Miramare Castle is a 19th-century castle direct on the Gulf of Trieste between Barcola and Grignano in Trieste, northeastern Italy.
It was built from 1856 to 1860 for Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium, later Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota of Mexico, based on a design by Carl Junker.
The castle’s grounds include an extensive cliff and seashore park of 22 hectares (54 acres) designed by the archduke. The grounds were completely re-landscaped to feature numerous tropical species of trees and plants.
Miramare Castle and its park were built by order of Ferdinand Maximilian (1832–1867), of the House of Habsburg – younger brother of Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria. In 1850, at the age of eighteen, Maximilian came to Trieste with his brother Charles and, immediately afterwards, he set off on a short cruise toward the Near East.
This journey confirmed his intention to sail and to get to know the world. In 1852 he was appointed an officer and in 1854 he became Commander in Chief of the Imperial Navy. He decided to move to Trieste and to have a home built facing the sea and surrounded by a park worthy of his name and rank.
According to tradition, when the archduke was caught in a sudden storm in the Gulf, he took shelter in the little harbour of Grignano and he chose that bare rocky spur of limestone origin as the setting for his home.
The whole complex, purchased for the first time at the beginning of March 1856, was called Miramar, possibly after the name of Prince Ferdinand of Saxony’s residence in Pena, Portugal.