The Vittoriale degli Italiani is a complex of buildings, streets, squares, an open-air theatre, gardens and waterways erected in 1921 in Gardone Riviera on the shores of Lake Garda by Gabriele d'Annunzio with the help of architect Gian Carlo Maroni, in memory of the 'inimitable life' of the poet-soldier and the exploits of the Italians during the First World War.
Gardens, streets, squares, house, library, waterways, amphitheatre: when one arrives at the Vittoriale for the first time, one does not know exactly what to expect. And indeed, every corner is a surprise.
The Vittoriale is a great little world in itself, perfectly set in the lake district. Every area, whether external or internal, conveys the uniqueness and imagination of d'Annunzio, who collected as many relics as possible here: sculptures, medals of valour, relics, thousands of books, works of art of all kinds. In short, a house-museum to the nth degree. As well as what you would never think you would find, scattered along the route of the entire complex: the SVA aircraft, the military ship Puglia, the submarine MAS 96.
The astonishing atmosphere can also be perceived in the outdoor areas, where luxurious gardens, the lemon grove with the Belvedere, the Portico del Parente named after Michelangelo Buonarroti and the splendid amphitheatre with a view of the lake, still the venue every summer for important musical events and concerts by renowned artists from all over the world.
At the top of the Vittoriale stands the mausoleum, an imposing funeral monument where d'Annunzio rests: the grandeur of an 'inimitable life' that endures even today.
The Vittoriale today is a foundation open to the public and visited each year by around 180,000 people.