Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Castle by the Sea

Miramare Castle is a tiny but beautiful castle on the cliffs overlooking the bay of Trieste in the north-east of Italy. Just a short distance away is the Italian border with Slovenia and Austria. This post presents the castle and its wonderful gardens that are full of sculptures.


History of Miramare Castle

The castle was built in 1857 by Archduke Maximilian, the younger brother of the king of Austria. Maximilian was married to Charlotte, the only daughter of Leopold I, the king of Belgium. The castle was built as one of their family homes.

Shortly after the completion of the Miramare castle, Archduke Maximilian became the emperor of Mexico, for Napoleon III of France. Maximilian was killed in 1867 while Charlotte lost her mental balance and became paranoid. She spent the remaining years of her life in Miramare castle and in Meise in Belgium.


Thus, the castle of Miramare is seen as a symbol of the tragic love story between Archduke Maximilian and Charlotte.

Reaching Miramare

Trieste is well connected to the rest of Italy by trains and the highway. The Miramare castle is located on the cliffs of Grignano, just outside the city to the south. It is close to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICPT), a renowned research centre on astronomy and cosmology.


If you are coming to Trieste by train, you can get a city bus to reach the castle (bus n. 6 or 36 going towards "Miramare-Grignano"). You can also take a local train to Miramare railway station, from where the castle is a 15 minutes walk.

Inside the Castle of Miramare

Inside the castle, the rooms, the furnishings and the furniture of the royal family have been maintained.


With rich brocade covered walls, beautiful four poster beds, elaborate wood work and beautiful art objects from different parts of the world, it looks like any other royal house.


The building has many pictures and portraits of the royal couple, their family members and their important guests.


The objects displayed in the castle include a portable royal toilet that is made like a wooden chest with a round cover for the part where the royal highnesses sat down to do their daily needs. Probably this meant that at that time they did not have a proper toilet on the first floor.

The windows of the different rooms overlooking the bay showed wonderful panoramas. A beautiful corridor with neo-classical pillars runs along the side facing the sea on the ground floor of the castle, again giving opportunity for beautiful panoramas of the Bay of Trieste.


Terraced Gardens of Miramare

In front of the castle, there is an open square. On one side the stairs go down to terraced gardens and a boat-port.



There is another big garden of 22 hectares in front of the castle. Creating such a rich garden on the barren cliffs of Grignano was hard work. Tons of rich soil were brought here for creating these gardens. Plants were also brought here from different parts of Europe and from other parts of the world.

The eastern part of the garden has been designed like a forest with winding paths and open spaces with fountains.


On the south-west side, there are Italian gardens in rigorous geometric shapes, leading to a "Koffeehaus" (first image at the top).

There are different glass-houses for keeping the plants and trees from tropical countries and are used as plant nurseries. All the different parts of the gardens are embellished with beautiful sculptures made by the Berlin company Moritz Geiss.


Nature Around Miramare

There are scattered rocks rising out of the sea all around Miramare castle where you can admire different species of birds.


You can also see the city of Trieste spread over the surrounding hills and on a clear day, you can also see the Croatian coast to the north and east.

Conclusions

If you love nature, arts and culture, you will like visiting the Miramare castle. With beautiful trees, flowers and gardens on one side and the wonderful views of sea crashing on rocky cliffs on the other, the visit to the Miramare castle will require at least a couple of hours.

The gardens are at different levels and can be tiring in summer, so remember to carry some water and nourishment with you. The castle itself is not so big, but still it is also worth a visit to get a glimpse of the royal lives in mid-nineteenth century.

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2 comments:

  1. This brings back Nostalgia and pleasant memories of the lovely gardens of Europe, Rich architecture and the grandeur of Royal Residences..Haven't been to Miramare castle as yet however it looks great and I would love to visit this place someday :) Thanks for sharing this lovely post..Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. European cities are indeed full of beautiful royal residences with huge gardens. Thanks Veidehi

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