Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Poetic Afternoon and Lunch at Lake Garda's Riviera Gardone



Gardone Riviera landing

Though I haven’t dedicated much time to my blog of late you may or may not have noticed my absence. I haven’t forgotten about you or my blog, and I certainly haven’t strayed from writing. In fact, I’ve been spending most of my time, right here at my desk, picking away at my keyboard, revising my women’s contemporary fiction Beneath the Lion’s Wings. In the last few months I’ve received some very good feedback supporting, and criticizing, my manuscript, and a lot of valuable pointers on how to improve it both from professionals in publishing and other fellow writers. It’s almost where I want it, and soon it’ll be on its way to a special someone who is intrigued by the byline. Keep your fingers crossed…

An inviting path for a quiet stroll



But, the other day when my husband said “Amore, you haven’t been away from that computer screen in days. Why not pick a nice place for lunch or dinner, and we’ll go out?” I jumped at the offer—I really did need a break. So, I picked the lovely Ristorante Gabriellino in Gardone Riviera, Lake Garda for a lakeside lunch. The restaurant is very nice, with excellent food, service and a spectacular view of the lake. The owners attend to every detail including the very high quality food preparation and presentation, and the locale's charming ambiance. I was quite impressed by the tasteful d├ęcor and asked if they had hired a professional; no, they’d done that, too. 

Gardone Riviera is a two hour car ride down the A4 Milano-Venezia toll way. I guess I could have found a closer lunch spot in Venice, but my choice was also influenced by a desire to revisit Gabriele d’Annunzio’s former home and gardens Il Vittoriale: the shrine of Italian Victories. Il Vittoriale



The dock
I won’t go into too much detail about who Gabriele d’Annunzio was, except to say that his taste in women, clothes, adventure and life make Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron look like rather secondary dandies. Born in Pescara to a wealthy family in 1863 he is one of Italy’s most popular, and most studied, contemporary poets. A military leader during WWI, a bit eccentric, and most certainly enough of a thorn in Mussolini’s side to receive State funds for the reconstruction of his lavish lake view home and gardens to keep him their—living the good life—and far away from Rome. He wasn’t keen on Hitler, and called him a “ferocious clown” in 1934 and in 1937-38—his last year of life—he opposed an Italian alliance with Germany. I wonder what turn Italian history may have taken if he hadn’t left this world in 1938? Would he have been able to halt Mussolini’s formal alliance with Hitler’s Germany? Or would Mussolini just have sent him further into exile? We shall never know.
View of Lake Garda from Il Vittoriale once home of d'Annunzio

One thing I am certain of is that Gardone Riviera is the perfect spot to dip into twentieth-century Italian history; have a relaxing lunch lakeside; take a stroll along the Riviera’s calm waters; spend a weekend or week dining, reading and resting, and enjoy magnificent views that I promise will bring peace and harmony to your stress filled lives, and send you home wanting to return. I know I want to.


Now sit back and enjoy a few photographs I took of the enchanting estate that awaits a visit from you, too...


Grounds of Il Vittoriale once Gabriele d'Annunzio's Home
Il Vittoriale Amphitheater  http://www.anfiteatrodelvittoriale.it/  Amphitheater Vittoriale


A view from within

The courtyard at Il Vittoriale

Path to the upper gardens

A cool spot to rest on a warm day

View of Lake Garda from the top of Il Vittoriale


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Husband's Brief but Frightening Eyewitness account of the Twister that hit Venice on June 12, 2012


  • Il Molo in front of the Doge's Palace overlooking St. Mark's Basin
    I was leaving the Bridge of Sighs canal, rowing back to the St. Mark's Basin with a gondola full of tourists, when I saw the twister forming, lifting water up from the sea's surface and then passing behind San Giorgio Island. If it had it headed for the Piazza I wouldn't be here to tell the story. Thank goodness, it doesn't seem that anyone was hurt, but lots of trees are down and quite a few boats got tossed about.

    Venice, Italy June 12, 2012 about 12 noon