If you are visiting Rome over the months of July and August, prepare your sight seeing eyes to look out for something specific.
That something specific I’m referring to? Not your typical sight seeing feature, it’s not on any itinerary and it there won’t be a guided tour for it.
It’s quite simple and almost boring to consider when you’re on vacation. But nonetheless a big deal. What is it?
Posters and billboards in random places that have a full program of music, art or cultural events.
Why do I make a point of this for you? Because as beautiful as Rome is, no question about it, sometimes the organization to KNOW about some of these free, live and amazing events during our summer time isn’t as great!
The events themselves are sensational and often a surprise that they are free. I’ve often thought as I’ve made my way home, with a smile of satisfaction on my face and every muscle in my body relaxed from the festivity, “I can’t believe that awesome talent and show was for free!”.
Rome’s culture embraces music of all genres, choirs, chorales, orchestras, bands and combinations there of. One in particular I will share with you because of it’s diversity and spectacular location.
Only recently the Vittoriano Monument has been opened in the evenings. The Vittoriano Monument many visitors refer to as the “wedding cake”, the Italians tend to call it an “eye sore” because of it’s distinct architecture from the Historical Centre (hello the latter are 1000’s of years old people!) or in respectful, authentic terms – It is the Altar of the Fatherland.
It is the first building built by Italians FOR ITALY. It honors Kind Vittorio Emmanuele II who was instrumental in liberating Italy and then unifying Italy. This monument has special and important origins for Italy. Despite its use for not so great politics in ensuing years, it remains true to it’s purpose and it’s grandeur and essence are incredible.
The soldiers on duty 24/7 continue to protect and honor the Tomb of the Unknown soldier alongside Goddess Roma.
This year it was also open at night compared to the day time only ability to go in the heavy front gates and only to certain sections of the monument. Now that restorations and repairs have been finalised, experiencing this building at night time is a must when you visit Rome. It is quietly inviting amid it’s over the top marble pillars, statues of horses and angels watching over Rome city. The golden lights of Rome open up other portals of vista as you walk up the many flights of stairs to get to the top or around to the back terraces. Each step opens you up to another room, hallway, fresco and artwork. Each of them slowly transporting you into the era of those looking out for Italy and creating it’s character and identity.
It really is something to be experienced.
Over the summer of 2016 the Vittorian hosted near 2 months of bands, singers and cultural discussions in the back terrace. Normally a cafe area overlooking the Imperial Forum, Emperor Augustus Forum and Trajans Markets, the cafe was converted into a seating area while residents and visitors alike were welcomed to enjoy music and conversation once or twice a week. This was the program, the number of items simply there as demonstration of the rich and packed program on offer.
A bonus of it all…. the amazing night view of the Imperial Forum. Looking out over an ornate marble balcony and seeing Trajan’s Market in front of you, Emperor Augustus forum a bit to the right and then further off to the right….. the Colosseum. Priceless! The golden lights of Rome take these views to an ethereal level. It is easy to just stand there in silence and soak it up, the vibe of Ancient Rome and The Eternal City, for hours!
So when you visit and get those moments in between your itinerary tours to walk around Rome, chances of you ending up at Piazza Venezia are quite high. It’s the chaotic 2 roundabouts in one area with a lot of traffic, cars and people. Simply ask for Piazza Venezia and someone can easily point you in the right direction.
The white marble building that sticks out from all the rest, rather large and really hard to miss, yep that’s the Vittoriano. The Altar of the Fatherland. Enter the front heavy set gates from Piazza Venezia and the steps will take you up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can view the changing of the guard here.
The rest of this monument, explore. You’ll have spaces opened up to you that aren’t visible from the ground level. And vista’s that are incredible photo opportunities.
A word of warning though. Don’t sit on the steps or be overly loud or consider taking fun pose photos. The guards will blow their whistle at you with any sign of disrespectful behaviours. They are very mindful of what the monument represents in history and that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is just up the steps. This is one of the special things about visiting this Monument.. .the bustle and chaos of Rome city itself doesn’t enter this space so the contrast is quite the experience.
Enjoy visiting the Altar of the Fatherland.