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Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia (50)

The austere white marble monument dedicated to King Victor Manuel II of Savoy totally dominates the Piazza Venezia. Known as Il Vittoriano, this monument was unveiled in 1885 and commemorates the unification of Italy in 1870.

You will see that Victor Manuel of Savoy is represented by a 12-metre high equestrian statue, which stands proudly before the monument. Behind the statue stand impassive armed solders who guard the eternal flame day and night, placed on what is called the Altar of the Nation. 

The large monument, however, is not particularly liked, and has the popular pejorative nicknames of “the wedding cake” or “the typewriter”. Despite everything, though, if you make a night trip to the square, you will be able to see that the lighting is quite spectacular. 

Another outstanding element of the square is the Palazzo Venezia. The palace was built in the second half of the 15th century by Cardinal Pietro Barvo, who would later become Pope Paul II. After being the papal residence it passed into the hands of the French, and since 1916 has belonged to the State. 

The palace really reached its maximum popularity during fascism, when Mussolini turned it into his headquarters. You will probably remember how Charles Chaplin ridiculed his office with the world atlas in the film “The Great Dictator”. Il Duce gave most of his speeches from the balcony facing the square, so in the minds of many Italians, the Piazza Venezia will always be associated with the masses gathered to listen to Mussolini’s speeches.

If you want to see inside the palace, you can do so by visiting the Museum of the Palazzo Venezia.

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