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WHAT TO SEE

The Vittoriale degli Italiani, Gardone Riviera (BS)

A monumental complex of about 9 hectares. Originally owned by the German art critic, Henry Tode (related to Litz and Wagner), it was bought in 1921, by Gabrielle d’Annunzio (1863-1938) who set up living quarters here in the “Priory”, furnishing it elaborately with precious objects, historic relics and a 33,000 strong library. In the study stands a bust of his lover, Eleanora Duse, a “veiled witness” to his work. Also worth a visit are “Cheli’s Room”, the guests’ dining room decorated in the Art Deco style with brightly coloured laquered wood, tables set with precious ornaments and oriental idols, and “Leda’s Room”, the bedroom, decked with ritualistic statues, souveniers and Chinese nik-naks. Opposite the “Priory” one finds the “Schiffomondo” (loathesome world) home to the museum of d’Annunzio. Across the garden one reaches the valley where the ship “Puglia” is set, a gift to the poet from the Navy in 1921. Extending towards the lake is the open-air theatre designed by the architect Gian Carlo Maroni; it can seat 1,500 people and holds an annual Summer festival of plays, operettas, classical music and ballet. In the auditorium, one can view the SVA airplane on which d’Annunzio flew to Vienna on 9th August 1918. Outside sits the Fiat T4 in which the poet made his triumphant entrance to Fiume on 12 September 1919. High above everything stands the mausoleum.

Open daily: from April to September from 8.30 to 20.00; from October to March from 9.00 to 17.00. The Priory is open from April to September from 9.30 to 13.00 and 14.00 to 17.00.
Entrance fee.
Tel.: 0365.296511
Fax: 0365.296512
E-mail: vittoriale@vittoriale.it
Website: www.vittoriale.it

The Hruska Garden, Gardone Riviera (BS)

Arthur Hruska was the dentist of the tsar and a keen traveller. Between 1910 and 1971 he built a botanical garden full of streams and artificial lakes in the grounds of his residence. The garden covers about a hectare and groups together around 2,000 plants originating from all continents and from several climatic zones: magnolias, Tibetan primroses, bambu canes, iris and ferns amoung which Osmunda Regalis. Rocks, crevices and gorges set off the mountain flowers perfectly. The garden has been property of the “André Hellar Foundation” since 1988. Open daily from march to October from 9.00 to 19.00.
Entrance fee.
Tel.: 336.410877.

The Sigurtà Garden Park, Valeggio sul Mincio (VR)

A masterpeice of botanical architecture where visitors can walk along woodland paths and across vast lawns, admiring over 31,000 age-old box trees, the exceptional horizontal sundial, the little Neo-gothic temple or Eremo from which melodic music plays, the eighteen ponds and their tropical fish, the water gardens, the votive grotto in which many fossils are preserved, the little castle in which important historical, scientific and literary memoirs are kept. The park, open to the public since 1978, at 8km from Peschiera, stretches over 50 hectares and originates from the “brolo cinto de muro” (walled garden) of the Maffei Villa, registered in the cadastre of the Serenissima in 1617 and once the headquarters of Napoleon III. Open daily from March to November, from 9.00 to 18. Entrance fee. Tel.: 045.6371033 Fax: 045.6370959 E-mail: info@sigurta.it Website: www.sigurta.it

The Natura Viva Park, Pastrengo (VR)

The Natura Viva Park stretches across the morainic hills of the Veronese hinterland, 18 km from Verona, and covers about 40 hectares. It is divided into two parts: the safari park, through which one can drive one’s own veichle along a 6km track, and the wildlife park which includes a dinosaur park, a tropical hothouse and an acquaterrarium with fish, amphibians and reptiles. For group bookings educational visits are available on request with guided tours and seminars with video shows. The park hosts around a thousand animals belonging to 200 species. Open from March to November. In November, except Wednesdays, from 9.00 to 16.00 (from 9.00 to 17.00 in June, July and September; from 9.00 to 18.00 in August), in Februray on Sundays, holidays and pre-holidays, closed in December and January. Entrance fee. Tel.: 045.7170113 E-mail: info@parconaturaviva.it Website: www.parconaturaviva.it

The waterfall of Varone, Riva del Garda

One of the most typical attractions of the Trentino side of the Garda lake is situated at Foci in Varone along the road between Riva and Tenno, in a gorge where the waters of the torrent emissary of lake Tenno, drop nearly 100 metres. Thomas Mann visited the site in 1901 and noted down his impressions, some of which were later included in a famous page of The Enchanted Mountain. Open daily.
Entrance fee
Tel. 0464.521421