The Castle of Duino is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Trieste area. It is a little more rustic than Miramare but much more soulful and romantic. It maybe because of its location on the windswept cliffs of Duino overlooking the sea and the ancient ruins of the castle of the Patriarch of Aquilea (dating back to the 1100s). Maybe, we are intrigued by the legend of the White Maiden who haunts the cliffs & castle? It even could be that some of us still recall a few raucous distant members of the Thurn & Taxis family who filled the tabloids with their antics in NYC clubs in the 1980s (who can forget “Princess TNT”)?
Really, what distinguishes this castle is that it is still alive and breathing. Despite origins going as far back as the 3rd Century (as marked by a stone heralding a visit from the Emperor Diocletian visible in the 16th Century tower on the property), construction on the ruins of a ancient Roman fort began in the 14th century. Currently Duino Castle serves as one of the private residences of the 3rd Duke of Duino, Carlo Alessandro, Principe della Torre e Tasso and his family, who split their time between France and Italy. Under their careful tutelage, the Castle continues to thrive as a center for cultural and intellectual exchanges, hosting conferences, art exhibits, private galas and important events focusing on the topics of culture, science and research.
Historically, the Thurn und Taxis (aka Torre e Tasso) family has opened their home to artists, writers and important figures in history who mingled there, such as: Mark Twain, Gabriele D’Annuzio, Franz Listz, Johann Strauss and Ranier Maria Rilke. Perhaps none one was so affected by Duino as Rilke, the Austrian writer. His famous Duino Elegies were inspired by his frequent stays at the castle and his deep friendship with Princess Maria von Thurn und Taxis(1855-1934). So frequent were his visits that the path along the coast on which he often walked is named for him, Sentiero Rilke.
The property has beautifully landscaped terraces, patios and pathways, which, if you plan your trip strategically, offer some of the best sunset views of the area. The interiors are rich and sophisticated without feeling overdone — this is more a home more than a Museum. The dining room is particularly beautiful and the salons are rich with artifacts, mementoes and tributes left behind by famous guests.
This spirit of curiosity for innovation and education flowed down the family tree to Prince Raymond della Torre e Tasso (the current Duke’s late father) who founded here in Trieste the International Center for Theoretical Physics, as well as other important initiatives like; The Institute for Transport Studies in European Economic Integration, the International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Studies, the Rainer Maria Rilke Study Center and the foundation of the United World College of the Upper Adriatic — like his forebears, he was a forward thinking man. It is for this reason that the family continues to foster organizations and groups dedicated to these important issues.
Don’t miss a chance to visit Duino and if you want to make a day trip of it, first go to the castle, then make your way down to the small port for lunch at one of the two lovely seafood restaurants (both delicious) Al Cavalluccio or La Dama Bianca. You’ll be glad you did.
Castello di Duino
Frazione Duino, 32, 34011 Duino-Aurisina TS
Open everyday, except on Tuesday, in the following period:
From March 18 2017: 9.30 -16.00
From April – September: 9.30 – 17.30
First half of October: 9.30 – 17.00
Second half of October: 9.30 – 16.00
BED & BREAKFAST CASTELLO – Can be booked for Wedding Parties
Castle dependance, view on sea and Old Castle
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org -Tel. +39 040 20 81 20