The current look of Piazza Venezia is the result of demolition and reconstruction works begun at the end of the 1800s and ending in the early 1900s.
Standing out more than anything else is the Vittoriano, mammoth and controversial monument to Victor Emmanuel II. Here we find the Altar to the Fatherland that holds the remains of the Unknown Soldier, in memory of all the fallen soldiers that never received a proper burial.
An ancient quarter filled with Renaissance and medieval buildings was demolished to make way for it and the Palazzetto Venezia, that originally closed the piazza, was dismantled and reassembled next to Palazzo Venezia, where it can be found today.
At the center of the Vittoriano rises the bronze monument of the king seated astride a horse: it is so huge that, when the works were completed, a banquet was held inside the horses stomach! The Vittoriano is 81 meters high and the chariots at its summit are visible from most of Rome.
The construction of the edifice caused much controversy among art critics, so much so that writers and journalists gave it names like “the wedding cake” or “the typewriter”.
On the long side of the piazza, Palazzo Venezia, with its imposing facade, was initially the headquarters for popes but during the fascist era, Mussolini used it as the regime's main palace, with its balcony, sadly famous for being the place from which war was announced.