Once again in the morning we enjoyed a free buffet breakfast. As we were leaving, I noticed something nestled in a niche in the restaurant that confirmed anew we are not alone in our love of certain animal species. A friendly employee waved us off, and we headed to the Castello di Duino.
Built on the ruins of a Roman outpost, the castle’s construction was commissioned in 1389 by Hugh Duino (a captain from the local province of Trieste) to replace Castelvecchio, which as its name indicates was even older, dating from the tenth century. It can be seen in the background on the rocky outcrop in the photo below.
The “new” castle has a rich history. It has been owned for over 420 years by the Della
Torre family, a branch of von Thurn und Valsassina-Hofer, one of whose descendants married into the legendary von Thurn und Taxis dynasty. Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the Duino Elegies here, his best known work among English language readers. The Castello is famous for its collection of musical instruments, one of which is pictured below. Of special note was an elegant spiral staircase.
Although the family is still in residence, since 2003, portions of the Castello are open to the public, along with its park, complete with a World War II bunker.
Following our visit we had a picnic lunch in the car as we drove within twenty kilometers of Venice to Bologna. After the bucolic surroundings of Sistiana/Trieste, we experienced some serious sensory shock. Driving and parking regulations abounded, as did one way streets and traffic. Leaving our car in a garage near the train station, we began walking, passing very few people, but many graffiti-covered buildings.
Our map indicated we were heading toward a main drag, Via del Monte. Lined with restaurants and clothing stores, it unfortunately had the feel of 42nd Street in New York before it underwent gentrification. We peeked into St. Peter’s cathedral, where a service honoring Mary was in progress.
Anxious to leave the crowded city, we grabbed a quick espresso before we sadly took some wrong turns. It was hot, the streets unclean, and the garage had obviously relocated itself in the past couple of hours. One highlight, however, was a tiny store tucked away almost out of sight on a side street. Inside Atrium Bacchus, the genial proprietor offered red and white wines (“prodotti tipici di Pantelleria”) from huge vats, which, upon our selection, she poured into plastic water bottles. What a concept! We were pleased with our frugal purchase, but even more pleased when we found our car and left Bologna to the Bolognese.
(Castello di Duino, srl – 34011 Duino-Aurisina Trieste, Italy. Tel. +39 040 208120 – www.castellodiduino.it; email: firstname.lastname@example.org) (Atrium Bacchus, 9811; Via del Borgo di San Pietro 4/A Bologna. Tel. 333103 email: email@example.com.