With its rich history, architecture and nature, Italy has always been a major tourist attraction. However, there are still places, that are not on top of the tourist routes. Miramare Castle is one of them.
Located just 100 miles away from Venice, in the Gulf of Trieste, Miramare Castle is relatively recently built structure. This 19th century castle, stands atop the cliffs and it is surrounded by 54 acres of lush gardens.
The story of the castle owners started, with the hope of having a family sanctuary and ended by the tragic death and madness.
In 1855, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian purchased a few plots of land and ordered to built a castle, that would fit his status. The castle was designed by an Austrian architect Carl Junke, but, it reflected the taste of the Archduke. Style of the castle is combination of Gothic, Medieval and Renaissance. By 1860, Maximilian, along with his wife Charlotte of Belgium, were already living there.
However, their happiness was cut short, when they left for Mexico in 1864. French emperor Napoleon III and conservative Mexican Monarchists, proposed to Maximilian to become an Emperor of Mexico, as they wanted to re establish Monarchy in Mexico. The archduke accepted an offer. Little did he know, that Mexico was divided by civil war. While most European countries recognized him as an Emperor, the United States supported President Juarez.
In 1866, Charlotte returned to Europe, in hopes of getting support from Napoleon III and Pope Pius IX. However, they failed to keep their previous promises. Devastated Charlotte returned to Miramare, where she was dealing with mental illness. Meanwhile, Maximilian was imprisoned by Juarez’s Republican troops and was executed in 1867. The tragic death of her husband was kept secret from Charlotte, for a few months. Later, she was brought to Belgium and never returned to Miramare, nor her mental health recovered.
During World War I, castle’s furniture was moved to Vienna. Later, during World War II, it served as an army base. Since, 1955 the castle became a museum and opened to the public. It has been restored and refurnished. But, there also are the original furniture and paintings in the rooms, which let visitors to fully feel the atmosphere of the 19th century. While exploring the castle is not free, gorgeous park is open to the public free of charge.
Miramare Castle is a must see for visitors, who enjoy architecture, nature and history.
Location: Viale Miramare, 34151 Trieste TS, Italy