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Gardone

Eight towns make up the community of Gardone. Fasano (bordering with Toscolano Maderno) and Gardone Sotto are on the lake. Gardone Sopra, Montecucco, Supiane, Morgnaga and Tresnico sit on the hill. San Michele, which sits above the rest, is found at the entrance of Val di Sur. The mountains: Lavino (907 m), Forametto (1240 m) and Spino (1488 m) dominate the area, which lies on the shore between the mouths of the Bornico River to the east and Barbarano River to the west.

The uncultivated, wood-covered hinterland near Valsabbia has many walking paths and trails. There is a huge variety of exotic vegetation: cedars, magnolias, camphor trees, palm trees, etc. make Gardone an internationally famous "garden city". Villas and hotels surrounded by large parks on the shore have preserved their original 19th century Liberty style.


The Villa Alba was designed at the beginning of the 20th century by the German architect Schaefer. The neoclassical villa is an imitation of the Acropolis in Athens with a grand facade with columns, a loggia supported by caryatids, a pediment decorated with bas-relief, and an ornate stairway.


The A. Hruska botanical garden
In 1901 Professor Arturo Hruska, a dentist and well-known naturalist, arrived in Gardone, attracted by the special climate in the area. Between 1910 and 1971 he planted a botanical garden that extended for little more than 1.5 hectares. In it he had more than 500 species of plants from every continent and different climates: magnolias, Tibetan primroses, reeds of every size, iris and ferns, including the '"osmunda regalis". There is a huge variety of succulent and subtropical plants. Many aquatic plants float in small ponds with fountains and waterfalls typical of Japanese landscaping. There is also a lush forest of bamboo trees. Alpine flowers grown amidst the rocks, crevasses and small ravines. The garden, which has been owned since 1988 by the Andre Heller Foundation (Austrian playwright), is open from March to October, from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. For information, please contact the Andre' Heller Foundation - A. Hruska Botanical Garden - Via Roma - 25083 Gardone Riviera.

 


Gabriele D'Annunzio [1863-1938] was one of the most colorful and controversial personalities of the Great War. The Pescara-born literary innovator moved to Rome in 1881 and quickly became distinguished as a poet, novelist, dramatist and librettist. In 1914 he became a vocal activist for Italy's entrance on the Entente side. After war was declared, he was active as foot soldier, sailor and aviator all over the Italian Front. His daring missions to Triest, Pola, and especially his August 1918 propaganda flight over Vienna, became part of the Italian war heritage. Afterwards, he would lead an illegal occupation of the Dalmation port of Fiume and would be an early proponent of Fascism.

His career, especially his participation in the First World War , is commemorated at a museum he planned in detail called the Vittoriale adjacent to his home at Gardone Riviera on the southwest corner of Lake Garda.


The S. Nicolò church, which was designed by architect Paolo Soratini from Lonate, was built over an existing building dating back to 1391. Completed in 1740, it contains two paintings -- "La Pietà" and "Pentecost" -- by Zenon Veronese (1448-1553), a painting by Palma il Giovane (1570-1596) portraying the Madonna, Jesus, San Michele, San Nicolò and Sant'Antonio Abate, a painting by Andrea Celesti (1637-1712) depicting San Nicolò, Sant'Antonio and San Faustino and Giovita, frescoes by Francesco Monti (1683-1768) that include the "Assumption of Mary" (1750 c.), and 14 paintings of the Stations of the Cross by Augusto Lozzia. An object of particular devotion is the "Madonna di Fraole" painting (first altar on the left), in whose honor a great festival with a procession is held at the beginning of October. The apse facing the lake is encircled by an unusual balcony that affords a fine view of the lake from San Vigilio Point to Peschiera, Sirmione, La Rocca di Manerba and the island of Garda.