Castle Miramare, called the upper Adriatic jewel of the Habsburg Empire, was built in the 1850s as a residence for the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, later the ill-fated emperor of Mexico. The castle is a lovely period piece, highlighted by the Duke’s bedroom and office that were modeled on the cabin and stern wardroom of the warship that he commanded to circumnavigate the world.
Our next stop is spectacular Trieste, one of Italy’s most impressive cities. After warring with the Republic of Venice for two centuries, Trieste, in 1382, petitioned the Habsburgs to become part of Austria, of which it remained until annexed by the Kingdom of Italy following the end of World War I, but, in a long and contorted history, did not officially and finally become a part of the Republic of Italy until 1954. Our local guide will illuminate all this and more.
Slovenia is a small, scenic country of less than 2 million inhabitants bordering Friuli. It has a dynamic culture, welcoming people and a wonderful geographical diversity. Slovenians descend from the Slav tribes that migrated to the region after the fall of the Roman Empire, passed centuries under the rule of various counts and then the Habsburgs and, finally, broke away from the former Yugoslav Federation in 1991 to form their own nation.
This afternoon we’ll visit the Lipica Stud Farm, home to the famous Lipizzaner horses since the 16th century. After a walk through the estate we’ll be treated to a performance of the Classical Riding School.
Late afternoon transfer to Ljubljana, the sparkling capital city of Slovenia. We’ll be staying three nights at Hotel Cubolocated just a short walk off the main square.
Ljubljana has the most beautiful historic center, contained within a sprawling pedestrian zone that flanks both sides of the willow-lined Ljubljanica River, with animated cafés and restaurants, magnificent Baroque buildings and bridges. This morning our local guide will proudly walk us through the old town, highlighted by the works of Slovenia’s greatest architect, Joze Plecnik, the outdoor markets, and loomed over by the Ljubljana Castle which houses a fine multi-media historical museum.
This afternoon you’ll be free to explore the winding streets and quaint shops, walk through the immense Tivoli Park, take a boat ride or just park yourself at a riverside café and watch a different version of life pass by.