Year of creation:1897
- Rider(s):Emanuele II, Vittorio
(1820 – 1878) was the King of Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia from 1849 to 1861 and, from 1861 until his death in 1878, the first King of a united Italy.
Vittorio became King of Piedmont in 1849 when his father had abdicated the throne after a humiliating military defeat by the Austrians.
In 1852, he gave Count Camillo di Cavour the title of Prime Minister. This turned out to be a wise choice because Cavour was a political mastermind and a major player in Italian unification in his own right. Vittorio soon became the symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, the Italian unification movement.
The Italo-French campaign against Austria in 1859 started successfully. However, Napoleon III secretly made a treaty with Franz Joseph of Austria. Later that same year, Vittorio sent his forces to fight the papal army and drove the Pope into Vatican City. This success got him excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Vittorio supported Giuseppe Garibaldi’s Expedition of Thousand (1860-1861), which resulted in the rapid fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in southern Italy. However, the King halted Garibaldi when he appeared ready to attack Rome, still under the Papal States, as it was under French protection. In 1860 Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna decided to side with Sardinia-Piedmont. Vittorio subsequently met with Garibaldi at Teano, receiving from him the control of southern Italy. Another series of plebiscites in the occupied lands resulted in the proclamation of Vittorioin 1861 as the first King of Italy by the new Parliament of unified Italy. Turin became the capital of the new state. Only Rome, Veneto, and Trentino remained to be conquered.
In 1866 Vittorio allied himself with Prussia in the Third Italian War of Independence. Although not victorious in the Italian theater, he managed anyway to receive Veneto after the Austrian defeat in Germany. In 1870, after two failed attempts by Garibaldi, he also took advantage of the Prussian victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War to capture Rome after the French withdrew. He entered that city in 1870 and set up the new capital there in 1871.
Vittorio died in 1878, just after the reversal of excommunication by Pope Pius IX. He was buried in the Pantheon. His successor was his son Umberto I.
- Sculptor(s):Balzico, Alfonso
(1825 – 1901) was an Italian sculptor
The statue was beautifully restored between 2009 and 2011