One of the most talked about and visited buildings in Rome is the Altare della Patria, otherwise known as the Alter of the Fatherland. It’s particularly loved by tourists as it is possible to ride a glass lift up to the top and get magnificent views of Rome, particularly the Colosseum, from a close-range.
The Altare della Patria is perfectly located in Capitoline Hill in the centre of the city, with views of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill from one direction, the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica in the other. Few views are as beautiful as this one, but few will cost you even a portion of the price. Aside from the St Peter’s Basilica and others from inside the Vatican, the majority of the view points in the city are free, but riding the lift on the Altare della Patria costs €7 each. Worth it? That’s for you to decide.Although it is loved by tourists, it’s considered a controvertial building by locals and has been given some uncomplimentary nicknames by Romans including ‘Wedding cake’ and ‘English soup dessert’. This is not the first time I’ve heard dessert-y nicknames for ugly buildings. Romans hate it because its construction destroyed a large area of Capitoline Hill and a medieval village and it’s somewhat of a blot on an otherwise perfect landscape.However, what Roman’s consider ugly is very different to what I consider ugly. The Altare della Patria is meerly new, or at least, young for Rome’s standards, having been completed in 1925. It was built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy.However, if you agree with the Romans that this building doesn’t quite blend in to its surroundings, that’s the perfect reason to visit it and see the views! You can’t see the building if you’re standing on top of it.