Art or Eyesore? "The Wedding Cake" In Rome

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


The glaringly white Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II OR Altare della Patria OR Il Vittoriano was built to honour the first king of unified Italy, Victor Emmanuel. Completed in 1935, it sits in the core of Rome between the huge Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill. The marble monstrosity is 135m wide and 70m high making it clearly visible to most of the city.

Though impressive, this monument has had a contentious relationship with the people of Rome since its completion. Many consider it to be pompus, too large, and crowded with too many statues. Its stacked appearance has caused it to be called “the wedding cake” and “the typewriter” by residents and visitors alike. 

But, it is not its gaudy appearance that has created the most controversy, it is the location of the monument. Capitoline Hill is one of the 7 hills of Rome and was home to the earliest Roman’s religious and ruling power. The hill represents thousands of years of history and ritual that was partially destroyed when the monument was erected.

this monument has had a contentious reletaionship with the people of Rome since its completion

To only add to the reasons why locals dislike the building is the fact that many tourists are drawn to it because of its impressive size and bright shiny marble. They walk past the important brown remains of the forums of ancient Rome to explore the massive ‘wedding cake’, viewing it as an example of what the ancient architecture looked like in its heyday and ignoring the history that it eclipses.