The National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II) is a remarkably large building made of white marble. This monument was built in honor of Victor Emanuel II. Although not having towers in its general design, the medieval structure still attracts attention from almost all parts of Rome because its color stands out in an array of earth-colored buildings. It is situated between the Capitoline Hill and Piazza Venezia and features some statues, columns, and grand stairways.
First King of Italy
Victor Emmanuel II always had the goal of making Italy unified. Then there arose a unified Italy in 1861 and he came to be the first king. When he died in 1878, he was buried in the Pantheon.
To commemorate him, a monument was then under the works and its design was declared a contest. This contest was won by Giuseppe Sacconi from Le Marche. The monument was started in 1895 and was later finished in 1911. The whole area in which it is now situated, underwent extreme demolition and so it was said to be a grandiose edifice on top of dead grounds. There were even ruins and rare finds excavated upon its construction.
The focal point of the monument is the statue of a horseman. This is made to be a representation of Victor Emanuel II. It was completed in 1889 and was inaugurated in1911.
It also has its famous detail, the Altare della Patria, or the Altar of the Fatherland, is where the tomb of an unknown soldier is found. This soldier was killed in the 1st World War and became a symbol for all unknown fallen soldiers of Italy. So, the monument is not just to commemorate Victor Emmanuel II, but also all war casualties during the medieval world.
The base of the Monument to Victor Emanuel II also harbors the Museum of Italian Reunification. This can be walked to from the back of the stairs on the right then going up. If you still are up, do not forget to enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of Rome. There is also a terrace on top of the monument. It can be noted that though the whole structure is full of intricate details, it is also marked by symbolism, such as the palm tree (which symbolizes victory), laurel (for peace), oak (for strength), olive (for harmony), and myrtle (for sacrifice).
Although hurled with numerous criticisms as to its architectural finish, the monument remains a popular spot for sightseers. For some, the structure is similar to a wedding cake, because of its wide stairways. Others would see it as a typewriter because of its odd and huge shape.
The opening of the monument as a public place created accessibility that made it very popular among Italians and now even tourists from other nations. Although it is accompanied by an unfavorable history and unfavorable design (for some), the monument grew increasingly well-known because of its undeniable intrinsic beauty.
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