The starkly whitewashed Castello di Miramare perches on the tip of a promontory just north of Trieste, its wedding-cake façade glistening against sea and sky. The castle was built for Archduke Maximilian (brother of the Hapsburg emperor Franz Joseph), who lived there with his wife Carlotta until he was tragically executed while stationed in Mexico. Carlotta is said to have gone mad with grief, and the castle has since gained the reputation for cursing anyone who sleeps under its roof. Today, Miramare is open for visitors to explore the couple’s lavish apartments, all featuring the original 19th-century decorations and furnishings. Surrounding the castle are fifty-four acres of perfectly manicured gardens, complete with statues, ponds, and walking paths. From Trieste, take bus #36 to the final stop at the harbor of Grignano; from there, follow the path uphill to the castle. For a more dramatic approach, however, I recommend taking the boat from Trieste; it runs from June through September.