At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Kingdom of Italy proclaimed




First King of Italy calls himself Victor Emmanuel II



The painting by Dutch artist Pierre van Elven is on display the at Museum of the Risorgimento
The inauguration of the first Italian parliament, as
depicted by the Dutch artist Pierre van Elven
The newly-unified Kingdom of Italy was officially proclaimed on this day in 1861 in Turin. 

The first Italian parliament to meet in the city confirmed Victor Emmanuel as the first King of the new country.

It was the monarch's own choice to call himself Victor Emmanuel II, rather than Victor Emmanuel I. This immediately provoked criticism from some factions, who took it as implying that Italy had always been ruled by the House of Savoy. 

Victor Emmanuel I, with whom Victor Emmanuel II had ancestral links, had been King of Sardinia - ruled by the Dukes of Savoy - from 1802 until his death in 1824.
  
Victor Emmanuel II had become King of Sardinia in 1849 after his father, Charles Albert, abdicated. His father had succeeded a distant cousin, Charles Felix, to become King of Sardinia in 1831.

The Kingdom of Sardinia is considered to be the legal predecessor to the Kingdom of Italy.

As King of Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel II had appointed Count Camillo Benso of Cavour as Prime Minister of Sardinia-Piedmont, who had then masterminded a clever campaign to put him on the throne of a united Italy.

Victor Emmanuel II had become the symbol of the Risorgimento, the Italian unification movement in the 19th century. He had supported Garibaldi’s Expedition of the Thousand in 1860, which resulted in the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, giving him control over the southern part of the country.

But when he ascended the throne there were still two major territories left outside the new Kingdom, Rome and the Veneto.


The Palazzo Carignano was the house in which Victor Emmanuel II was born and where the first Italian parliament met
The Palazzo Carignano, the house in which Victor Emmanuel II
was born and where the first Italian parliament met
Travel tip:

The first Italian parliament met in Palazzo Carignano in Turin, the house in which the first King of the new, united Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, was born. The baroque palace in Via Accademia delle Scienze which dates back to 1679, now houses a Museum of the Risorgimento.  The painting of the inauguration shown above, by the Dutch artist Pierre van Elven, is on display there.

Travel tip:

Rome remained under French control after the first Italian parliament proclaimed Victor Emmanuel II the King of Italy, despite attempts by nationalists to liberate it. But after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, Napoleon III withdrew some of his troops. Italian soldiers seized their chance in 1870 and after a brief bombardment entered Rome through a breach in the walls at Porta Pia. Victor Emmanuel took up residence in the Quirinale Palace, the tricolore was hoisted and Italy was declared officially united. A marble plaque commemorating the liberation of Rome was placed near Porta Pia where the Italian troops first got through on 20 September.



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