Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Afternoon in a Castle Garden

We had several hours to kill in Trieste before boarding our bus to Rovinj.  First, we would take the tram to Opicina and walk through the park we had enjoyed so much on an earlier visit.  Then it would be time for lunch and after a quick walk around town, time for the bus.  Only one problem.  The tram was out of service.  New idea:  We would go to our favorite piazza and sulk.  Off we went to the Piazza Unita d'Italia.

When we were here before this monument was shrouded in scaffolding.  It was nice to see it all clean and repaired.

I am totally intrigued by veiled faces in marble.  How on earth do they do that?

After coffee and breakfast sandwiches and some time to think, we had a new plan.  Castello Miramare.

You may remember Archduke Maximilian from your study of Mexican history.  He and his consort Carlota ruled in Mexico briefly.  Prior to that, he lived for a time in Trieste where he built Castello Miramare.

The castle was somewhat of a disappointment.  We toured all the rooms and quite frankly the most interesting thing we found in the decor were the inlaid wooden floors.  They were exquisite!  The furniture was heavy and dark.  The chandeliers were heavy Venetian glass.  The drapery was heavy velvet.  In other words, it was heavy!  Very heavy!

One happy surprise:
an exhibition of three paintings by Lucas Cranach, the Elder. The other art displays in the castle were less than inspiring; the book shop was overpriced; and most grievous of all - no photographs of anything were permitted.

But enough of my complaints.  The garden was fantastic!  Even with the drought that has plagued this part of the country, the effects of time and weather, and the wear and tear of the many tourists who visit every year - it remains a small wonder.  The following are some of my photos.

I don't have much respect for Maximilian, but we need to give credit where credit is due:  the man did have a knack for making beautiful gardens and choosing lovely spots for them.  We visited another of his hideaways on the island of Lokrum outside Dubrovnik.  Pictures and details are on the web at and