Monument to Victor Emmanuel II - History and Facts | History Hit

Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

Rome, Lazio, Italy

The Monument to Victor Emmanuel II celebrates the first king to rule a unified Italy.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

The Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II) is a vast tribute to the Italian king known as the “Father of the Fatherland.”

Monument to Victor Emmanuel II history

Victor Emmanuel II reigned from 1861 to 1878. He was the leading force behind the unification of Italy and served as its first king following the establishment of the unified kingdom.

To commemorate him, a monument was then under construction work and its final design was decided by a contest. This contest was won by Giuseppe Sacconi from Le Marche.

Work building the memorial began in 1878 following Victor Emmanuel II’s death. It was always a controversial matter for reasons such as the ostentatious use of marble and excessive rhetoric. The monument was always about its large size, and this did not appear to fit in with the image of the Roman city as the capital of classicism.

The Monument to Victor Emmanuel II is an ostentatious white marble structure and was inaugurated in 1911. A statue of the king himself sits in front of a stairway leading up to a large, ornate white marble building with Corinthian columns.

It also has its famous detail, the Altare della Patria, or the Altar of the Fatherland, which is where the tomb of an unknown soldier is found. This soldier was killed in World War One and became a symbol for all unknown fallen soldiers of Italy.

Monument to Victor Emmanuel II today

Inside the Monument, to Victor Emmanuel II there is a small museum about Italian unification. This museum, the Museum of the Risorgimento, displays weapons, flags and other objects related to this historic moment.

Visitors can also go to the terrace at the top of the monument for panoramic views. It is part of the UNESCO site of the Historic Centre of Rome.

Getting to the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

The monument is located between Piazza Venezia square and Capitoline Hill. Other places of interest near this monument are the Forum of Trajan with the large and very detailed column of Trajan. To get there by public transport, visitors can take metro line B to Colosseo. Alternatively buses 40, 44, 84, 780 and 810 pass nearby.