The Vittoriale degli Italiani is located in Gardone Riviera, on Lake Garda, and it’s a monumental complex built between 1921 and 1938 by Gabriele D’Annunzio with the support of the architect Giancarlo Maroni.
The Vittoriale is visited by about 200,000 thousand visitors every year and its construction recalls the memory of the exploits of the Italians during the First World War.
Il Vittoriale degli Italiani: the history
The D’Annunzio House-Museum was purchased by the poet for 130,000 lire (something near 50k euros as today) from Heinrich Thode, a German art scholar who was expelled from Italy in 1918 and forced to sell his home filled with relics, books and works of art.
D’Annunzio was looking for peace after having spent the previous months at war, in the midst of so much noise, and chose the villa (at first rented, and then bought it) which overlooks Lake Garda out of “the greed for silence after much noise, and peace after so much war”.
Over time, D’Annunzio also bought the land next to it, forming a real citadel that became such only after the funding requested from the state in exchange for the donation of the Vittoriale which, after years of work, became a real monument for himself and, above all, representing the great war (world war I).
Il Vittoriale degli Italiani: hot to get there
The Vittoriale degli Italiani covers 9 hectares in the municipality of Gardone Riviera, on the Brescia side of Lake Garda.
It can be reached by car from the north of the Lake via Riva del Garda and following the SS45bis road (which approaches the lake) for about 45 minutes. For those coming from the south, however, the A4 motorway exit to take is the Brescia Est exit, and then take the ring road that will take you to Salò and continue for a further 5 minutes on the SS45bis up to Gardone Riviera. The Vittoriale area is served by numerous parkings.
By train it is not possible to reach Gardone Riviera except by getting off at the closest station, namely that of Desenzano del Garda, and then taking one of the line buses that stops in Gardone Riviera. An ideal alternative could be that, for those who spend their weekend on the Brescia side of Lake Garda, arriving by train as far as Desenzano and then renting a car.
Il Vittoriale degli Italiani: prices and timetable
Ticket prices for visiting the Victorian vary according to what you actually want to see. There are three different types of visits, and if you want to follow a suggestion by me choose the first option:
- COMPLETE ITINERARY: which includes a visit to the Monumental Park, the D’Annunzio Secret Museum, the D’Annunzio Hero Museum, the Car is a Female Museum, a guided tour of the House (Prioria). Cost of full adult ticket: €18
- PARK ROUTE: which includes a visit to the Monumental Park, the D’Annunzio Secret Museum, the The Car is Female Museum. Cost of full adult ticket: €12
- PARK AND MUSEUMS + HERO: which includes a visit to the Monumental Park, D’Annunzio Hero Museum, D’Annunzio Secret Museum, The Car is Female Museum. Cost of full adult ticket: €15
Reductions are available for groups, visitors over 65, children aged 7 to 18 with discounted cards and groups as well as for the family category (2 adults plus child). Free admission for children up to 6 years, group leaders and 1 teacher for every 15 students.
The Vittoriale is open all year round except for public holidays:
The Parco del Vittoriale is open from 9 to 19 in summer time (with the park closing at 20) and from 10 to 17 in winter (which becomes 9.30-17.30 on Saturdays and Sundays).
The D’Annunzio House (Prioria) with relative guided tour is open from 9.30 to 19.00 in summer time (which becomes 9-19 on weekends) and from 10 to 16 in winter.
In any case, the times and prices change at the discretion of the Foundation of “Il Vittoriale”, I therefore recommend that you visit the official website directly by clicking here.
Where to buy the tickets
Tickets of the Vittoriale can be purchased from the comfort of your home thanks to the new dedicated online purchase section. All you need to do is visit the site, book the date, time and type of visit at the following link: click here.
Vittoriale degli Italiani: what see
The Vittoriale is literally an open-air museum full of culture, clearly visible from the historical monuments erected in memory of the businesses carried out during the Great War.
At every corner of the area that can be visited, one can come across surprises never thought of up to that moment: from the SVA plane to a military ship up to observing a submarine. But let’s go in order by listing the main attractions:
The entrance should not have been trivial in D’Annunzio’s mind, so much so that the monumental entrance was conceived through a pair of arches and a regal fountain with a bronze inscription taken from one of the poet’s works. From here you can choose whether to go to the right, towards the theatre, or to the other side, towards the Prioria.
The open-air theatre, where summer events and concerts are still organized today, is one of the most famous ancient amphitheatres, designed by the architect Giancarlo Maroni following the example and taking inspiration from the most famous and oldest one in Pompei.
Prioria (D’annunzio’s house)
D’Annunzio’s home is called Prioria, or prior’s house, purchased at the beginning of the twentieth century by a German art critic. The house is structured in a very particular way so that each room had a specific theme and use.
In the highest part of the Vittoriale there is the Mausoleum, a monument in Botticino marble which houses the remains of the poet. Close to it, at the Fontanone del Delfino, you can instead find the hangar that contains the MAS96, the star vessel of the famous Hoax of Buccari.
Continuing, among the cypresses, you can instead observe the military ship Puglia, donated to the poet by the Navy in 1923 and for many the most evocative “monument” of the entire visit to this magnificent area full of history.