Surrounded by an enchanting park, the Castle of Miramare offers a wonderful panoramic view of the sea. This white Castle is probably the most spectacular and romantic place to visit in Trieste (Friuli Venezia Giulia). But there’s also an heartbreaking tale to discover.
The majestic Miramare Castle, located in Trieste on the Grignano’s rocky promontory, overlooks the sea with an amazing view over the Gulf of Trieste.
The Miramare Marina Nature Reserve
Miramare Castle and the park’s area are part of the WWF Miramare Marina Nature Reserve, the first Italian marine park. A protected natural reserve extended over 30 hectares of sea surrounded by a buffer zone of 90 hectares partially protected. The environments -tidal area, cliffs, sandy and muddy seabed- are the habitat for a huge group of rare types of flora and various fauna species like the Peacock blenny (bavosa pavone), symbol of the Marine Protected Area of Miramare (MPA). This splendid site is one of the most visited tourist destination in Italy and in Europe and it’s here that locals spend their time walking in the park.
Miramare Castle is surrounded by a beautiful garden and a vast park full of exotic and rare botanical species.
The Miramare Castle and Park
The park together with the Castle were built between 1856 and 1860 by order of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph. Spoiler: Franz Joseph was married with Elisabeth also known as “Principessa Sissi”.
The whole complex was designed as a noble residence for the Archduke Maximilian and his beloved wife Charlotte of Belgium. This area was selected by Maximilian, who was Commander in Chief of the Imperial Navy and a passionate about architecture and botany. He decided to built his house facing the sea and surrounded by an enchanting park, where to spent the entire life with Charlotte.
During the Miramare Castle’s constuction, Maximilian lived in the Gartenhaus or Castelletto (litterally small castle) which has a facade that represents a smaller reproduction of the one of the main Castle. Together with the Austrian architect Carl Junker, he design the Porticciolo (the little port), the Castle’s stables and all the other buildings. Inside the Castle, there are more than 20 rooms, the Throne Room and the bedroom furnished like a ship’s cabin of Maximilian’s Rooms are the most outstanding.
The spectacular park, with over 22 hectares, is made of various species of rare plants and trees collected by Maximilian during his scientific expeditions all around the world.
The History of Maximilian and Charlotte
Together with his wife Charlotte, Maximilian spent there only few years before leaving for Mexico in 1864. In Mexico, as wanted by Napoleon III of France, Maximilian was crowned Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. But the political situation of the country was very critical there. They never truly defeated the Mexican Republic with this monarchy and things get even worse when the French troops withdrew. In a desperate effort Charlotte left Mexico to seek support for Maximilian in Paris, Vienna and to the Pope in Rome. But her attempt failed and she then sadly returned to Trieste at Miramare Castle.
The main Castle was too big and empty without his husband, so Charlotte decided to live segregated in the Castelletto while showing symptoms of a mental breakdown. Meanwhile in Mexico, after being captured, Maximilian was sentenced to death and soon executed by firing squad in 1867, and the Mexican Republic was restored.
Now the mental health of Charlotte got worse. Therefore she left Miramare to come back to her family in Belgium where she remain profoundly in love with Maximilian until the day she died in 1927.
According to the legend, before leaving the Castle, Charlotte, mad with grief, cursed Miramare Castle by addressing whoever spends the night there. “Whoever lives under this roof will die like my husband, away from home, away from beloved ones, of a violent death and in mortal sin.”
Miramare Castle: Useful Information
If you’re planning to visit the Castle of Miramare we suggest you to book your entry ticket at the official website.
The Park, which is a free access area, is open to all visitors. A bar is also located inside it…and if you’re looking for a Spritz, drink one like a local at one of the different bars in Barcola, on the way to Miramare.
And do not forget to discover more about the local animals and plants at the Miramare MPA Visitor Centre.