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Hidden Treasures - Itinerary The Architect of the Lake

The architect Giancarlo Maroni was one of the people responsible for the reconstruction of Riva after the First World War. His decisions on land use and town development still shape the city today. An easy route, suitable for trolleys and wheelchairs leads through the centre of Riva in search of the traces left by the famous architect.


Start: Fraglia Vela, Riva del Garda (Via Maroni)
End: Fraglia Vela or Sports field (Viale Rovereto)
Length: 1km
Time: 1h
Difficulty: easy, suitable for wheelchairs
 

1 The revival of Riva

After World War I the town of Riva del Garda faced on one hand the problem of reconstruction after the damage caused by extensive shelling, and on the other of having to redefine its identity from appendix to the southern Kurort of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Arco) to north Italian town on a lake which at long last was entirely in Italy.
The architect Giancarlo Maroni (1893 Arco - 1952 Gardone Riviera) was one of the protagonists of the rebirth of Riva, designing renovations and new buildings characterized by the recovery of ancient local motifs, new technical solutions, and the uncanny ability to fit into the landscape without destroying it but rather giving it character.
As a member of the building committee he promoted the development of Riva to the east, in the direction of Mount Brione and the light, away from the shadow cast by the Rocchetta mountain, a choice that guided the expansion of the city for decades.
2 Spiaggia degli Olivi Beach and Fraglia Vela

The old beach complex of Riva, built between 1932 and 1934, encloses wide beach inside a semicircle oriented toward the lake, where on one end the lighthouse and trampoline tower rises towards the centre of the city, and on the other end to the east the sailing club (“Fraglia Vela”) is found. The building itself has an elliptical shape and was intended to be a meeting place, dancing hall and reading spot. 
In the '50s and' 60s until the '80s the Spiaggia Olivi was the main “disco” in Riva.  The whole building is dominated by a series of pillars, echoing the shape of a typical lemon greenhouse of the area (“limonaia”). This was the last contribution of Maroni to the public spaces of the city.

Curiosity: the name "Fraglia” used for the sailing club was suggested by the primary sponsor of the same (and still honorary President), the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio, from a word of Venetian origin meaning "brotherhood" which was originally used in the territories of the Republic of Venice to define corporations of arts and crafts (in English you could translate it as “Guild”).
3 Casa Armani

This is a renovation of an existing building which had been damaged in the war. Maroni incorporated the pillars of the former garden fence into the new façade of the building. On the first floor he created a terrace bounded by arched windows. Like with his other restorations (Nr. 4, for example), the architect used pre-existing architectural elements to give movement and character to the façade of the new building.

[...]6 Hydroelectric Plant


The construction of the Ponale hydroelectric power plant (1925-1930) involved Maroni, at that time already architect of the Vittoriale of Gabriele d'Annunzio, in the design of a monumental structure with severe purpose-determined constraints: huge empty spaces were needed for very large machines, from turbines to transformers.
The placement of the five main structures on different levels and heights and the extensive use of arches, windows, oculi and lunettes gives the complex a lively and pleasing appearance, in spite of its huge size. The main façade is complemented by the statue of a a water god, by the local sculptor Silvio Zaniboni.
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