Il Vittoriale villa
art on display

Il Vittoriale on Lake Garda

Il Vittoriale, nestled in the charming town of Gardone on the western shores of Lake Garda, is a treasure trove of unique features. The estate boasts several villas, an aeroplane, a fleet of boats, picturesque ponds, an open-air theatre, an auditorium, a museum, statues, and a captivating waterfall. Its intriguing history further enhances its allure, thanks to its former owner, Gabriele d’Annunzio.

This makes Il Vittoriale one of the most extraordinary places in Northern Italy, a must-visit for history enthusiasts, travellers, and those interested in Italian culture and heritage.

Gabriele D’Annunzio

In 1920, the illustrious Gabriele d’Annunzio, a man of many facets, including being one of Italy’s most important writers, a war hero in the First World War, a nationalist, a politician, and an eccentric, made Il Vittoriale his home until his death in 1938.

His influence extended beyond his lifetime, as he was one of the founders of Italian fascism, a movement that left an indelible mark on the country’s history.


Inspirer for Mussolini

His ideas inspired Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist dictator from 1925 to 1943. For Mussolini, d’Annuncio was an inspiration and, above all, a feared competitor— a status that Gabriele had to pay for in 1922 with a mysterious fall from the window. Unlike most victims of the modern Russian version of these types of ‘accidents’, d’Annunzio survived the attack.

Extravagant lifestyle

In the years after the attack, Mussolini regularly donated large sums of money to d’Annunzio, which helped finance d’Annunzio’s extravagant lifestyle. As a reason for this, Mussolini stated: “If you have a rotten tooth, you have two options: either you pull the tooth or you fill it with gold. With D’Annunzio, I opted for the latter treatment.’


Il Vittoriale boat

Il Vittoriale, the estate

With Mussolini’s financial support and his friend Maroni’s architectural expertise, D’Annunzio transformed Il Vittoriale into an awe-inspiring grandeur. The estate is a testament to his extravagant lifestyle, with several buildings nestled amidst lush greenery, splashing fountains, a majestic waterfall, and breathtaking views that will inspire awe in every visitor.


The Priory was Gabriele D’Annunzio’s home, which he furnished and decorated to his taste. From a simple farmhouse that once belonged to the German art critic Henry Thode, D’Annunzio transformed it into a claustrophobic dark house with stained-glass windows and heavy curtains.

The villa contains 33,000 books and 10,000 objects, including various musical instruments, animal skins, statues, paintings, photos and several modern bathrooms with running water, bathtubs, and toilets.

Museum Secret d’Annunzio

The Secret D’Annunzio Museum, founded in 2010, houses some of D’Annunzio’s private belongings, clothing, and toiletries used by his guests.

Also on display are his crockery, luggage, the poet’s clothing (his riding clothes, evening clothes, overcoats, dressing gowns, his famous nightgown with the large opening edged with gold thread that he used during his nightly encounters), and his more than two hundred pairs of shoes and boots, most of which are very similar.

Open-air theatre

The Open Air Theater overlooks the lake, an island, Manerba Castle, Mount Baldo, and the Catullian headland in Sirmione. It still regularly hosts performances. The theatre was not completed until 1952, and neither d’Annunzio nor the architect Maroni ever saw the result.

Auditorium and S.V.A. aeroplane

During the First World War, DAnnunzio distributed 40,000 pamphlets over Vienna on board a two-seater plane. This aircraft was brought to Il Vittoriale in 1935. Today, it hangs on the dome of the Auditorium.

Aligi Avenue

The Viale di Aligi (a character from one of his novels, ‘The Daughter of Iorio’) leads to the MAS hangar, the Royal Ship Puglia and the Mausoleum.

Mausoleum Gabriele d’Annunzio

Gabriele’s last resting place is in the Mausoleum. His troupe companions, including architect Gian Carlo Maroni, are by his side. The Mausoleum, completed after his death, was designed like Roman burial mounds.

Royal Puglia

The Royal Ship Puglia was placed in Il Vittoriale Park with its bow pointing towards the Adriatic Sea in memory of Captain Tommaso Gulli.

The ship reached Gardone aboard twenty railway carriages and was later reassembled on the hill. In the hold of the boat, which has recently been completely restored, there is a small museum with several models of Duke Amedeo d’Aosta’s battleships.

Il Vittoriale theatre

Visit il Vittoriale

The estate is open every day from 9:00 am. The Priory can only be visited with a guide. The visit takes approximately 35 minutes.

Groups can enter with a maximum of 10 people at a time. For this reason, tickets are limited, so it is recommended that you buy online before your visit. Please note that when purchasing tickets, book an English tour if you do not speak Italian.

Address: Via del Vittoriale 12 – 25083 – Gardone Riviera.

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