Gardone Rivera is the closest town to Toscolano-Maderno and is really within walking distance. On June 6th, we visited the memorial to the poet-soldier Gabriella D’Annunzio (1863-1938). He was a larger than life figure with a penchant for all the trappings of life, good food, elaborate home and gardens, cars, relations with women. The ostentatious, overly-decorated palace distracts from the intellectual contributions of the philosopher and writer. A hero of World War I, the most troubling part is his association with Mussolini. Our guide on the tour of Vittoriale, gave the view that D’Annunzio did not agree with Mussolini’s fascism, but that Mussolini feared that D’Annunzio could rally folks against him. The quid pro quo was that the Italian government provided the resources for D’Annunzio to build his memorial and mausoleum at Gardone Rivera during the last 17 years of his life. The weblink to Il Vittoriale degli Italiani is https://www.vittoriale.it/ . It helped me to understand a bit of the recent history of Italy.
One morning walk we decided to go a different direction and realized we were almost to Gardone Rivera so we visited the Andre Heller Garden (http://www.hellergarden.com/en/). While the spring blossoms were past when we visited, it was a delight to visit. Particularly notable is the art with pieces that range from the meditative to the whimsical. It is a large garden, with most of it requiring the ability to walk and climb. The entrance is particularly hard to find so we called it Gardone’s secret garden. We ended our day and 7-mile walk with at Pirlo at Carta Bianca, Stefania’s favorite place for an aperitivo.
From the path we generally walk on Garda Lake we can see twin churches, one is Chiesa de Montemaderno in Maclino. Carl takes pictures of this church from the various vantage points at the lake level. Curious about the church, we extended our morning walk on June 10th to go up to the church. It was a gorgeous church and the view from there was spectacular. Not having had breakfast we wanted to get something to eat but we were too early for lunch. This drives home the importance of getting in the rhythm of the locals! We waited until noon and as the church bell stuck 12 o’clock, the Rustichel Restaurant opened, where we had a delicious lunch and watch base-jumpers, with their colorful parachutes jumping from Monte Maderno to float down land at the lake shore.