The Miramare castle and park were commissioned by Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg who decided—around 1855—to build a residence worthy of his name and rank outside of Trieste, looking out to the sea and surrounded by a wide garden.
Enchanted by the harsh beauty of the Grignano promontory, a rocky outcrop almost devoid of any vegetation at the foot of the Karst with a sheer drop down to the sea, Maximilian first purchased several plots of land towards the end of 1855. On 1st March 1856 the construction of the castle began. On Christmas Eve 1860, Maximilian and his wife Charlotte of Belgium moved into the ground floor of the building. By that date, the exterior had already been completed, while the interior was only partially available, with the upper floor still being in preparation.
Designed by Austrian engineer Carl Junker, the residence features an eclectic style in accordance with the fashion of the time: Gothic, Medieval and Renaissance models combine into a remarkable blend, which recalls other examples of the great houses of the time built by noblemen in Alpine landscapes on the banks of rivers and lakes.
In the Miramare castle, Maximilian devised a perfect combination of nature and art, Mediterranean scents and austere European shapes, thus creating a unique atmosphere thanks to the presence of the sea, which gives the light blue colours to the tapestry on the ground floor of the castle, and inspires the names and furnishings of many of the rooms.
The planning of the interior decoration was entrusted to craftsmen Franz and Julius Hofmann:
the ground floor was to host Maximilian and Charlotte’s private apartments and has an intimate and familiar character, while the upper floor was set aside for their guests who couldn’t help being dazzled by the sumptuous furnishings decorated with coats of arms and by the red tapestry adorned with imperial symbols.