|There's a reason I liked the Vittorio Emanuele II monument in Rome. One clue: It's the highest, most noticeable thing in this photograph.|
|My, how the white marble of the Vittorio Emanuele stands out against the duller colours of the Roman Forum. The monument is the farthest thing away in this picture, but especially with the distinctive statues on top, it's a clear landmark.|
Despite paper maps, Google maps, guidebooks and intense study of same, I could still get off a bus in broad daylight in Rome and feel like I had just landed on Mars.
It took awhile, but eventually I realized that the Vittorio Emanuele monument – derided by the Romans as an over-the-top white pile disfiguring the ancient part of the city – had become one of my favourite buildings.
From the Janiculum hill across the Tiber, from the Spanish Steps, from Trajan’s Market, from the Palatine hill and the Roman Forum, it shone out in a blaze of white marble with its chariots and horses galloping sky-high on top. You could see it from anywhere! Not only that, but the buses and trams that would take me home – and I knew their numbers, oh yes – all stopped nearby.
The Romans, the tourists, may call it a giant wedding cake or a typewriter, but to me, it was glorious. It was my own personal North Shore mountains.
|Eighty metres high and 120 metres wide of sparkling white marble makes the monument really hard to ignore. The statues that fly from two points on top, visible from many points of the city, are of winged Victories representing freedom and unity.|