The ruins of the Old Castle that rise on the rocks at sea level and the first historical references of the old manor are by Pliny the Elder who mentions the original building, named Castellum Pucinum, built on the rugged promontory between Monfalcone and Trieste, where previously – according to tradition – there was a place of druidic worship dedicated to the Sun God. The first fortified nucleus that gave shape and life to the village was built in the 11th century.

Testimony is given by the oldest written document that deals with the fortress of Duino dated 1139, the period in which the dominion of the Tybein de Dewino (or Tybeiner) vassals of the patriarchs of Aquileia began. The place was then also called Tybein. The fiefdom was made immune to attacks by the high crenellated walls and by the view that allowed control over the arrival of enemy ships.

The fortress could be accessed by a single impervious and fortified path along the surrounding wall. The tower consisted of different floors. From the remains found, such as a lectern set in the wall near a pointed window and from the frescoes left on the lower floor, it was assumed that the latter was used as a chapel, while the upper ones served for a long time as a prison. A drawbridge was located where today the entrance to the fortress is located.

The legend of the “white lady” inspired by a white rock that, seen from the sea, looks like a female figure wrapped in a veil is linked to the old Castle of Duino. It is said that once the castle was inhabited by an evil knight who annoyed by he generous and kind heart of his wife named Esterina da Portole devised a plan to kill her. One night he drew her onto a tight set around the castle walls and threw her into the sea. The distraught and terrified woman let out a muffled scream and was petrified. It is said that from that day during the night the lady detaches herself from the rock and wanders in the castle, crossing all the rooms to the room where her child slept and remains there until dawn and then returns to the rock where her pain transforms her. back to stone.

Another legend tells that Antonia, a sweet girl who fell in love with a man who seemed a benefactor but who was actually a ruthless and cruel murderer, Giovanni Sbogar, was imprisoned in the basement of the Old Castle. Unfortunately when she found out she had been robbed and attacked by her henchmen, she went mad with grief and locked herself in a convent.

Triester tells that Dante Alighieri stayed at the Castelvecchio di Duino during the period of his exile and that some verses of the Divine Comedy were written by the poet just observing the panorama of Duino from a rock that is located between the old and new castle and for this reason reason is said: Dante’s rock. 

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