by Barb B
Napa, CA and Hereford, AZ , Arizona
November 5, 2000
The Archduke Maximilian, brother of Franz Josef commissioned the building of this 19th century extravaganza. He married the Princess Charlotte of Belgium and they lived happily here, until Napoleon III of France took Trieste from the Hapsburgs.
The day we visited, a group of young school children were being given a tour by one of the docents and the children were delighted with the story of Maxmilian and "Carlotta". All went well for the couple as they lived here at Miramare until he was given the title of Emperor of Mexico in 1864 and together they sailed to Mexico. Unfortunately, his was not a good reign and he faced a firing squad in 1867.
The castle is preserved in its original condition and reflections of Maxmillian's love of the sea are everywhere. His wood paneled bedroon on the first floor was built to resemble the cabin of a ship and a glance from the window of any of the second floor rooms provides a spectacular view over the Bay of Grignano and the Adriatic beyond. His love for exotic places is displayed in the Chinese and Japanese salon. As you stand at the base of the circular staircase, if you look up, there is a glass-bottomed fishpond.
Sadly, Carlotta returned to live out her days in Brussels; driven insane by the ordeal in Mexico. If the story sounds familiar, it was made into a movie "Juarez" starring Bette Davis.
Entrance to the castle is 8000 lira (about $4 US) and includes admission to the gardens of Miramare (see separate journal entry). Opened daily from 9 am to 6 pm in summer and from 9 am to 4 pm in winter.
From journal Trieste-From Seafood to Coffee Houses