Vittoriano

Enrico Chiaradia and Emilio Gallori, Victor Emmanuel II on horseback

The enormous scale of the statue of the king on horseback represents the visual and spatial fulcrum of the entire Vittoriano complex.

The statue of Victor Emmanuel II on horseback was designed and largely created by the Friulian sculptor Enrico Chiaradia. Upon Chiaradia’s untimely death, in 1901, it was completed by the Florentine, Emilio Gallori. The statue was cast in 1906 by the Bastianelli company, which made use of the bronze from some of the cannons of the Royal Army. The final installation of the piece took place in 1910.

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The statue of Victor Emmanuel II on horseback represents the visual and spatial fulcrum of the entire Vittoriano complex. Do not let the distance fool you, however, because the scale of the piece is truly remarkable: the statue, which is 10 meters long and 12 metres high, is so large that before being placed on site, the belly of the horse was the venue for a lunch for twenty-one people.

Victor Emmanuel II appears in a high-ranking uniform, riding a mount that strides with a solemn, elegant gait. Chiaradia was inspired by the long tradition of sovereigns on horseback, which in Rome was embodied to the highest degree by the equestrian monument to Marcus Aurelius, which is still today located on the Capitoline Hill.  

Chiaradia won the competition to design the piece in 1889, but he immediately clashed with the architect of the Vittoriano, Giuseppe Sacconi, who reprimanded him for an excess of realism in the piece. However, at the time of the inauguration, the statue met with public satisfaction, who were grateful to be able to recognize the facial features of their beloved ruler.

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