Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

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Officially known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, the enormous white marble monument that dominates Piazza Venezia was built as a tribute to the first king of a united Italy, Victor Emmanuel II.

As King of Sardinia and victor over the Austrian army in Lombardy, Victor Emmanuel had become a symbol of the Risorgimento, the movement for a united Italy. After his army joined forces with Garibaldi and defeated the papal army, the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861 with Victor Emmanuel as king.

In 1885 construction of the monument started after a design by Giuseppe Sacconi, winner of an architectural contest. The northern slope of the Capitoline Hill was cleared to make way for the monument. Roman ruins and medieval churches were destroyed in the process.
Sacconi never saw his monument completed; he died in 1905 and was succeeded by three architects: Manfredo Manfredi, Pio Piacentini and Gaetano Koch. The new monument and national symbol of Italy was inaugurated in 1911, at the fiftieth anniversary of the kingdom.

The Monument to Victor Emanuel II, also known as ‘Il Vittoriano’ and sometimes also referred to as the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Nation), is a bombastic monument built with sparkling white marble from Botticino in the province of Brescia. It is decorated with numerous allegorical statues, reliefs and murals, created by artists from all corners of the country.

The monument, about 80 meters high and 120 meters wide (260 x 390ft), consists of a large flight of stairs leading up to a massive colonnade. To the right and left of the main entrance – which is closed off by a gate at night – are two fountains, allegorical representations of the two seas that border Italy. The left one depicts the Adriatic Sea and the right one is the Tyrrhenian Sea.

At the center of the monument is the colossal equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel, the ‘Father of the Nation’. The statue, the work of sculptor Enrico Chiaradia, weighs fifty tons and measures twelve meters long (39ft). It rests on a pedestal decorated with allegorical reliefs representing Italian cities.

At the foot of the statue is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, inaugurated in 1921. Guards of honor, alternatingly selected from the marine, infantry and air divisions, stand on guard here day and night.

The upper section of the monument consists of a massive curved colonnade with fifteen meter (50ft) tall columns, framed on either side by small temple-like wings with a classical front. The design of the colonnade was likely inspired by the double colonnade of the Domus Augustae that overlooked the Circus Maximus in the Antiquity. Inside, the colonnade is decorated with murals and the frieze on top is adorned with statues that symbolize the regions of Italy.

Two bronze quadrigae crown the monument, each with a statue of a winged Victory. The quadriga on the right represents freedom, while the one on the left represents unity. They were added in 1927, sixteen years after the monument was inaugurated.

Museo del Risorgimento
Inside the monument are large rooms; half of those are used for exhibitions. The other half houses the Museo centrale del Risorgimento, a museum dedicated to the history of the unification of Italy. The museum’s entrance is to the left of the monument, at the Via di San Pietro in Carcere. The museum charts the events that led to the unification with a display of paintings, documents, photographs and memorabilia such as coins and flags.

The Victor Emmanuel Monument is not exactly known as one of Rome’s most beautiful structures. It is considered too monumental and the bright white color does not fit well into the ochre color of its surroundings. The monument has been given nicknames such as ‘typewriter’ and ‘wedding cake’.

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Monumento a Víctor Manuel II
El Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, conocido también como Vittoriale, es un imponente edificio situado en la Piazza Venezia. Fue inaugurado en 1911 para rendir homenaje a Víctor Manuel II, primer rey de Italia tras su unificación.

Monumento a Vitorio Emanuele
Monumento a Vitorio EmanueleMonumento a Víctor Manuel II, vistas
Vistas desde el Monumento a Víctor Manuel IIMonumento a Víctor Manuel II, vistas
Vistas del Coliseo desde la Terraza Panorámica
En su interior se encuentran el Instituto para la Historia del Risorgimento italiano y el Museo Central del Risorgimento.

Desde 1921 el Monumento a Víctor Manuel acoge la tumba del soldado desconocido, un lugar en el que brilla la llama eterna y se encuentra siempre custodiado por dos soldados.

Un monumento espectacular
El colosal monumento de 135 metros de anchura y 70 metros de altura está compuesto por decenas de majestuosas columnas corintias e interminables escaleras, todo ello realizado en mármol blanco. Una escultura ecuestre de Víctor Manuel realizada en bronce preside el conjunto y dos cuadrigas guiadas por la diosa Victoria coronan el pórtico de 16 columnas.

El monumento fue muy criticado desde su construcción, ya que fue necesario derribar numerosos edificios de gran valor para dejar libre suficiente espacio, y entre los ciudadanos italianos no llegó a cuajar la idea de instalar un edificio tan llamativo y recargado junto al resto de los edificios clásicos que lo rodean.

Terraza panorámica
Uno de los mayores atractivos del Monumento a Víctor Manuel son las vistas panorámicas que se obtienen desde la terraza situada a la altura de las cuadrigas. Los ascensores panorámicos son la única forma de acceder a la parte superior del monumento, pero las bonitas vistas hacen que merezca la pena subir.

El Museo del Risorgimento
La base del monumento acoge el Museo del Risorgimento, un museo dedicado a la unificación de Italia en el que se exponen armas, banderas y otros objetos relacionados con este momento histórico que, si bien es esencial para los ciudadanos italianos, para los turistas no resulta un tema demasiado interesante.

No pasa desapercibido
El Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II es uno de los edificios más llamativos de toda la ciudad. Sus impresionantes dimensiones y el brillo del sol reflejado en su blanco mármol hacen que sea el foco de las fotografías de miles de turistas cada día.

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