Wednesday dawned another brilliant, blue, sunny day in Trieste. The plan all along was to board bus #6 across the street from our hotel and make the 30-minute trip north to Miramare Castle — not really a castle, but more like a chateau.
This majestic white castle, the beloved home of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg (brother of Emperor Franz Joseph), overlooks the sea and is surrounded by a huge park full of rare and exotic tree species collected by the Archduke himself in his scientific expeditions around the world aboard the frigate Novara.
The Castle was built for Maximilian, who fell in love with the view of the small bay and decided to build his home here, where he lived with his wife Charlotte of Belgium.
Maximilian and Charlotte were able to enjoy their beautiful castle for only four years or so before leaving for Mexico, where Maximilian was crowned Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, only to be executed by firing squad in 1867. Legend has it that Charlotte, mad with grief, still wanders in the park calling his name.
Their home, a splendid example of an aristocratic 19th century residence, retains all its original interior furnishings.
More information can be found here:
We approached Miramare from the south side after an uncertain exit from the bus followed by clambering down stairs through the woods, and left the site via the north side — where the bus stops, then reverses course back to the city. The latter makes more sense, although the woods walk was pleasant.
Once inside Miramare, we almost had the place to ourselves. The museum attendants on duty graciously ignored me as I ignored the “no photos” signs posted everywhere.
Surely this meant “no flash photos,” right? In any event, photos were taken.
Maximilian’s library. Diana loves libraries. I’d be afraid of touching these books for fear of breaking them.
Next is the wedding bed supposedly gifted to Maximilian and Carlotta by Pope Pius IX — which furthermore is said to have not been slept in by the couple.
Perhaps this owes to there being several other bedrooms with better mattresses; I’m not exactly certain. What I found creepy about this bedroom are the portraits surrounding the bed. They’re all European monarchs of the age. Maximilian had no route to the Austrian throne, hence his willingness to travel to Mexico. It was a bad career move, but he brought Central European brewers with him, so there’s that.
The preceding painting depicts the delegation of wealthy Mexicans on hand to petition Maximilian to be their king. Later other Mexicans reversed this writ.
Below is a painting described as allegorical, which I’m guessing conveys Maximilian’s directions from the deity to bring civilization to Mexico.
There was a cafe in the gardens, and we took a break before walking to the bus stop.
Perhaps the clearest view we had of the Dolomites to the northwest.