Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Victor Emmanuel Monument, Rome

Victor Emmanuel Monument is known as Vittoriano. It began in 1885 and was inaugurated in 1911 in honour of King Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, the first King of a unified Italy. The king is depicted in a gilt bronze equestrian statue, oversized –just like the monument.

The edifice also contains a museum of the Risorgimento, the events that led to unification. Built in white Brescian marble, the wedding cake, as it is also known, will never mellow into the ochre tones of surrounding buildings. It is widely held to be the epitome of self-important, insensitive architecture, though the views it offers are spectacular.

Vittorio Emanuelle II, the first born son of Charles Albert, was elevated to the Sardinian thrown following his father’s abdication in March 1849. In 1859 he fought alongside France in the war against Austria (the Second War of Independence), in the process winning Lombardy. In 1860, the Kingdom of Sardinia annexed the regions of Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and the Marches, followed by the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. On 14th March 1861, Vittorio Emanuele II took on the title King of Italy. After 20th September 1870 and the taking of Porta Pia, Rome became the Capital of Italy and the King transferred his residence to the Quirinal Palace. On the kings death bed (9th January 1878) his successor, Umberto I, agreed to entomb his father at the Pantheon. However, two years later, in 1880, the first competition was posted regarding the erection of a monument in Rome to Vittorio Emanuele II, which was eventually to become the Vittoriano at Piazza Venezia.

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