Red of Marble, Blue of Lake Garda
Italian poet and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio dreamed of this theater as “a marble basin under the stars”, a place in which to escape into the world of art and shows surrounded by the beauty of the changing colors of Gardone Riviera. Yet, this dream has only really become reality of late. For years – many, many years – the Vittoriale amphitheater remained somewhere between unfinished, until 1952, and the materiality of concrete. Today, this has changed, with the seats and the stalls now covered in rough finish Margraf Rosso Verona marble. As such, the amphitheater is now caught only between the beauty of Mount Baldo on one side and the Garda island, the Sirmione peninsula and the Manerba fortress and promontory on the other.
This is artistically perfect on so many levels as the promontory is sometimes called "Dante's Profile" and it was a favored place of D’Annunzio himself. The poet was actually the person who, in 1931, commissioned the amphitheater from Gian Carlo Maroni. The architect travelled to Pompeii and Rome to see the great amphitheaters of the past and breathe in their essence, but it still took until 1952 for any definitive form to be realized, thanks to the involvement of the Vittoriale degli Italiani Foundation. Despite this support, the seats and stalls remained unfinished, in concrete, until only two years ago when Margraf became involved. This company is based in the Vicenza area, which is not too far away, and it specializes in quarrying and processing marble, as well as in highly sophisticated techniques for large-scale projects.
Today, this beloved spot for D’Annunzio has finally been given a form that must be far closer to what the poet had in his mind’s eye. In total, it took 1,500 sq. m of Rosso Verona marble cladding for the over 1,000 seats. As such, for many years to come, the audience will be able to enjoy art and nature sitting on natural stone, as they fly back virtually in time to the age of the poet. In many ways, it truly is a marble connection of ages, styles and generations.