Duino the small town in Northern Italy and its rich history

Duino FVG

View over Duino from the tower of the New Castle.

Duino is a small town in the northeast of Italy, on the road between Monfalcone and Trieste, where writers such as Hemingway, Rilke, and Joyce have found inspiration in this outlying region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. People who know it are happy to head here for a cultural experience, surrounded by fascinating wild landscapes and countless sights, wrapped in an Italian-Slovenian-Austrian-Croatian mashup.

The ancient seaside village of Duino/Devin (Duin called in Trieste, Devin in Slovenian, and Tybein in German) is composed of the romantic ruins and myths of the old castle and the beautiful new castle, rising majestically on the rocky panoramic coast overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Although Duino’s existence throughout the centuries is among these two castles, some archaeological findings indicate the presence of a settlement as early as the Late Copper Age.

And here, I will tell you more about the history, nature, and legends of Duino-Aurissina.

The land of Duino has been inhabited since ancient times, attested by the finds of various pre-Roman peoples such as the Eugani, Venetti, and Histri in Riparo di Visogliano and Caverna Romana. With the foundation of the colony of Aquileia, traces of the period of Roman domination appear in the area. This period was significant for the region’s economic development, as it was at this time that the Cava Romana (Roman cave) was discovered, the port, and the development of viticulture. In addition, Marble quarried from the Aurisina quarry was used to build the Aquileia and many Roman monuments in Ravenna.

The Barbarian invasion: The low hills of the Alps in this region (Karst Alps and the Julian Alps or Dinaric Alps) represented the ideal gateway for the Barbarians to enter Italy, which also significantly impacted the region’s history.

Then, the city’s history continues with the events during the Abbey of San Giovanni al Timavo or Tuba and the Castle of Duino. Duino’s domination dates back as early as 1211, as evidenced by the documents of the Peace of Timavo, which mention his name. Then, it passes to vassals of the Patriarch of Aquileia, the Margrave of Istria, and finally to the captains of the Counts of Gorizia. By 1366, the Duenas family had converged with the Habsburgs and, in 1395, were replaced by the Vassals. Finally, in 1587, the dominion passed to the Milanese della Torre di Valsassina.

As early as 1423, Venice and the Ottoman Empire began fighting each other for control of the Aegean, Ionian, and Adriatic seas. The battles culminated in 8 wars, reaching as far as Northern Italy and ending with Venice seeking peace in 1503. The Castle of Duino (the old castle) was destroyed and remained in ruins during this time.

Then, in 1857 was build the railway line from Vienna to Trieste was constructed, and the Duino-Aurissina area became an important hub for Italy’s traffic with Central Europe, which led to the revival of the marble quarry and the resurrection of the economy in the area. Then World War I broke out, during which the Mount Hermada area was the scene of heavy fighting, such as at Isonzo between Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops.

The municipality of Duino-Aurissina was created in 1928 by the merger of five then-existing cities. During the Second World War, the municipality passed under various dominoes until, on 26 October 1954, it rejoined by the Italian Republic.

However, given that Duino-Aurissina is on the border with Slovenia and Austria, the local population is a mix of nationalities, such as Slovenes, Austrians, and Italians. Signposts and road signs in the area are bilingual in Italian and Slovenian.

Since we have covered the history of Duino through the ages, here are some nearby attractions that you might be interested in visiting:

  1. The old and the new castle

Duino castello vecchio

The old and the new castle

2. The Rilke Trail

The Rilke Trail

3. The Church of San Giovanni in Tubo and the mouth of the river Timavo

The Church of San Giovanni in Tubo and the mouth of the river Timavo

4. The Great Cave

The Great Cave

5. Antonio the Dinosaur and the Museum of Natural History in Trieste

6. The Castle of Miramar in Trieste

The Castle of Miramar in Trieste

I will cover each place in detail in my next posts .

Duino is a favorite place for many tourists because of its rich history and sights; Duino is also home to the United World College of the Adriatic (Collegio del Mondo Unito dell Adriatico ONLUS), which educates students from over 180 countries and nationalities.

Accommodation options include nine hotels, six B&Bs, and a couple of residences. Places Dining venues ranging from a small pizzeria with delicious oven-to-go pizza in downtown Duino to restaurants with traditional and gourmet dishes.

The Friuli-Venetia-Giulia area is famous for its traditional meat and fish dishes, some of which infusions from Austro-Slovenian cuisine, the most delicious prosciutto and cheeses, and a wide selection of outstanding Wines from the countless wineries in the area.

How to get to Duino: If you plan to travel by plane, the nearest airport is Trieste, which is located near Monfalcone. Bus G51 stops at the airport and will take you to Duino; the final stop of this suburban bus is Trieste’s Piazza Liberty and back. If you are staying in Trieste, you can reach Duino by public bus N 44, which departs from Piazza Oberdan.

Duino main square 

Regards from Duino XOXO







Svetlana Hristova

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