Trieste Castles

Castello di Duino – Photo ©

Facing the gulf of Trieste, the Duino castles rise up on an extremely fascinating point of the Adriatic coastline

From the ancient castle, dating back to the 11th Century, we can find only a few ruins on the projection of rock overlooking the sea; even in its reduced dimensions, this was used both as living quarters and as a lookout tower, as can be seen from the high thick walls overhanging the sea and the traces of decorative frescos inside the part which we imagine were part of the private chapel. Under the overhanging cliff a large stone emerges, known as the white lady and which, according to legend represents a lady of the castle who committed suicide for love.

Further along, is the new castle, of which the first documentation dates back to the 14th Century; governed over the years by the Austrians and the Venetians, the rooms of this small fort have significant works of art and historic heirlooms.

The defence of this “borgo” were increased on numerous occasions for fear of invasions, but the First World War caused considerable damage to the Castles’ structure, which were completely restored – and in part rebuilt – at the end of the conflict, while trying to maintain the original structure.

Today the Castles appear as a complex of buildings from different ages to the visitor, with the mainstay being an arcaded courtyard, closed by two massive perimeter rampart walls; special mention must also be made of the surrounding gardens, created in the second half of the 19th century but reorganised a number of times after this; the walkway unravels towards a series of avenues and pathways which pass in front of statues, century-old trees, a Mediterranean garden with large flower beds and basins full of flowers, bringing us to panoramic patios overlooking the sea or a private beach.

It is possible to rent the castle’s rooms for congresses, gala dinners, weddings, film locations, art exhibitions and exhibitions in general.

Castello di Miramare

Miramare with its “white towers” of Carducci memory, more than a castle, it is an example of a 19th century residence of princes, fruit of that eclectic style which makes up the history of architecture in the last century.

Built between 1856 and 1860 as desired by the archduke Maximilian of Austria, who later became Emperor of Mexico, the building is strongly influenced by the romantic style, in the same vein as a medieval stronghold of days gone by. The archduke personally followed the work on the castle from the plans to the layout of the enormous gardens (more than 22 hectares), which comprise an English garden, and an Italian one, with a significant number of rare plants, sculptures and ornamental lakes which descend towards the sea by way of large steps.

The Castle is made up of more than 20 rooms: particularly esteemed are the “Maximillian Rooms”, amongst which there is a bedroom which has been furnished as a ship’s cabin, as well as a “Throne Room”. In 1955, the Castle became a state museum.

Services on offer: guided tours, a museum catalogue, a bookshop, wardrobe facility, audio guide, temporary exhibitions, disabled persons access.

Trieste San Giusto – Photo © Renato Esti

Since prehistoric times, there has been a castle on the San Giusto hill, which in Roman times became the headquarters for an important urban settlement. The stronghold, which came about in medieval times and was work of the venetians, was knocked down in the 14th century at the will of the patriarch of Aquileia and it was only in 1470 that Frederick II of Hapsburg rebuilt there, the square tower and the two-floored building which is now the Castle’s Civic museum belong to this period.

Under the Venetian Republic’s government, which at the beginning of the 1500s had re-established its rule over Trieste , the Castle was strengthened in its defence and, with the return of Austrian rule, work continued until the great bastions and connecting walls were built in 1630.

To gain access to the fortified building, you must cross a steep slope by way of a wooden drawbridge, laid over ditch of limited width, once you have crossed the entrance hall, with a cross vault, you gain access to the Milizie square, where steps and communication trenches lead to the bastions.

The pathway along the perimeter walls offers one of the most beautiful views of the city and of the Gulf of Trieste.
Since 1930, the Castle is owned by the Town hall, and has been fitted out for tourist visits or for cultural exhibitions, performances and temporary art exhibitions.

For information:

Castello di Duino, 34013 Duino Aurisina (TS)
tel. 040.208120  fax 040.208022

Castello di Miramare, localita’ Grignano – 34100 Trieste
tel. 040.224143  fax 040.224220

Civico Museo del Castello di San Giusto
Piazza della Cattedrale, 3 – 34121 Trieste
tel. 040.309362

Where to stay in Trieste

There are high quality hotels, apartments, condo hotels and B&Bs available, check them out and make a reservation here.