Archive for March 12th, 2012

Castello di Miramare and Anakin Skywalker’s Idyll

March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

 

 

Some place names are  attractive enough to be claimed by the whole world. ‘Copacabana’ is one such; ‘Tivoli’ is another (as a child I thought ‘Tivoli’ was a Bengali coinage, invented by the residents of a well-known apartment building in Calcutta).

Miramar is another such name. The word, which means ‘sea-view’,  is apparently of Spanish-Portuguese origin. But there are dozens of Miramars around the world – one of the nicest parts of Panjim, in Goa, is called Miramar.

But very few  Miramars as beautiful as the one that lies a few miles

 

 

 

 

to the south of the Castle of Duino,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in the part of the Istrian peninsula that falls in Italy.

 

It is the Castello di Miramare and it was built for a Habsburg Archduke, Ferdinand Maximilian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium.

 

 

 

 

It is a fine example of Austro-Hungarian architecture and the setting is spectacular.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The balconies are wonderfully whimsical

 

 

 

 

 

 

(they reminded me of a palace  in Star Wars I:The Phantom Menace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the setting for the young Anakin Skywalker’s idyll with Padmé Amidala, queen of the Planet Naboo).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of the Castello di Miramare carries a faint echo of Anakin Skywalker’s.

Like Anakin. the Archduke Ferdinand was not content with the great good fortune that had fallen to his lot. He accepted an invitation to become the ruler of Mexico and moved there with his wife in 1864.

 

 

 

 

His was a brief reign: in 1867 the newly-crowned Emperor was assassinated at Querataro in Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His wife returned to Castello di Miramare but slowly lost her reason. Eventually her family took her back to Belgium.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard not to wonder what she felt when she gazed on this view for the last time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the castle’s only association with the New World.

 

 

It also served as the Headquarters of the Trieste United States troops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from 1947 to 1954.

 

 

 

 

 



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