di San Pietro in Carcere on the left side of the building; and Via del Teatro di Marcello on the right. All are easily accessible from Piazza Venezia, one of the main squares in the center of Rome and a transit hub for buses and trams from the Termini train station.
When to Get There
The museum complex at the Vittoriano is open daily into the evening hours, so consider visiting after the midday crowds have dispersed. Catch the elevator to the panoramic terrace either first thing in the morning or as the sun is setting for the best photographs.
The Vittoriano Controversy
Since its completion at the beginning of the 20th century, the Vittoriano has been one of Rome’s most controversial monuments, an object of derision for many Romans due to its massive size and elaborate architecture. Over the decades, it has earned a number of nicknames from locals, including “the typewriter”, “the wedding cake”, “the dentures”, and “the trifle.”