In the heart of Rome stands the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II), better known as Il Vittoriano.
This colossal monument to Italy's first king, Vittorio Emanuele II (b. 1820/r. 1861-78) was designed by a young architect, Giuseppe Sacconi (1854-1905). Work began in 1885 and, though it was inaugurated in 1911, the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Kingdom of Italy, the monument wasn't completed until 1937.
The centrepiece is a huge bronze statue of the king on horseback, which stands 12 metres (40 feet) high, making it the largest statue in the city. Cast in over a dozen pieces, the equestrian statue was begun by Enrico Chiaradia (1851-1901) and completed by Emilio Gallori (1846-1924). Before all of the pieces were assembled a group of dignitaries toasted the creation of the statue in, of all places, the horse's cavernous belly.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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