Rome – To The Top of Il Vittoriano

The beginning of another trip to wonderful city of Rome, Italy. A city full of so much history and so many things to visit and see, it is impossible to do it all in just one trip that is for sure.

My first thing to do in Rome is to head to the top of Il Vittoriano. From up here on this historic building you can see over the whole city and see your discoveries ahead, the Forum just below to the sprawling streets and piazzas beyond.

statue on top of Top of Il Vittoriano

History

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 more ancient buildings around and below it on Capitoline Hill.

looking up at Il Vittoriano

This 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 very purposely placed in the very heart of ancient Rome and thus some history, including parts of the Forum was demolished and built over.

Roman ruins and medieval churches disappeared from the spot. The Il Vittoriano was designed at the time to be the ‘modern Forum’.

Rome skyline from the terrace of Il Vittoriano

It was not just built as a tribute in its time, but also to bring the city away from being just ancient.

Another part of the idea was 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 Il Vittoriano also houses Italy’s tomb of the unknown soldier from after WW1.

ancient rome from top of Il Vittoriano

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.

a view over Rome

Although it is a symbol of times gone past, it doesn’t go near as far back as other buildings in Rome.

Views

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.

rome skyline from Il Vittoriano

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?

the view of the Forum from Il Vittoriano
looking up to the top from the Forum side of Il Vittoriano

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.

the streets behind Il Vittoriano

How To get To The Top Of Il Vittoriano

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.

modern rome building near ancient rome

The senses were buzzing and camera on work overload. Down the steps, so much to see.

There are many good reason we chose the top of the Il Vittoriano to introduce our video on a Perfect Day In Rome:

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12 Comments

  1. Avatar of Kathryn Orzech Kathryn Orzech says:

    Beautiful pictures, I didn’t know you could go to the top of that monument!

    1. Avatar of Paul Steele Paul Steele says:

      Yes.. head round the back, up the steps and a lift takes you to the top for a few Euros.

  2. One year ago, I visited Rome. I falled in love with this city!! Your photos are so beautiful, I’ll hope to return soon.

  3. SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I just found your blog and am so glad I did. We’ll be in Rome this summer, and I’m compiling a list of all the things I want to do. The views (as seen from your pictures) are breath-taking; I want to create my own!

    1. Avatar of Paul Steele Paul Steele says:

      Hi Katrina.. thanks very much. Yes go create and have a great time 🙂

  4. Avatar of Chanel @ La Viajera Morena Chanel @ La Viajera Morena says:

    Those are lovely photos! I plan to visit Rome this summer 😀

    1. Avatar of Paul Steele Paul Steele says:

      Hi Chanel, a wonderful City to visit I assure you 🙂 Thank you so much

  5. Fantastic shots Paul! Love how blue the sky is.. I will visit here one day!

    1. Avatar of Paul Steele Paul Steele says:

      Hi Ciki 🙂 ty… you must indeed

  6. Very beautiful! I love Rome!

  7. Avatar of Josie Leung Josie Leung says:

    Nice pictures! I’ve always wanted to go to Rome!

    1. Avatar of Paul Steele Paul Steele says:

      Worth the trip and more Josie I assure you 🙂

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