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La Breccia di Porta Pia

Porta Pia is one of the gates in Rome’s Aurelian Walls. It was built by command of Pope Pius IV and designed by Michelangelo between 1561 and 1565 to replace Porta Nomentana, just a few hundred metres. The work was overseen by Giacomo Del Luca. The outside facade was completed in 1869 to the Neo-Classicist design of Virginio Vespignani. The gate, is however, famous for the events that occurred on september 20th 1870. On that morning, the fire of heavy artillery managed to breach the wall not far from the gate, enabling the italian Bersaglieri to enter the city. This was a historical day, which put an end to Papal dominion of Rome, allowing it to become Italy’s capital. A bronze monument was placed at the exact point of the breach in remembrance and to celebrate Italy’s repossession of Rome and the fallen soldiers. In front of the monument is the Commemorative Column in ancient granite with Giuseppe Guastalla’s golden bronze statue “Vittoria Alata” (Winged Victory) on top. Returning towards Porta Pia, on the outside of the gate, at the centre of Piazzale di Porta Pia, a monument depicts a bersagliere on a high pedestal, attacking. The bronze statue was commissioned by Benito Mussolini in 1932 and was produced by the architect Mancini and the sculptor Morbiducci. On the two sides of the pedestal are six-high-reliefs, also in bronze, depicting important men and moments in the history of the Corpo dei Bersaglieri: Ponte di Goito 1848, Luca Manara 1849, POrta Pia 1870, Sciara Sciat 1911, Enrico Toti 1916 and Riva di Villasanta 1918.

Inside the Museo Storico de Bersaglieri, the museum holds, among other things, objects from the Crimean expeditions, the military campaign for independence, the colonial and world wars, and alongside the many memorabilia of WWI a piece of the white flag waved by the Austrians on November 3rd 1918.

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