This article charts the rise to fame of Gabriele D’Annunzio by focusing on a number of key moments in his life and the strategies he employed to shape his public image. The Roman years and the 1890s saw the writer’s first iconic transformation into Italy’s aesthete par excellence, a myth and related iconography that still shapes our view of the poet. The years in Florence, spent at the villa Capponcina, coincided with the time in which d’Annunzio re-fashioned himself into a self-appointed national poet. The war years were central to the creation of an entirely new figure, the poeta soldato, whose military heroics and charismatic leadership provided novel and dubious models of engagement with contemporary politics and culture. Finally the years of the self-imposed exile at Gardone focus on the late, and as yet undocumented, use of photographs employed by d’Annunzio to keep the myth of the national poet-soldier alive under fascism. These subsequent transformations resulted in a highly successful and thoroughly modern staging of his personality which turned him into a national icon.