The History - The “Castelletto”
Parallel to the building of the Castle, Maximilian had the small Gartenhaus - also called “Castelletto” (small castle) for its exterior resemblance to the Castle - constructed in the Park.
Inhabited occasionally by Maximilian and Charlotte from 1859 to 1860, the Castelletto is situated in a panoramic area, overlooking the harbour of Grignano, preceded by a parterre surrounded by trees and a clearing in front of the greenhouses, at the centre of which there is a fountain. It is modelled on a square base with a terrace, tower and an arbour entrance, and the surviving ornamentation on the first floor is in many respects very similar to that of Maximilian’s first residence in Trieste – Villa Lazarovich, which he rented in 1852 from Nicolò Marco Lazarovich, arranging it according to his personal taste. Many furnishings of this Villa - which still exists as Via Tigor 23, located on the top of the hill of S. Vito – were brought to Miramare at Maximilian’s behest.
The Castelletto is closely linked to the tragic history of Maximilian and Charlotte. It was here, in fact, that Charlotte was locked up, on her return from Mexico with a nervous breakdown, between the end of 1866 and the beginning of 1867. It also housed part of the furnishings of the Castle of Miramare during the period of the Duke of Aosta’s residence there. Currently the Castelletto houses the seat of the Direction of the Natural Marine Reserve of Miramare.