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This vision of gleaming white turrets looms over the coast north of the city, 7km (4 1/4 miles) from the center. Archduke Maximilian, brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, built this castle in the late 1850s when he was sent to Trieste to command the Austrian Navy. The interior reflects the somewhat insipid royal taste of the day, with room after room of gilt and velvet. Far more romantic are the adjoining gardens, where oaks, firs, and cypresses sway in sea breezes. Alluring, too, is the legend that those who sleep in the castle will meet a violent end, a belief to which history has given some credence -- the same Maximilian went to Mexico in 1864 to assume the brief role of emperor and was shot there in 1867; Archduke Ferdinand spent the night here before journeying to Sarajevo, where he was assassinated on the eve of World War I; and a later owner, Duke Amadeo of Austria, was also assassinated in 1938.

For sheer theatrics in such a theatrical setting, you can attend one of the campy sound-and-light shows in July and August. They depict Maximilian's final days in Mexico and are staged Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 9:30 and 10:45pm; tickets begin at 10€.