The town rose at the end of the last century, by help of the Austrian Luigi Wimmer, coming here in Gardone Riviera for the fist time, he was so fascinated of this unique place and the mild climate also in winter, that he decided in 1874, to live here forever with his wife Emilie. He was the pioneer of the hotel industry and thanks to his activity, in a few time, a lot of hotels were built like Grand Hotel Gardone (1882), Gran Hotel Fasano, Hotel Montebaldo, Hotel Garda e Suisse and the well restored Grand Hotel Savoy. Wimmer urged different activities and created contacts, especially with the “German Tour Operators”, so German guests began to enlive the town, especially in wintertime. But Gardone Riviera is famous for the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who came and settled at the monumental complex of Vittoriale, in 1921, an unforgettable memorial, which merits a visit.
A famous tourist destination and resort area, Gardone Riviera can truly be considered a genuine botanical garden where the typical vegetation of Lake Garda alternates with Central European, Mediterranean and sub-tropical plant species.
Numerous parks and gardens line the lake banks and alternate with historical villas that, since the 19th century, have welcomed international guests seeking relaxation, elegance, and a sense of well-being. Gardone Riviera offers its guests a special microclimate, luxurious vegetation, an elegant atmosphere and a striking lakefront boulevard that hosts musical and cultural events in the summer. The town is famous for the Vittoriale degli Italiani, the imposing walled residence of poet Gabriele D'annunzio, now a prestigious museum.
Giardino Botanico Hruska, created by Arturo Hruska, a dentist of Czechoslovakian origin who lived in Bressanone (BZ).
During a first visit to Gardone in 1905, he fell in love with Lake Garda and decided to move to Gardone. This botany enthusiast bought a piece of land on Monte Lavino, sloping towards the lake, where he dedicated an area of roughly 10,000 square metres to realising his dream of a spectacular garden. Around his house, between 1910 and 1971, he created a splendid park with more than 500 plant species coming from all the corners of the earth, from the Alps to the Himalayas, from Mato Grosso to New Zealand, from Japan to Australia, from Canada to Africa.
Strolling around these splendid gardens, you will discover the many streams that Hruska constructed to solve the problem of irrigation.
They flow over the rocks to form waterfalls and ponds, a natural habitat where water lilies, papyruses and lilies grow in abundance. The tinkling of the waters accompanies you through the groves and meadows rich with colourful vegetation including fuchsias, primroses, begonias, iris, magnolias and deep green ferns.
One of the greatest attractions in the garden is the section dedicated to the mountain environment constructed to imitate a corner of the Dolomites: a thirteen-metre wall hides rocks, clefts and gullies where three waterfalls gush over the stones. In only a few metres the scenario changes completely to a tropical garden with succulent plants of all kinds, or the Japanese garden occupied by a thicket of bamboo. A look towards the lake reminds us where we are in case we had forgotten!
Tours and recommended itineraries
This tour is composed of itinerary 1 plus the navigation through the renowned small town of Gardone Riviera.