Planted firmly on the last rock spur of the Carso high above the Gulf of Trieste, hard by the clifftop path named after the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Castle is not just another austere stately home. An unusual case in Italy, and far more interesting, it is the living - even vibrant - residence of the princely family of Torre e Tasso. The owners have decided to open the gardens and most of their Castle home to the public for tours. The Castle is a solid composite construction dominated by a 16th-century tower which holds intact a structure whose origins go back 2,000 years, as witnessed by the commemorative stone placed there in the 3rd century to mark a visit by the Emperor Diocletian. Thanks to its natural setting and the fascination of being an old stately residence and at the same time a living home, Duino Castle is without doubt among the most attractive castles in Europe. From its clifftop location it overlooks a small fishing village which has now become a tourist centre and holiday village, and is surrounded by extensive gardens. In its interior, the furnishings, pictures, valuables, books and mementoes collected over centuries bestow a warm, elegant atmosphere on the Castle, while its gardens - with their centuries-old trees, manicured lawns, cascades of flowers and architectural features - are an invitation to relax and enjoy quiet walks. A path running through the gardens leads directly to a private beach below. The charming hospitality offered by the Princes of Torre e Tasso is well known. For centuries these walls have been a venue for discussion, consultation and study. Just as it is an honour to be received at the Castle, so departure leaves the guest with a feeling of regret, a delicate nostalgia.
The dinstance from Lignano is about 80 km, 55 minutes by car.