David Herbert Lawrence

In August 1912 David Herbert Lawrence, with his companion Frieda Weekley von Richtofen, began a long journey southward. They left England to travel through Germany and Austria, and after a short stay in the Tyrol, they set out, with their knapsacks on their backs, on an exhausting trek through the Alps, via Bolzano and Trento to Riva del Garda. From Riva they came to Gargnano, where they stayed from 18 September 1912 to 30 March 1913. In this regard, there is a legend to be dispelled, regarding Lawrences first lodgings at Gargnano. From his writings and letters it is clear that they did not stay for a while at the Hotel Cervo, on the harbour-side in Gargnano, now no longer a hotel, but still identifiable as the building that now houses the Banco di Brescia bank. However, they were undoubtedly friends of the proprietor, a lady of German origins. The only place where Lawrence and Frieda stayed in Gargnano was in the little hamlet of Villa , in a furnished apartment on the first floor of Villa Igea. The house belonged to signor Pietro De Paoli (1845-1917) and his wife Silvia Comboni De Paoli (1868-1931), who lived in Villa in the mansion that is now home to the Comunità Montana (mountain community administrative offices). Whilst in Gargnano, Lawrence finished his novel Sons and Lovers, worked on a volume of poetry, including Sunday Afternoon in Italy and Spring Morning, both written in Gargnano, but above all he wrote some chapters on Lake Garda for his travel journal book Twilight in Italy. These chapters contain some memorable descriptions of our area, which fascinated him so, of its inhabitants, of the deep understanding of life as it was lived in Gargnano and on the shores of Lake Garda, and of its time-honoured rhythms. From 30 March to 11 April 1913, D.H. Lawrence and Frieda stayed in San Gaudenzio, above Gargnano, on the road for Muslone, with the Capelli family. On our lake, Lawrence seems to have found a foretaste of that Mediterranean atmosphere that he found so fascinating, in Gargnano, a refuge from the culture of money and machinery that he so deeply detested, and in the people of Gargnano, the keepers of an ancient, and on the whole impassive, world, which remains unruffled by, and resists the upheaval of, tumultuous modernity. Villa Igea can still be seen in the hamlet of Villa, at via Colletta 44. It is marked by a plaque commemorating their stay.

Associazione Turistica Gargnano Piazzale Boldini, 2 - 25084 - GARGNANO (BS)- Lake Garda
Tel / Fax 0039 0365.791243 - info@gargnanosulgarda.it P.I. 03321420980