The Monumental Tower of San Martino della Battaglia, in the province of Brescia, solemnly celebrates the entire Risorgimento era, from the first Italian War of Independence (1848) to the capture of Rome (1870).
The 64-meter-high Tower was built starting in 1880 on the highest hill of San Martino, where the bloodiest phase of the Battle of San Martino (24th June 1859), an armed clash of the Second Italian War of Independence, was fought; during the fight this hill was lost and reconquered several times by the Sardinian Army, which eventually managed to prevail over the Austrian Army but paid a very high price in terms of human lives.
The Tower was built in memory of King Vittorio Emanuele II, considered the Father of the Fatherland, and of those who fought for the Unification of Italy. It was inaugurated on 15th October 1893 in the presence of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita.
Entering there is a main room (called “rotonda”) in the center of which stands the large bronze statue of King Vittorio Emanuele II. The walls of the room are decorated with four large scenes from the life of the King: Conference of Vignale, the entrance to Milan after the victory of Magenta, Vittorio Emanuele II at the bridge of Palestro and Vittorio Emanuele II in Campidoglio. Arranged along the walls of the rotunda there are eight busts of the generals who died in the independence campaigns while in the side chapels are arranged the busts of Giuseppe Garibaldi, Camillo Cavour and Giuseppe Mazzini.
Inside a spiral ramp leads to the top of the tower, from which you can enjoy a remarkable view of the lower Lake Garda and the surrounding morainic hills. On the sides of the ramp there are some frescoes representing some main episodes of the Risorgimento wars.
The Monumental Ossuary of San Martino della Battaglia, inaugurated on 24th June 1870, collects 1,274 skulls and the bones of 2,619 soldiers of the Sardinian Army and the Imperial Royal Austrian Army who fought the bloody battle.