A beautiful mid-19th century castle in the north-east of Italy may be responsible for cursing an entire European dynasty, and may even be held indirectly responsible for the start of World War One. The Curse has it that anyone who sleeps in the place will die a violent death in a far country, and that was the grim fate which befell many of its occupants.
The Victorian era was a notable one for extravagant building projects. It wasn’t unknown for aristocrats and tycoons to build grandiose dwelling-places for themselves, usually in a style which harkened back to a romanticised view of the Middle Ages or an elusive Arthurian era. Those stern, forbidding Victorians were keen romantics at heart, and the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was no exception.
It is said that Ferdinand fell in love with the area, near Trieste, after sheltering there during a storm. He chose to…
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