The romantic surroundings of Trieste: the Giant Cave, Castle Miramare and the Rilke Trail
Program, details and resources
14:00 departure by bus from the Conference site
14:30-15:30 guided visit to the Giant Cave (alt.: Virgin Mary
sanctuary / sightseeing)
16:00 departure for Castle Miramare
16:30-17:30 guided visit to Castle Miramare
17:30-18:30 free strolling in the Miramare Park
18:30 departure for Sistiana
19:00-20:00 walk the Rilke Trail from Sistiana to Duino
20:00-20:30 final meeting in Duino, perhaps something to drink
20:30 departure for Trieste centre.
The Giant Cave is listed by Guinness World Records as the tourist cave with the world’s largest hall: it is said St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome could fit inside it. The visit path covers a distance of 850m, descending 100m below ground level through hundreds of steps. The path is very easy and safe but physically demanding and appropriate only for people in good physical condition. Remind to wear comfortable shoes (hiking, trekking or trail running are best) and to bring something warm: the temperature in the cave is constantly around 8°C. Alternative activities (a visit to the Virgin Mary Sanctuary in Monte Grisa and an undemanding short hike with sea view in the surroundings) are available for those who prefer not to visit the Cave.
Castle Miramare was commissioned by the Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg, brother to the Emperor Francis Joseph I, in the mid-Nineteenth Century as his personal residence. The castle is built in white stone on a once barren promontory protruding into the Gulf of Trieste, around which the Archduke, a passionate botanist, envisioned a splendid park. The castle, still in its pristine condition inside and outside, regularly features among the 20-30 most visited Italian museums next to Uffizi, Pompeii and the Coliseum. The tragic fate of Maximilian and his wife Charlotte, who never got to enjoy the beauty of their residence, and of other later inhabitants of the place adds a haunting kind of charm to the visit.
Rilke’s Trail is named after the famous Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who lived for some time in nearby Duino Castle, a guest of the Prince Thurn und Taxis. It is very high on the sea amid the Mediterranean vegetation, with spectacular views on the Gulf of Trieste. As tradition has it, these views and places inspired Rilke to write the Duino Elegies, considered by many to be his lyrical masterpiece. Again, hiking shoes or equivalent are appropriate; the Trail is very easy but the terrain is rocky and broken.
Duino houses: an enchanted small bay with restaurants by the sea, as does nearby Sistiana; whoever should feel like can book a dinner, stay for the evening and return by taxi (not included).