I had one day in Rome. A day of surprises and hidden secrets in Rome. I have given an outline of how the ‘Perfect Day‘ would unfold. Each destination in the city was to be determined on the go by twitter followers.
The first tip in the morning as I landed in this great city. To head to the top of Il Vittoriano.
A monument known by a variety of names – Il Vittoriano or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) and also Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II).
With the vast amount of buildings in Rome, and those that have been will know what I mean. You cannot avoid seeing this huge marble monument rising up to the sky. Contrasting with the ancient buildings around and below it on Capitoline Hill.
The monument building was built as a tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of a united Italy. Started in 1885 it was completed in 1911.
There is of course a lot of controversy around the building since its beginnings. From the top you look straight down onto the remains of The Forum of ancient Rome. Yes this new building was purposely placed in the very heart of ancient Rome and thus some history was demolished and built over. Roman ruins and medieval churches disappeared from the spot. It was an idea to be the modern ‘Forum’.
It was not just built as a tribute in its time but also to bring the city out of being just ancient and to compete architecturally with other great European cities. Think Admiralty Arch in London, The Brandenberg Gate in Berlin. Or the Opera Garnier of Paris.
The building also houses their tomb of the unknown soldier from after WW1.
Since it was built it has had rough times as well as good. During WW2 it was used as the scene for huge fascist parades by Mussolini.
Although a sign of times gone past, but not near as far back as other buildings in Rome. From the roof of Il Vittoriano you can see for miles and miles. Way over the city in each direction. A 360 degree view of this wonderful historic place and the skyline.
Every rooftop, statue and ruin seemed to be within eyeshot. Vatican, Colosseum, The Forum and on and on. Rome has it all for sure. No matter how I wanted to stay and gaze it was time to find out where I was to be sent next?
Even on the way down I could not help looking up and around. The whole of the structure combined with the buildings immediately surrounding can leave a sense of awe in the mind.
To get up to that top terrace you need to go round the back of the building where you will find a lift. Get there early to avoid queues and it costs just a handful of euros to get up.
The senses were buzzing and camera on work overload. Down the steps, so much to see. Yes. Time for the next place.