Photographer's Note

The Prioria
The Prioria itself consists of a number of rooms opulently decorated and filled with memorabilia. Notable are the two waiting rooms, one for welcome guests, one for unwelcome ones. It is the latter where Mussolini was sent to on his visit in 1925. A phrase was inscribed specifically for him above the mirror:

To the visitor:
Are you bringing Narcissus' Mirror?
This is leaded glass, my mask maker.
Adjust your mask to your face,
But know that it is no more than glass placed against steel.
Also the leper's room is worth noting, it is where D'Annunzio's wake was held upon his death. Its name comes from the fact that d'Annunzio felt that he was being spurned by the government due to their continued efforts to keep him in Gardone, rather than possibly in the limelight in Rome. The Relic room holds a large collection of religeous statues and images of different beliefs, purposely placed together to make a statement about the universal character of spirituality. The inscription on the inner wall reads:

As there are five fingers on a hand, there are only five mortal sins.
D'Annunzio wished to make clear hereby that he didn't believe that lust and greed should be considered sinful.

The Vittoriale degli Italiani (The shrine of Italian victories in English) is a hillside estate in the town of Gardone Riviera overlooking the Garda lake in Lombardy, Italy. It is where the Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio lived from 1922 until his death in 1938. The estate consists of the residence of d'Annunzio called the Prioria (priory), an amphitheatre, the light cruiser Puglia set into a hillside, a boathouse containing the MAS vessel used by D'Annunzio in 1918 and a circular mausoleum. References to the Vittoriale range from a “monumental citadel” to a “fascist lunapark”[1], the site inevitably inheriting the controversy surrounding its creator.
The house, Villa Cargnacco, had belonged to a German art historian from whom it was confiscated by the Italian state, including its collection of books and a piano which had belonged to Liszt. D'Annunzio rented it in February 1921 and within the year it is purchased and reconstruction starts under the guidance of architect Giancarlo Maroni. Due to D'Annunzio's popularity and his disagreement with the fascist government on several issues, such as the alliance with Nazi Germany, the fascists did what they could to please d'Annunzio in order to keep him away from political life in Rome, part of their strategy was to make huge funds available which were used to expand the property, construct and/or modify the buildings and to create the impressive art and literature collection. In 1924 the airplane that d'Annunzio used for his pamphleteering run over Vienna during World War I is brought to the estate, followed in 1925 by the MAS naval vessel also used by him in 1918 to taunt the Austrians in the Buccari incident. In the same year the light cruiser Puglia was hauled up the hill and placed in the woods behind the house, and the property was expanded by acquisition of surrounding lands and buildings.

In 1926 the government donates an amount of 10 million lira which allows a considerable enlargement of the Villa, the new wing is named the Schifamondo. In 1931 construction is started on the Parlaggio, the name for the amphitheatre. The mausoleum is designed after d'Annunzio's death but not actually built until 1955, D'Annunzio's remains were brought here in 1963

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Additional Photos by Luciano Gollini (lousat) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 16202 W: 132 N: 27479] (134029)
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