Altare della Patria
|Altare della Patria|
The Altare della Patria.
Location within Rome
|Alternative names||Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
|Height||70 m (230 ft)|
|Design and construction|
The Altare della Patria ([alˈtaːre ˈdella ˈpaːtrja]; English: "Altar of the Fatherland"), also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II ("National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II") or Il Vittoriano, is a monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill.
The eclectic structure was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885; sculpture for it was parceled out to established sculptors all over Italy, such as Leonardo Bistolfi and Angelo Zanelli. It was inaugurated in 1911 and completed in 1925.
The Vittoriano features stairways, Corinthian columns, fountains, an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. The structure is 135 m (443 ft) wide and 70 m (230 ft) high. If the quadrigae and winged victories are included, the height reaches 81 m (266 ft). It has a total area of 17,000 square meters.
The base of the structure houses the museum of Italian Unification. In 2007, a panoramic elevator was added to the structure, allowing visitors to ride up to the roof for 360 degree views of Rome.
The monument holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame, built under the statue of goddess Roma after World War I following an idea of General Giulio Douhet. The body of the unknown soldier was chosen on 26 October 1921 from among 11 unknown remains by Maria Bergamas, a woman from Gradisca d'Isonzo whose only child was killed during World War I. Her son's body was never recovered. The selected unknown was transferred from Aquileia, where the ceremony with Bergamas had taken place, to Rome and buried in a state funeral on 4 November 1921.
The flags of disbanded units of the Italian Armed Forces, as well as the flags of ships stricken from the naval register of the Italian Navy are stored at the Vittoriano in the so-called Shrine of the Flags (Sacrario delle Bandiere). The oldest flag on display is the flag of the 19th-century frigate Giuseppe Garibaldi.
The monument, the largest in Rome, was controversial since its construction destroyed a large area of the Capitoline Hill with a Medieval neighbourhood for its sake. The monument itself is often regarded as conspicuous, pompous and too large. Yet, in its defense, one should remember that the monument, as a visual symbol of the new nation of Italy and of the city of Rome liberated from monarchical papal rule, had to assert itself aggressively and uniquely upon the Roman landscape, since it was and is in competition with so many other conspicuous monuments, like Piazza San Pietro: in that it has completely succeeded.
It has been described as being "chopped with terrible brutality into the immensely complicated fabric of the hill." The structure is not designed in a "Roman" style, but is a mingling of Greek and Teutonic styles, with inspiration drawn from the German architect Leo von Klenze.
It is clearly visible to most of the city of Rome despite being boxy in general shape and lacking a dome or a tower. The monument is also glaringly white, built from "corpse-white marble" imported from Botticino in Brescia making it highly conspicuous amidst the generally brownish buildings surrounding it, and its stacked, crowded nature has lent it several nicknames. Foreign people sometimes refer to the structure by a variety of nicknames, such as torta nuziale ("the wedding cake"), whereas Romans commonly call it "the typewriter", although zuppa Inglese (" English soup", a type of dessert) and pisciatoio nazionale ("national urinal") are also used by people that dislike the monument. Despite all this criticism, the monument still attracts a large number of visitors.
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