On Mount Spino at an altitude of 1,165 m, the refuge was once the barracks of the Customs Service. Today it houses a bivouac and comfortable rooms that offer shelter to the many excursionists traveling by foot, mountain bike or on horseback over the inland mountains. The refuge is a point of reference for trekkers in Valvestino and Valle Sabbia.
For information, please contact CAI - Salò - via S.Bernardino, 26 - Phone: 0365/520101.
Several Roman tombstones were unearthed in Fasano, which is probably the oldest settlement in the area of Gardone Riviera. In 1215 a conflict arose between the Ugoni and Montecucco families over ownership of the castle.
From 1426 to 1797 Fasano belonged to the Serenissima Republic of Venice; with Toscolano, it was included in the Maderno district. Fasano was a part of the Lombard-Veneto State from 1815 to 1859. At the end of the Second War of Independence, Gardone and the rest of the Riviera passed into the hands of the Kingdom of Sardinia, then to the Kingdom of Italy.
For centuries the main sources of income for the people in the area were the cultivation of olives and lemons, linen processing, fishing, wood gathered to make chgardoneal, and the production of nails. Luigi Wimmer (1842-1883) the first owner and manager of the Grand Hotel, introduced tourism at the turn of the century. Due to its mild climate, many Germans and Austrians spent their winters in Gardone at lake garda for curative purposes. Some of the hotels from that period are the "Savoy", the "Monte Baldo", "Grand Hotel Fasano" and the "Kursaal", currently the Casinò, where guests sunbathed, attended parties and concerts, gambled, went on strolls, and so on.
Even King George of Saxony came to Gardone on March 15, 1903. Gabriele d'Annunzio lived here from 1920 to 1938. Between 1943 and 1945 during the Italian Socialist Republic (RSI), the Japanese Embassy, the German Embassy and Consulate General, SS headquarters, and Doctor Zacharie, Mussolini's personal doctor, were based in Gardone Riviera at lake Garda. When the Allied troops arrived in Italy, American soldiers and officers of the Fifth Battalion stayed in Gardone Riviera.
The "Vittoriale" is a citadel surrounded by walls which stretches over an area of nine hectares plus a tower-dock by the sea about a hundred metres from it. The Vittoriale is an extremely complex monument made up of a number of buildings: a big Amphilheatre (the biggest in the Lake Garda area with about 1,500 seats), paths, squares, hangars, gardens and parks with fountains, streams and an artificial lake. The house, called "Prioria" by Gabriele d'Annunzio, has remained exactly as the poet furnished it.
Thousands of furnishings, works of art and relics, which remind us of Gabriele d'Annunzio's heroic life, are still preserved in the various rooms. The Vittoriale - one of Italy's most visited museums (about 200,000 visitors per year) -contains the SVA aeroplane and MAS 96 boat (used by the poet in his famous war exploits), the Fiat model 4 and the Isotta Fraschini. In the "Schifamondo" wing there are the Auditorium and the War Museum., dedicated to Gabriele d'Annunzio's military experience.
The Nave Puglia (a military vessel), donated by the navy to the poet, is extremely fascinating as it is set in the rock and surrounded by the wonderful trees of the park. The mausoleum, is situated on the highest bill, it is the tomb of Gabriele d'Annunzio and the legionnaires of Piume. In the Prioria gardens there are many relics and works of art: the "Massi della Grappa" (the Grappa rocks) and the historical "Monti di Guerra" (the mountains of war), the Arengo and the precious Canefora by Martinuzzi. From the gardens you can enter the Vallette dell'Acqua Pazza and dell'Acqua Savia.
In the open-air theatre of the Vittoriale, surrounded by a unique and suggestive landscape, in July and August you can enjoy the rich theatre season which goes from the opera to the operetta, from classical to folk music and from prose to ballets and recitals.
The Vittorialein Gardone at lake garda is also theater: its open-air amphitheater, which can seat up to 1,500 spectators, is surrounded by a breathtakingly beautiful setting. Its theatrical season in July and August hosts ballets, operettas, plays, cabaret, classical music and pop concerts.
There are several options on a tour of the Vittoriale degli Italiani:
TOUR OF THE VITTORIALE, which includes the park, mausoleum, the Schifamondo, the Puglia ship, the Mas, and the classic cars.
TOUR OF THE VITTORIALE AND THE PRIORY, which includes a guided tour of the poet's home which is now a genuine museum. The guided tour is booked on entrance to the Vittoriale degli Italiani (Tel: 0365.296523)
TOUR OF THE VITTORIALE, PRIORY, AND WAR MUSEUM
From October 1 to March 31, the Vittoriale is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Priory and War Museum are open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
From April 1 to September 30, the Vittoriale is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Priory and the War Museum are open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The Priory is closed on Monday. The War Museum is closed on Wednesday.
From 1901 to 1910 Villa Iolanda was the beloved residence of German poet Paul Heyse (Berlin 1830-Munich 1914), who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1910. In his poem entitled "Last Will and Testament", Heyse describes his love for Gardone Riviera:
"...The day on which my life will end / and I no longer wake / I care not in what town or spot / my resting place they make.
I want a silent grave right here / beneath the tall cypress / where once I walked so peacefully / and where my thoughts digress.
...Along the shore of my dear lake / peace beats its lovely wings / I'd hear the sound of lapping waves / the song a cricket sings.
I'd greet Mount Baldo from above / its sleepy peak of brown / so proudly towering o'er the lake garda / the stars, a dazzling crown."
Lago di Garda Magazine -
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