Piazza Venezia extends between Via del Corso and Via dei Fori Imperiali and its current form comes from the renovations of the area, taking place between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, for the construction of the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II.
A work by Giuseppe Sacconi, winner of the competition, also known as Altare della Patria, was begun in 1885 and finished by Gaetano Koch, Manfredo Manfredi and Pio Piacentini in 1911.
The architectural structure represents an ideal ascending path which, through stairways and terraces, enriched by sculptural groups and bas-reliefs, rises up to the magnificent colonnaded portico crested by bronze quadrigas, allegories of the Unity of the Homeland and Liberty.
In 1921, the body of the Unknown Soldier was buried in the crypt designed by Armando Brasini.
The square takes its name from the fifteenth-century Palace built under Cardinal Pietro Barbo, then donated in 1560 by Pius IV to the Republic of Venice to become the seat of its embassy. That's why it is still called Palazzo Venezia today.
Starting from the proclamation of Rome as Capital, and over the following decades, the whole area on the slopes of the Capitol Hill was affected by the new urban layout coming from the demolition of the pre-existing medieval and Renaissance districts. The part called Palazzetto S. Marco was demolished to allow a view of the Vittoriano from Via del Corso and rebuilt in its current position on Piazza San Marco.
Between 1929 and 1943, Palazzo Venezia was the seat of the Head of Government and of the Grand Council of Fascism: from his "historic balcony" Mussolini used to make his famous speeches. It is also recalled that part of the building incorporates the Basilica of San Marco and in the corner between the Palace and the Palazzetto there is the bust of "Madama Lucrezia", one of the famous Roman talking statues.
Inside, the National Institute of Archeology and History of Art and the Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia are located, where works of various kinds and eras are preserved.
From the original layout of the square, in addition to Palazzo Venezia also thePalazzo Bonaparte, where Napoleon's mother, Letizia Ramolino, lived from 1818 until her death, is preserved.
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