Towards the end of the 19th century the lake had become the southernmost extremity of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, after the passage of the Veneto Region to Italy. For this reason, Germans and Austrians tended to come here on vacation. André Gide, along with anonymous tourists, used to take up residence around here in the summertime.
The French writer (1869-1951) chose Torri del Benaco (Towers of Benacus), a village dating back to Roman times. He stayed at a hotel from July 22 to September 13, 1948. The previous year Gide was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The most beautiful room, number 24, was reserved for him, from whose terrace he could see the lake, the port, the castle. He was completely enchanted and wrote “I had never before lived so many wonderful, beautiful days. But since the beginning of September the air is light, the heat at midday no longer excessive: the mornings and the evenings are cool “.
The author of I sotterranei del Vaticano (The Caves of the Vatican) awoke early, took long walks, swam in the lake, talked with fishermen, wrote, conversed, played chess and checkers. When he left Torri, Gide was almost reborn and he left a dedication to the town: “From the wonderful memory I keep, I will draw the strength to face the long walk of winter”.