If you are a garden fan, (and I am) it is easy to spend 90 minutes even in 27C heat exploring the Heller Garden in Gardone Riviera on Lake Garda. If you are an art and garden fan it is easy to enjoy this garden for even longer.
Numbers painted in Venetian blue mark the spot for special plants. I was so charmed by the numbers that I forgot to look at the plants!
Narrow dirt and rock paths lead to a warren of semi-private spaces. There are surprises in every nook.
Round a turn and you might find a Rodin.
Or a Keith Haring
Or a new artist. I found works in a similar style sprinkled throughout the garden but no listing on the map. These stylized human forms were throwing themselves into life with every ounce of their being. You round a corner on a narrow path and one jumps up at you.
The scale varied but the energy and style of the form stayed constant.
I wanted to know whose work this was so when we left, I asked the lady at the front desk. She opened a drawer, sorted through some things, and pulled out the card of Mariano Fuga.
Fuga is a sculptor who lives and works around Lake Garda. His studio is just north of Gardone Riviera in Gargnano. His website includes some wonderful pictures of him working in the studio with clay that give insights into his process and how these lovely beings take shape. Sadly, I missed visiting his studio by not putting 2 and 2 together.
In case you are wondering how this marvelous garden came to be… While Italy abounds in gardens very few are like this one. It was created by Dr. Arturo Hruska, Austrian dentist to the last tsar, in 1901. Since 1988 Austrian artist Andrè Heller has owned it. Heller coincidentally was also “responsible for the presentation of the Germany bid for the 2006 FIFA World Cup project” (Wikipedia) Heller’s private home is on the grounds.
Next up: Scenes from Lake Garda Italy Part 3
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