Il Vittoriale degli Italiani

The bizarre residence of Gabriele d'Annunzio

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The Vittoriale degli Italiani is a monumental complex located in the town of Gardone Riviera, on the western shore of Lake Garda in northern Italy. This sprawling estate was the home of the poet and soldier Gabriele D’Annunzio, and it is one of the most remarkable examples of Italian cultural heritage of the early 20th century.

The Vittoriale degli Italiani was created by D’Annunzio himself, who started building the complex in 1921 and continued adding to it until his death in 1938. The estate includes several buildings, gardens, and courtyards, all designed and decorated by D’Annunzio himself. The complex is a unique mix of art, literature, architecture, and politics, which reflects D’Annunzio’s personality and his vision of Italy.

The main building of the Vittoriale degli Italiani is the Prioria, which was D’Annunzio’s residence. The Prioria is an imposing building, with a large central hall decorated with frescoes, sculptures, and mosaics. The hall is a masterpiece of Art Nouveau, with its sinuous lines, floral motifs, and exotic materials. D’Annunzio’s bedroom is also located in the Prioria, and it is a lavish room, with an enormous bed, a fireplace, and a balcony overlooking the lake.

Next to the Prioria is the Mausoleum, which is the resting place of D’Annunzio and some of his closest collaborators. The Mausoleum is a solemn and austere building, with a crypt decorated with reliefs and inscriptions related to D’Annunzio’s life and achievements.

Other notable buildings in the Vittoriale degli Italiani include the War Museum, which displays military memorabilia and propaganda from the First World War, and the Amphitheatre, which was used for theatrical performances and political rallies.

The gardens of the Vittoriale degli Italiani are also a significant part of the complex. The gardens are a blend of formal and informal elements, with fountains, terraces, exotic plants, and sculptures. One of the most striking features of the gardens is the Ship of the Vittoriale, a full-size battleship placed on a hill overlooking the lake. The ship is a symbol of D’Annunzio’s militarism and his belief in the greatness of Italy.

The Vittoriale degli Italiani is not only a remarkable architectural and artistic achievement, but it is also a testimony to D’Annunzio’s political and cultural views. D’Annunzio was a controversial figure, who played a significant role in the political and cultural life of Italy in the early 20th century. He was a fervent nationalist, a supporter of Mussolini’s Fascist regime, and a pioneer of the Futurist movement. He believed in the superiority of the Italian race and culture and promoted a vision of Italy as a great power.