The monument dominates the octagonal room at the centre of the villa, all around this colossal work stands the Pantheon del Risorgimento, an assembly of illustrious historical figures who lived for the most part during the years of the Unification of Italy. The Duke of Brunswick died in exile in Geneva, leaving the city an enourmous bequest on condition that a mausoleumwas erected in his honour. Vela was invited to direct the project. Working together with the architect Antonio Croci (1823-84) from Mendrisio, he realized an architectural model which did not match the committee's expectations. The project was then assigned to the architects eugÃ¨ne Viollet-le-Duc and Jean Franel and Vela was left with the task of supplying the sculptures. However, the limitations imposed and the ever new pretexts persuaded Vela to withdraw from the contract and undergo a long and difficult trial which left him on the edge of ruin.