Gardone - often also called Gardone Riviera - is situated on the western coast of Lake Garda. At one time it had a reputation for being the most sophisticated resort on Lake Garda, and while that era might have passed Gardone still continues to have a certain allure.
It is also well placed for taking boat trips to some of the other towns around the shores of the lake.
Arriving at Gardone from Salo (slightly to the south) your journey passes through villas, palms and olive plantations to reach 'Gardone Riviera'. The town is very pleasant, and pretty much dedicated to tourism, with cafes and restaurants along the lake shore, and the chance to enjoy a very pleasant promenade on a warm summer evening.
Behind the lake frontage there is also a small historic centre to Gardone which is also very nice to explore.
The most interesting attraction here is the "Il Vittoriale", the estate of the poet and extreme Italian nationalist Gabriele D'Annunzio.
Il Vittoriale is a fascinating monument to an unusual and flamboyant character and adventurer, and is exceptionally popular with visitors to Lake Garda (arrive early to avoid large queues).
There is a great deal to enjoy whether you take the guided tour of the substantial house or if you simply visit the grounds around the villa. You will also see the amphitheatre, based on Ancient Roman theatres and still used for performances today.
The house itself contains numerous works of art, books, furnishings and other interesting objects, many of them directly related to the eccentric life of Gabriele D'Annunzio, making it half house and half museum, and several of the rooms have ornately painted walls and ceilings.
Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938) was a very popular writer and poet in the decades around 1900 before starting a life in politics. During the First World War he became a popular war hero, with several heroic actions attributed to him.
After the war finished he spent several years more in politics, leading a party based on Nationalism, Anarchy and Fascism - although he did not support the growth of the subsequent fascist movement under Mussolini.
Hruska botanical gardens
The other highlight of Gardone Riviera is the botanical gardens (Giardino Botanico Hruska).
These extensive gardens include a very wide selection of plants that benefit from the protected climate here on the lake, and a great deal of imaginative planting.
There are also a good number of interesting modern works of art to be found among the gardens.
Why Hruska Gardens? Arthur Hruska was famously the dentist to the last Tsar of Russia before moving here to buy a villa and start planning his his gardens after 1921.
There are many places to explore and beautiful scenery to enjoy around the shores of the lake - see Lake Garda guide for details.