“In todays crazy and cowardly world there is a sign of liberty, in this crazy and cowardly world there is an immaculate thing: Fiume. There is only one truth: and that is Fiume; there is only one love: and that is Fiume! Fiume is the brilliant lighthouse, the light that shines so bright amidst the sea of perfidy.”
ALALÁ Gabriele D’Annunzio 1919 in his speech after the capture of Fiume
FIUME. In September 1919 Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio captured the Istrian seaport Fiume, todays Rijeka, at that time a city with 50 000 habitants and an occupation army of 10 000 men. For the first time in history one dream of the avant-garde came true: art was in power and the endless calls and words were finally fulfilled. This first “dictatorship of art” lasted for only 15 months. The concessions, which had to be made to politics after World War One, were too massive and, ultimately, the project proved itself to be too exceptional and the memories of Fiume faded. In the quotation of D’Annunzio, one could easily replace the word “Fiume” by “art”, and outside of Italy the domination of art was, to a large extent, brushed aside or repressed.
VITTORIALE. “After so much noise I’m longing for calmness, and after so much war for peace. ” After the shipwreck of the dictatorship of art commandant Gabriele D’Annunzio moved to Lake Garda and bought a mansion, the germ cell of the later Vittoriale degli Italiani. In the meantime the fascist movement used the myths of Fiume wrongly to prepare a coup d’état. For D’Annunzio “adolescent imitators” and an “illegitimate takeover”. Mussolini’s March on Rome was not the march on Ronchi and for D’Annunzio an illegal takeover. D’Annunzio retreats into his “shell” and henceforth avoids the field of politics. The Vittoriale turns into a monument for World War One and the days of Fiume – with the aircraft, from which he threw flyers on Vienna, the torpedo boat MAS, from which not torpedoes but a message in a bottle was sent to the Austrian armed forces, and the bow of the royal cruiser Puglia as the main parts of this solemn orchestration. On the “hill of death”, built after the poets death, some legionnaires, the architect of the Vittoriale, Gian Carlo Maroni, and D’Annunzio himself are resting. Their remains were buried in Roman sarcophagi.
PUGLIA. The bow of the royal cruiser Puglia came to Gardone in the beginning of 1925 boxed in 20 railway cars and was transported to the Vittoriale. Even Guy Debord praises the bow, which was set into the hills of the mountain, in one of his texts as a felicitous example of misappropriation, in the sense of the Sitationist International.
RADIO. In 1920 Guglielmo Marconi the inventor of the radio came to Fiume to built a radio transmitter there. The plan failed but D’Annunzio sent a short radio message form Marconi’s yacht. The script and the recording of this message are archived in the Vittoriale and the Luce-Institute in Rome.