castello di duino castello di duino

castello di duino

"Being here is the wonder...", Rainer Maria Rilke


a unique experience

Private residence of the Princes della Torre e Tasso (von Thurn und Taxis), the Castle of Duino is open to the public since 2003. It is open daily from March to the end of October, and on weekends and public holidays during the rest of the year.

Immerse yourself in a fascinating attraction combining history, culture & breath-taking views on the Gulf of Trieste…


find out more about

  • The Castle
  • The Park
  • The Bunker
  • History
  • Rilke
Castello di Duino

The Castle

The Castle of Duino was erected during the 14th century on the ruins of a Roman military outpost and during the 17th century it began to acquire its status as a cultural and humanistic centre, one that it maintains to this day. It has hosted a number of prestigious guests: Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the Counts of Chambord, Johann Strauss, Franz Liszt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Gabriele d’Annunzio, Paul Valery or, most important of all, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who composed the first two of his famous “Duino Elegies” while staying at the Castle.

It is possible to visit more than 18 rooms of the Castle, full of testimonies telling the long history of the family of the Princes della Torre e Tasso. Not to miss: the Palladio Staircase (a masterpiece of architecture!), the 1810 forte-piano (played by Liszt!) and the stunning seascape that one has from the bastions above the sea as well as from below the Diocletian tower dating back to the 3rd century AD.

Castello di Duino

The Park

Close by the cliff top path named after the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, the park of the Castle of Duino was initially designed by Marie von Thurn und Taxis (born zu Hohenlohe, 1855-1934) and then transformed by Raimondo von Thurn und Taxis (della Torre e Tasso) in 1954.

Set up on different levels, the park displays extensive cascades of flowers of many types that form splashes of colours within the classical Mediterranean vegetation. You will be able to see many statues across the park, as well as an ancient well with the family crest. More than 21.000 flowers are planted in periodical rotation throughout the year, among which New Guinea impatiens, zinnias, begonias, ageratums (floss flowers), alyssum plants, …

Castello di Duino

The Bunker

The Bunker of the Castle of Duino has an area of 400 square metres and is 18 metres deep. It was constructed in 1943 by the forced-labour organisation TODT for the German navy to defend the naval base of Sistiana against a possible Allied attack. The Bunker was used as air-raid shelter for the people of Duino, before it was armoured with a cannon by the Germans. From 1945 to 1954, it was used by the Brits as a fuel store.

The Bunker was opened to the public by the Princes della Torre e Tasso in March 2006 to witness those tragic years.

Castello di Duino old picture


Near the Castle are the ruins of the Old Castle which dates back to the 11th century and belonged to the patriarchy of Aquileia. The Castle itself dates back to 1389, when the Wallsee family commanded the construction of a strong fortress. Over time, the Wallsee family disappeared and the Castle, after having been used as a prison, became the residence of the Hofer, Captains of Austria.

Mathias Hofer’s daughter marries Raimondo della Torre Valsassina who receives the Castle at the end of the 16th century. The Thurn-Hofer Valsassina family keeps the Castle which will officially be attributed to them by Emperor Leopold in 1660. Teresa, the last of the Thurn-Hofer Valsassina, marries Prince Egon zu Hohenlohe mid-19th century.

The Castle goes to the Thurn und Taxis family in 1875 when their daughter, Princess Marie zu Hohenlohe, marries Prince Alexander von Thurn und Taxis from the Czech branch of the House of Thurn and Taxis. It remains with the family to the present day with his great-great-grandson Prince Dimitri della Torre e Tasso, born in 1977.

The Castle and its park have been partially opened to the public since 2003.

Castello di Duino


In 1912, Austrian-Bohemian writer and poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) began to write portions of his famous work, the Duino Elegies, while visiting Duino Castle as a guest of the Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis (born Princess von Hohenlohe). While walking along the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea near the Castle, Rilke claimed to hear a voice calling to him speaking the words of the first line: “Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen? ” (“Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the hierarchies of angels?“), which he quickly wrote in his notebook. Within days, he produced drafts of the first two elegies in the series (of ten) and drafted passages and fragments that would later be incorporated into later elegies, including the opening passage of the 10th elegy.

The Duino Elegies are recognised by critics and scholars as his most important work and one of the chief transitional works between the apex of German Romanticism and Modernist poetry. They are ten intensely religious, mystical poems that weigh beauty and existential suffering. Rilke finished the work in Switzerland after a ten-year period where depression and an existential crisis rendered him unable to continue writing. Upon publication in 1922, Rilke dedicated the work to the Princess, who he esteemed as one of his greatest patrons and closest friends.


make your event unique

The Castle of Duino is a fascinating location where you can organise a gala dinner, celebrate your wedding, hold a christening or birthday party and host a conference or an art exhibition. It is available in the evening, starting at 7 p.m., with outdoor and indoor spaces that guarantee a maximum capacity of 120-130 guests in all weather conditions. You are also given the opportunity to organise concerts, theatre performances, cultural events as well as food and wine gatherings. The Castle can also be used as a location for films and photo shoots.


Currently at the Castle

outdoor in the south of France - Paul-Clément-Dambier

Paul-Clément Dambier

An exceptional selection of paintings and sculptures by the young French artist Paul-Clément is currently on display at Duino Castle.

Tempera on paper - Hand of the painter
“Magnificent castle! There are about 20 rooms to visit inside the castle with some authentic furniture and amazing collection of old musical instruments dating even back to 1500s.”

Romano M.

“Beautiful place. When you are in Duino or Sistiana, you just have to visit this castle. The place is outstanding. Also go to see the old castle ruins. The views from there are breath-taking.”

Diego P.

“Not busy nor rushed. You will see war history, art, architecture, botanicals, and not many other tourists…”


“On the edge of land and water, humanity and nature, history and eternity. It's a gorgeous, spectacular, and profoundly moving place.”

Mirco P.

“A must! Exceedingly interesting history, setting and views. Given by the King of Austria to Thurn und Taxis”

Livio G.

“Best wedding location ever! I have been here for a wedding and could not imagine a location better than this one. The view is stunning!”

Giulietta N.

“Amazing attraction and breath-taking view! Castello di Duino is a marvellous fortification from the fourteenth-century. It is a must-see attraction if you are in the region.”


“Strong musical content in a wonderful setting. This 14th century privately-owned castle is best known for its literary and musical guests, such as Mark Twain, Liszt, Strauss and particularly the poet Rilke. Well worth a visit.” .


“Excellent afternoon! Within the walls of this castle is a nice museum and many opportunities to visit the past of the people that have lived here over the centuries.”

Flavio N.



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