Imagine a little Italian poet who not only thinks of himself as a big army general but really is a general and has his own army of protofascists reading poetry from a balcony of a beautiful building in Rijeka for confused citizens. And now put this thought into a historical perspective, adding names: Gabriele D’Annunzio and Governor’s Palace, and time: 1919 – 1920.
D’Annunzio is one of the most controversial historical figures of our time and place. A great poet with a lousy and distorted view on people and politics organizes his own little army and goes to a distant city to capture it and practise there his ideas on politics and governing people. Later on, one much more dangerous guy – Benito Mussolini – inherited many of the ideas and even gestures of this little Italian poet, so D’Annunzio is also guilty of planting those ideas into the other Italian idiot who almost succeeded in destroying humanity.
And this is just one little episode in the history of a beautiful Historicistic building called the Governor’s Palace, built in 1897 as a residence for Rijeka’s governor. Today, there is Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral, so you can experience all these layers of history.
But I will also tell you a little secret: if you come here on Saturdays, you will find many people smiling and some of them even crying. The Governor’s Palace in fact is the most common place for Rijeka’s inhabitants to get married.