By Brooke Cunningham
For the big gita or trip that our Italian Literature class took, we took a van and went to the Lago di Garda, a gorgeous and stunning lake where Gabriele D’Annunzio established his remarkable home. Before we visited his house, we ate lunch by a little port on the lake—mostly really good pizzas, and some fresh and spicy pastas.
We toured the town of Gardone Riviera and the gardens around D’Annuzio’s house, as well as an amphitheater that seemed to come out of nowhere and which overlooked the lake. The actual house was one of the strangest things I’ve seen in Italy—this man was the epitome of peculiarity and strange quirks. From the giant (read: five foot long!) gold turtle affixed at the head of his ornate dining room, to the bizarre lights he had to accommodate his photophobia, to the bedroom he designed to look like both a cradle and a grave, to his separate entrances for welcome and not-so-welcome visitors, and to the immense accumulation of books and artifacts from all cultures of the world, D’Annuzio fashioned a home that simply defies any sort of categorization.
The vertigo we all had after visiting this cool but bizarre house was, thankfully, much reduced by the amazing gelato we had at a gelateria on the lake’s edge. To be more accurate, they were more like gelato mountains replete with different flavors, fruits, sweets, and sauces. We all needed time to digest and recuperate after such a feast, so we wandered around a nearby town and scoped out the area before finally heading back. It was an unforgettable trip, and one I probably would never have thought of—which makes me appreciate it even more!
Read other students’ testimonials on their experiences in Padua.