Gardone Riviera

Some tombstones found in the district of Fasano are testimony to the fact that Gardone Riviera was already a lakeside hamlet inhabited in the Roman era. The Longobards and Ugoni fiefdoms arrived later, until 1815 when the city became part of the Lombardy-Veneto kingdom and in 1861 the Kingdom of Italy.

The real revolution for Gardone Riviera came in the 1800s, when Luigi Wimmer, an acclaimed Austrian figure, fell in love with this village thanks to the atmosphere and therapeutic associations, and built his first hotel in this location. Gardone Riviera was soon transformed into a tourist resort known throughout Europe among the reigning families, princes and famous people of the age.

From 1921 to 1938 the village was the residence of the great D'Annunzio, one of the most important poets in Italian literature of the 1900s. The Vittoriale, his immense home, is now host to a very interesting museum. Shortly afterwards, all hotels became embassies and offices for the German command during the Social Republic.

Gardone Riviera is located on the western shores of the marvellous Lake Garda, in a highly exclusive position. On one side there are the beaches and views offered by the largest lake in Italy, and on the other there are the hills protecting and surrounding the village, to provide a unique microclimate, with mild weather both in winter and summer.
Here the local vegetation is typically Mediterranean and subtropical with citrus fruit, olive, cypress, palm and lime trees. Gardone Riviera is an open-air botanical garden, a small corner of earthly paradise immersed in the countryside.

For some years now Gardone Riviera has attained internationally acclaimed certification: in 2010 it received the “Green Flag” from the Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (Italian Confederation of Farmers ) and the “Orange Flag” from the Italian Touring Club ”; in 2011 “4 blue sails” from Legambiente and rated in the Top10 lakeside resorts, to then conclude with the acclaimed BLUE FLAG from FEE (for quality of the water, environmental management, beaches, facilities, safety and user information).

The Vittoriale degli Italiani is a monumental complex in Gardone Riviera, a veritable citadel circled by city walls. This is the historical residence of the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio who lived here from 1921 to 1938, built by the architect Giancarlo Maroni.
It covers an area of approximately 9 hectares and comprises a series of buildings, a grand amphitheatre, avenues, squares, gardens, water courses, a pond, parks with fountains, and at a few hundred metres, the Tower and quayside on Lake Garda.
 The Vittoriale degli Italiani has become a museum and hosts a vast collection of objects including works of art and relics testimony to the adventurous life of D'Annunzio. It boasts 200,000 visitors per year, among the most popular attractions in Italy.
Some of the exhibits absolutely worth visiting include: the aeroplanes SVA and MAS 96, the Fiat Tipo 4, the Isotta Franchini, the War Museum and the Puglia ship embedded in the rocks. Lastly, after a steep climb, visitors reach the Mausoleum on the tallest hilltop, with the imposing tomb of d'Annunzio and the Fiume legionaries.

The Vittoriale degli Italiani is also synonymous with entertainment, with the great open-air theatre seating up to 1500 spectators, where during the summer prestigious seasons of events are offered to the public (ballet, classical music, operettas, light music). The most incredible aspect of this ancient theatre is the stunning panorama all around, with breathtaking views down onto Lake Garda.

The Botanical Gardens of the “Andrè Heller” foundation, were created in 1910 by Arturo Hruska, an Austrian naturalist. The gardens cover an area of around 10,000 square metres with very special species of flowers and plants from all over the world, such as bamboo, orchids, edelweiss, firs, cactus, ancient trees, tropical plants and many others.
The harmony between nature and the acts of man is perfect here, creating a magical and fairy tale atmosphere. A garden of paradise awaits you for relaxing strolls in the midst of nature and tranquillity.

The Museo del Divino Infante (The Museum of the Divine Child) in Gardone Riviera is the only museum in the world hosting the most important collection of sculptures of “Baby Jesus”. Since 2005 Mrs. Hiky Mayr has decided to open up to the public, exhibiting all the results of her research and restoration of sculptures of the Baby Jesus.
This site conserves the works of art of skilled craftsmen, a significant cultural heritage of superior quality for Lake Garda. A visit to the Museo del Divino Infante means the rediscovery of popular religion, which has seen a progressive neglect in modern daily life.