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For the Venetians it is simply The Monument.

An appointment is made in front of him, around him the children play, in the surroundings there are various water vehicles. It is like a large compass, a point of reference: "... before the Monument ...", "... after the Monument ...".

On the Riva degli Schiavoni there is the monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II, king of Italy (1820-1878). Vittorio Emanuele II supported Cavour's policy, participated in the Second War of Independence and encouraged the enterprise of Giuseppe Garibaldi; due to his honest nature he is often remembered as "the Galantuomo King".

The bronze statue represents the King on horseback as he brandishes a sword high; the high red marble base has steps where there are two large representations. On the front there is a large statue representing free Venice and a lady, at whose feet there is a majestic winged lion and a plaque with the (positive) result of the plebiscite for the unity of Italy; in the back, another statue represents Venice in stocks under Austrian rule. On the sides of the pedestal there are two bronze bas-reliefs representing, respectively, the battle of Palestro, when the king pushed himself into the fray, and the king's entry into Venice, among the cheering crowd. Everything is delimited by a cast iron gate.

The most suitable place for the installation of the monument was sought, placing a wooden copy as a test in various places in Venice, such as the Piazzetta dei Leoncini or the shore in front of the Palazzo Ducale; the present location was therefore opted for and the monument was inaugurated on May 1st 1887. More than one hundred thousand lights were lit throughout Venice in celebration and King Umberto I and Queen Margherita also participated.

The statue, cast by Alessandro Nelli, is the work of the sculptor Ettore Ferrari, a radical deputy at the time. For these political inclinations, a parliamentary interrogation was made in the Montecitorio area: according to a rumor spread by his political opponents, the bronze horse trampled the emblems of the pontificate. Even in Venice this thing made a lot of noise, and many asked to destroy the work, but on the day of the inauguration everyone could see that it was only slander and that there was nothing unethical and to be scandalized.

(mv)

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