Victor Emmanuel Monument

Victor Emmanuel Monument(Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II or Altare della Patria, or Vittoriano) (1885). Referred to deprecatingly as "The Typewriter" or "Wedding Cake," this great white pile was inspired by Roman imperial buildings. Officially the "Altar of the Fatherland," it celebrates Italy's unification in 1870 and is dedicated to the first King, Victor Emmanuel II.

The flying horses and chariots at the top are what any self-respecting public building would have in Ancient Rome. Its blinding white marble probably typified the mega-buildings that once clogged the Roman Forum behind it.

But it seems out of place today amongst the weathered buildings around it. and many Romans wish it would sink under its own great weight. Guarded by smartly uniformed troops night and day, it houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with its eternal flame, reminiscent of the House of the Vestals next door.

Within it is the Museo del Risorgimento, with occasional exhibits, but usually closed.

Piazza Venezia (Map H 6)