The castle of Duino is located in Duino-Aurisina in the province of Trieste. The castle is perched on a cliff overlooking the Gulf of Trieste. The manor is known for its magnificent architecture and its rich collections.
It has been owned for over 420 years by the Della Torre family, first the Della Torre di Valsassina branch (von Thurn-Hofer und Valsassina) and then the Della Torre and Tasso dukes. Since 2003 it is – together with its park – open to the public.
The castle was built on the ruins of a Roman outpost and incorporates a 16th-century tower.
It was built in 1389 by Ugone di Duino, captain of Trieste, as a replacement for the 10th-century Castelvecchio, the ruins of which are still visible on a rocky spur overlooking the sea.
After Ugone’s death, the castle was inherited by Ramberto di Walsee, the brother of his first wife, who oversaw its completion in the first decades of the 15th century.
In 1912, Austrian-Bohemian writer and poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) began to write Duino Elegies while visiting Duino Castle as a guest of the Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis (born Princess of Hohenlohe). Rilke later dedicated his work to the noblewoman, who was one of his greatest supporters.
In memory of his stay in the castle, a scenic walkway – the Rilke Trail – about 2 kilometers long was named after the poet.
The castle is also associated with the legend of the White Lady, the wife of one of the lords of the manor, who was thrown into the sea and then transformed into the rock that can be seen today in the bay facing the coast.
Featured image: Franz Xaver