The town of Gardone Riviera with its 2700 inhabitants on the western side of the lake is mainly characterized by its luxuriant vegetation.
The hills that surround Gardone allow the area to enjoy a mild microclimate in every season. This unique climate has changed Gardone into a botanical garden where the typical vegetation of this area mingles with the Middle-European, Mediterranean and subtropical ones: citrus trees, cypresses, and olive trees live in the same environment as palm trees, camphors, cedras and agaves, protected in several parks and gardens dating back to the end of the 19th century.
The history of Gardone in medieval times is closely linked to the deeds of the villages on the hills. There are three main events which have characterised its main features in recent history:
1) Gardone's history as a tourist resort dates back to the end of the 19th century, when German doctors praised the therapeutic qualities of the climate, ideal especially for long holidays . That was why Luigi Wimmer a well known personality of Austrian origins, after spending a long rest cure holiday in Gardone, fell in love with this place an decided to build the first important hotel. In 1881 he became mayor of Gardone and started to advertise the town in central European newspapers: sovereigns, princes and important persons started to visit Gardone regularly, so that it changed into a well-known tourist resort.
2) From 1921 to 1938 Gardone was the last home of Gabriele d'Annunzio, one of the greatest Italian writers and poets of the 20th century, hero during World War I and a man who, with his "inimitable way of life" marked the taste of an era. His mansion, the Vittoriale, is a real fortress inside Gardone, and today a prestigious museum.
3) During the "Repubblica Sociale " (the Social Republic) from 1943 to 1945 the wonderful villas and hotels became the seat of embassies, homes to German commanding officers and hospitals.
Today Gardone is a happy island with big hotels, that are among the most refined of Lake Garda, selected restaurants by the lake and "Trattorias" restaurants specialized in cooking typical local dishes. Gardone is highly recommended for a special holiday, aimed at having fun and characterized by tranquillity and good taste.