Duino Castle, locally known as Castello di Duino, lies in the coastal village of the same name, north of the city of Trieste in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in Italy.
There are actually two castles at this site, both built on rocky spurs of the Kars mountain range, jutting out into the Gulf of Trieste. The northern one is the forerunner of the other. Named 'the Old Castle' it dates back to the 11th century. It belonged to the patriarchy of Aquileia. It is now in ruins and can not be visited.
We visited the younger one. Named 'the New Castle' it was built during the 14th century on the orders of the Waldsee family. It was built on the ruins of a Roman military outpost, called Castellum Pucinum, which was visited by the Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd century.
In the 15th century the castle was nearly completely destroyed by the Turks. In 1483 its owner Ramberto III of Waldsee died and the castle passed to the House of Austria.
After having fallen into Venetian hands the castle was reconquered in 1508 by the Emperor Maximillian who donated it to Giovanni Hofer. The square keep was built in the 16th century.
In the 17th century the castle went to the princely Von Thurn und Taxis family whose descendants still own and reside in the castle.
From the 17th up until the 20th century this family played host to a lot of very renowned guests in their castle; Johann Strauss and Franz Liszt, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), the Habsburg Archduke Maximillian and his bride Charlotte of Belgium, the Counts of Chambord, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Mark Twain, Rainer Maria Rilke and more recently the British Prince Charles.
During World War II the castle was used by the Germans who, in 1943, contructed a bunker in the rocks next to the castle to defend the nearby naval base of Sistiana to a possible Allied attack. After the war the British used the bunker as a fuel store. This bunker can be visited and houses a small museum.
A small part of the castle, the bunker and the gardens can be visited for a small fee. This is a nice castle connected to a lot of European history and it offers great views!