The superb mansion that portrays the lights and shadows of the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio | Culture | EUROtoday

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The poet was lifeless when the physician arrived. Gabriele D'Annunzio had collapsed on the desk the place he normally ate dinner these days, secluded within the antechamber of his bed room, in order that guests wouldn’t see how he may barely chew with naked gums. Beyond the lack of tooth and bodily decay, the previous couple of years had been merciless to the previous seducer, affected by a number of diseases and with a rampant habit to cocaine. When his secretary discovered him unconscious, in reality, he hurried to empty the little gold packing containers with the stays of that substance that had accompanied him religiously since he started taking it on his army adventures along with his legionnaires. The writer's life was on a decline, however even then, and regardless of the lights and shadows that his biography and his dalliances with fascism had illuminated, he was some of the fascinating characters in trendy Italy. His superb mansion, on the shores of Lake Garda, now transformed into the museum of the Vittoriale degli Italiani Foundation, is right now one of the best witness of that big enterprise.

Gabriele D'Annunzio was already a nationwide delusion when he fell in love with the home on that hill. Nicknamed Il Vate (the prophet) for his potential to steer the plenty, he was the cocktail shaker the place they combined the passions, anxieties, starvation for horizons and new certainties of the Italy that incubated the monster of fascism. Writer and poet, mild plane pilot who was blinded in a touchdown and flew over Vienna on the time of the Great War to cowl it with leaflets demanding its give up, had shortly earlier than led a bunch of males with a “thirst for wind and storm.” . He needed to recuperate the unredeemed lands below Austro-Hungarian rule: Trentino, Venezia Giulia and the japanese coast of the Adriatic, the place Dalmazia and Fiume had been situated, the place he proclaimed his republic. The avant-garde in Italy was already manifesting itself aggressively by the futurism of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti – to him he appeared solely “a phosphorescent idiot” – they usually present in that keenness for warfare an intersection with the nationalist impulses of Enrico Corradini. The exhaustion that constituted that, in addition to the glory, deserved a relaxation in the home in Gardone Riviera that he purchased from a German literary critic, whose renovation he commissioned to the architect, pal and later secretary Giancarlo Maroni.

The president of the Foundation, Giordano Bruno Guerri, an infinite mental and one of many best specialists on D'Annunzio, believes that the poet was “a Renaissance character who fell halfway between the 19th and 20th centuries.” “He was a modernizer and an innovator. He didn't look back. Unfortunately, his identification with fascism diminished his recognition at the time. But today little of that stigma remains. He was a nationalist who was pleased with the duration of fascism, but he detested the same aspects that bother us. He was a libertarian. He was the typical anarchic Italian in the sense of someone who doesn't follow rules, incapable of doing so. And to someone like that, whom we can define as a genius, it is impossible to attribute an ideology.”

The power of the writer, exactly, is known earlier than his arrival on the present Vittoriale degli Italiani, on the Lombard aspect of the lake. In 1914, D'Annunzio was 51 years previous and already some of the well-known Italians on the earth. He had printed novels appreciated by Robert Musil, Marcel Proust and Henry James. He wrote in newspapers—particularly in The Corriere della Sera— on any argument with stinging prose and far of his poetic work had already seen the sunshine. Obsessed with girls and intercourse, blind in a single eye and just one.64 meters tall, he entered the world of aristocracy with the assistance of notable feminine representatives that he by no means deserted. In 1915, when few in Italy knew who Mussolini was, D'Annunzio was already a delusion. But his tensions with the dictator saved him away from Rome. His tense relationship with Mussolini, in reality, will be seen from the start of the tour of the home, within the so-called mask-maker's room. A verse by D'Annunzio instantly challenges the dictator: “Do you carry the mirror of Narcissus with you? / This is leaded glass, O mask maker. / Adjust your masks to your face, / but remember that you are glass against steel.”

