Vittorio Emanuele II Statue
Public Art : Vittorio Emanuele II Statue .
Sculptor : © Enrico Chiaradia and completed by Emilio
Date Inaugurated : June 4th, 1911.
Description : A 10 m long and 12m high bronze statue
of Vittorio Emanuele II on his stead. The equestrian statue is perched on top of a marble pedestal which is
decorated with a bas-relief depicting the cities of Italy.
Location : Standing outside the Vittoriano (aka
Typewriter, Wedding Cake, False Teeth) at Piazza Venezia, on the intersection of Via Corsican and Via Fori
Imperiali, Rome, Italy.
History of the Victorio Emmanuele II statue : Italian
sculptor, who was commissioned in 1889 to create a statue of the first king of Italy, used 50 tons of bronze taken
from guns supplied by the Ministry of War for his design. Unfortunately Enrico Chiaradia died before his statue was
completed and it was eventually finished by sculptor, Emilio Gallori.
So who was Victor Emmanuel ? : Vittorio Emanuele II (March 14th, 1820 – January 9th, 1878) was the first King of a United Italy. But
lets start right at the beginning. Victor was born straight into royalty, being the eldest son of Charles Albert
(King of Sardinia) Though born in Turin, a young Victor spent a considerable amount of his time growing up in
Florence. Not scared of a good fight, Victor joined his father in the First Italian War of Independence
(1848). The next year he became king, after his father abdicated the throne following a rather humiliating defeat
by the Austrians. After a bit of reorganising, Victor managed to make up with the Austrians and divert a few
revolts eg Genoa. He also gave the Prime Minister the flick and replaced him with Count Camillo di Cavour, a
Victor soon came into favour with the public and become the symbol of a United
Italy. Following a few interesting wars (Crimean and Italian Wars of Independence) and an excommunication from the
Caholic Church, Italy was on its way to becoming unified. His army eventually joined forces with Garibaldi and
defeated the papal army and the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861. Following the Franco Prussian War he
entered Rome on September 20, 1871, declaring it the new capital of Italy on July 2, 1871. Now known as King Victor
Emmanuel II, he claimed the Quirinal Palace as the new Royal residence. King Victor lived long enough to see the
reversal of his excommunication, by Pope Pius IX's envoys and was later buried in the Pantheon.
Following his death, a monument in his honor was announced. Construction began in 1885 and a great mass of ruins
and medieval churches were destroyed in order to build the monstrosity designed by Giuseppe Sacconi.
Trivia : It is believed 21 people can fit into the
belly of the bronze horse (though, I don't know why anyone would want to !)