The Castle of Miramare, Trieste: history, legends and curiosities
In a panoramic position overlooking the sea and surrounded by a beautiful park: the Miramare Castle is with good reason one of the most beloved and photographed attractions of Trieste, an ideal destination for a walk during summer season. In this article we tell you some legends and curiosities about this place full of charm, a stop not to be missed during a stay in Trieste.
The Castle of Miramare between history and legend
The Miramare Castle was built in the mid-nineteenth century at the behest of Maximilian of Habsburg, Archduke of Austria, as a private residence for him and his wife Charlotte of Belgium. Legend has it that the archduke chose the promontory of Grignano as the location after taking refuge here during a storm that had surprised him at sea.
Made of Istrian stone on the tip of the promontory, the Castle wanted to be a work in perfect balance between architecture and landscape, art and nature. The architect Carl Junker was in charge of the design, who also took care of the large park and began work in 1856.
Unfortunately, neither Massimiliano nor Carlotta enjoyed the beauty of the Castle of Miramare for a long time, both victims of a tragic fate. Passed under the control of the Italian state after the First World War, the Castle was then inhabited by Amedeo di Savoia for a few years and finally transformed into a museum.
Maximilian of Habsburg and Amadeus of Savoy both had a violent end, shot in Mexico the first and died in captivity in Kenya the second, giving rise to a famous legend about the alleged “curse of the Castle of Miramare”: anyone who stays there would die a tragic and premature death.
According to other stories, Miramare is still inhabited by the ghost of Maximilian, who had not been able to enjoy the Castle and its park in life, so he’d come back at least as a spirit. The park and the Castle of Miramare are closed at night, but if you are suggestible is better to return to the city as soon as it starts to get dark!
The project for the park of Miramare
The beauty of Miramare Castle would not be complete without the large park that surrounds it. The project of these 22 hectares was strongly wanted by Maximilian of Hapsburg, who followed with attention every step transforming a rocky territory in the beautiful park that we know.
Although today it is difficult to imagine, at the beginning of the works here was a karst promontory devoid of vegetation. It was necessary to bring large amounts of land to proceed with the reforestation and the archduke, who had a strong passion for botany, began to personally procure trees and shrubs from around the world.
He chose to create a natural and artificial environment at the same time, with a large English garden that contrasts with the elegant Italian garden closer to the castle and the marina.
The efforts of Maximilian of Hapsburg gave rise to a grandiose work and the Miramare Park is now considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy, thanks to its wealth of rare botanical species and an invaluable panoramic position overlooking the Gulf of Trieste.
The fame as “Sissi’s Castle”
For many, the Miramare Castle is also famous as “Sissi’s Castle”. Stories and legends about Elisabeth of Austria, sister-in-law of Maximilian of Habsburg, have fascinated generations and certainly the Empress had a strong bond with Trieste, a port from which she sailed towards the Mediterranean in her numerous escapes from the Viennese court. During her stay in Trieste she resided at the Castle of Miramare and she too, as the curse dictates, had a tragic end some years later.
Visit the Miramare Castle from Trieste
The Miramare park is accessible free of charge every day of the year, according to the times indicated on the official website. To access the Historical Museum that occupies the interior of the Castle of Miramare is required a ticket instead, free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month as well as other museums in Trieste.
The Miramare Castle is located about 8 km from the center of Trieste and can be reached by car or with the bus number 6, but it is one of the stops of the panoramic tour Hop On Hop Off too: ask us at the reception of the DoubleTree by Hilton Trieste to learn more. Bus Hop On Hop Off tickets are also included in our new Explore Trieste summer package, along with the FVG Card with discounts and gratuities on various attractions and much more: it’s the perfect time to book your stay and discover the wonders of Trieste!