Gabriele D'Annunzio and Mussolini on a boat.  Image courtesy of Archives and Libraries Foundation Il Vittoriale degli Italiani
Gabriele D'Annunzio and Mussolini on a ship. Image courtesy of Archives and Libraries Foundation Il Vittoriale degli Italiani

The villa, which had really been expropriated, then price him 120,000 lire and right now consists of an open-air theater, a cemetery, streets, squares, a river, a hangar and the deck of a frigate positioned on high of the gardens. pointing the bow in direction of Lake Garda. A number of kilometers from Saló, the place Mussolini would take refuge, establishing the Italian Social Republic a decade later, it ought to have been the place the place the poet and adventurer would retire to reside a life away from the highlight and the halls of energy. That was what the dictator needed, threatened by the celebrity and magnetism of the author. The additional away – 600 kilometers from Rome – and the happier – with an exquisite mansion surrounded by books – the higher. That is why he contributed to the poet receiving the present equal of three million euros for the publication of his full works, cash that he may use to reform that sort of cultural and emotional fortress of 9 hectares and switch it right into a sort of witness to the exuberant character of the poet, but in addition of the cultural complexity that accompanied the rise and fall of fascism.

The relationship between the 2 was cordial at the moment. They had been on first names. D'Annunzio obtained nice advantages from fascism to keep up that peace, just like the army frigate Puglia, disassembled piece by piece and transported to the backyard of his home (on the expense of the State). Or a army boat outfitted with machine weapons and missiles with which he walked across the lake terrorizing the neighbors. Or the honour of being the president of the Academy of Italy and receiving the title an important poet within the nation. It was all leisure meant to have the occasion in peace. King Vittorio Emanuele II additionally granted him the title of Prince of Montenevoso on the suggestion of Mussolini. But even so, the stress was latent. In 1922, D'Annunzio mysteriously fell out of a window of the mansion and was in a coma for a couple of days. There had been two variations. One pointed to his girlfriend on the time, Luisa Baccara, livid as a result of the poet was attempting to hook up along with her sister. Another means that it was a political act to exclude him from an important assembly on the gates of October 1922, when the March on Rome, Mussolini's coronation, befell.

The tour of the home is carried out in strict darkness. The poet, affected by annoying photophobia as a consequence of accidents, solely allowed pure mild into one of many rooms he used for studying. There, as in different rooms, there are inscriptions and fixed references to Dante, whom he thought-about his best instructor, his precursor. “Italian literature begins with 200 verses of Dante and after many centuries it continues with me,” he wrote with out false modesty and underlining at least 700 years of literary vacancy.

Interior of the Vittoriale degli Italiani, a city within a city.
Interior of the Vittoriale degli Italiani, a metropolis inside a metropolis.Vittoriale Archives

The bed room was easy, austere in facilities. Sleeping was not considered one of his favourite duties. French mattress. Just for him. Because the place the place he obtained his lovers, typically chosen from among the many girls of the city by the governess of the home, was within the wing the place his associate lived. A perverse proximity that generated within the poet a rise in libido when he confronted these sexual encounters with unknown girls. “This house also tells us about the love for beauty and the admiration that Italians have for themselves. Because this house is a celebration of Italian strength, of victory in war, of the taste for nature, of the triumph of architecture… Also of the cult of the past. Look, the mausoleum, for example, is made on the model of the Roman emperors. The amphitheater is made imitating Greco-Roman theaters. This place is also a glorification of all Italian history seen through their eyes,” observes Giordano Bruno Guerra.

D'Annunzio left the whole lot tied up earlier than he died. His physique was buried in a mausoleum on the high of the mansion's gardens, together with a few of his pals, additionally previous legionaries who accompanied him within the conquest of Fiume. The poet had additionally created a Foundation that was to be accountable for the upkeep of the home. But his closeness to fascism jeopardized for a time that the monument would stay intact and never be destroyed by those that had suffered below the regime. In 1975, after years of being visited solely privately, it was opened to the general public.

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