Miramare Castle and its stunning garden is nestled on Gulf of Trieste and offers visitors a scenic environment that abounds in the beauty of nature and is rich in history. Aside from the majestic views and imperial rooms, the waters around the castle also serve as a marine reserve. But, beyond what meets the eye, this castle is also filled with mystery that makes it a beauty to behold and a haunted place to avoid at the same time.
Castles have long been associated with fairy tales as well as myths and legends of the distant past. To this day and age, they remain to be the main setting of any type or genre of story.
Powerful and regal with an appearance that is reminiscent of the ancient times, castles never fail to captivate visitors even after hundreds of years have passed. These edifices take you back in time with their evocative and mysterious façade. They also give off this unique magical aura but some have a sinister vibe to them. The Castle of Miramare is the perfect example of a castle that, albeit beautiful, serves as the subject of many inexplicable stories.
The Early Beginnings of the Castle of Miramare
The breathtaking Miramare Castle was established upon the command of the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian of Habsburg-Lorraine. Maximilian wanted to have a house that he will share with Carlotta, his wife, which resembles the Spanish castles that face the Atlantic. This is why it was named Miramare or mirar el mar which means look at the sea.
The Miramare Castle’s history has roots that can be traced as far as back as the ancient times, in 1885 to be specific, when Maximilian realized that he wanted to have a castle built close to the bay of Grignano.
The work started the following year, with the project entrusted to Architect Carl Junker. In the beginning, Maximilian was not that enthusiastic to the point that he even asked for a sketch from Giovanni Berlam, another architect. To the Archduke’s eyes, this second work appeared much better even though the final project still remained as that of Junker.
This castle has a style that is firmly neo-medieval. It is the reflection of the era’s eclectic style, with a combination of Renaissance, medieval, and Gothic elements. At first, it had a mezzanine and three floors. Maximilian didn’t support it as he preferred to get rid of one of the original planned plans. When 1859 came, the Archduke then lost his position as Lombard-Veneto Kingdom’s governor and he then moved to the castle with his dear wife. After some time, he went to Brazil and grabbed the chance to catalog all the beautiful plants adorning the garden of the castle.
Maximilian then went back to his beloved home. However, he decided to leave again in 1884 and this time, he was with Carlotta. The two of them traveled to Mexico. The couple spent years of happiness living in the Miramare Castle until Maximilian’s death in Queretaro.
Sadly, this was not the only tragedy that befell the noble family. Not long after her beloved husband died, Carlotta gave clear symptoms of mental instability and lost her mind. She locked herself up inside the castle for some time before she went back to Belgium. In the meantime, a portion of the grand castle was also completed.
Curses and Ghost Stories in the Castle of Miramare
Carlotta had a blinded anger after losing her dearly loved husband to the extent that she cursed the whole castle and everyone who stayed there. What was even intriguing was that there were some victims who suffered from a fatal death within the walls of this gorgeous yet ruthless place.
After Maximilian, the archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria faced a brutal death during the infamous Sarajevo attack that was responsible for the start of the World War I.
The castle then fell into the hands of Amedeo Duca d’Aosta. He, too, died during World War II after being forced to the prison camp. The same fate was experienced by the decorated American General Charles Moor who died during the Korean War. Vernice Musgrave Mac Fadden, his colleague, has disappeared as well. The man died in a vehicular accident while heading to Livorno to go back to America.
This was then followed by the Austrian politician Friedrich Rainer who stayed in the castle during the recent war. The partisans brutally killed him.
Charmed Visitors and Friendly Ghosts
In the midst of all these nightmarish deaths, there was one story in particular that brought smiles to the faces of many tourists who have toured the Miramare Castle. Being superstitious beyond imagination, the Colonel Bowman from New Zealand believed in the curse and bloody legend. This is why he opted to sleep in his tent pitched in the castle park. He was able to save his life in spite of the curse.
There was another legend that was associated with the fairy tale but gloomy manor. This was about the ghosts of the couple Maximilian and Carlotta still haunting the walls of the castle. But, with the dedication he put into the construction of the castle, it is easier to believe that Maximilian would have been more inclined towards calmness and goodness and his only interest will be to enjoy the peace and serenity of his house.
But, at the end of the day, despite all the stories about ghosts and curses, there is no denying that the Miramare Castle still remains to be one of the key destinations in Trieste flocked and crowded by local and national tourists and visitors alike. While numerous deaths took place in the castle, its solemn charm was not lost and did not even diminish even after many centuries have passed. If you are a big fan of castles, mysteries, curses, and everything in between, then, it is time for you to visit the castle and if you are in luck, you might even stumble on a specter. Or maybe not!