Due to its excellent strategic location, Socerb Castle was already an important stronghold in Illyrian times, while in the Middle Ages, it became a mighty and well-fortified castle controlling the Trieste hinterlands and the commercial routes between Carniola and the coast. The castle has an exceptionally rich and turbulent history that can be traced from the Early Middle Ages to 1780 when it was struck by lightning, rendering it uninhabitable. Its important strategic position made it a cause of fights between the Venetians, Trieste and the Habsburg Monarchy. It was owned by the Venetians from 1463 to 1511 when it was an important stronghold serving as defence against the Turks and Imperial Austria in the Austro-Venetian wars from the early 16th century.
In the early 17th century, during the Uskok War (1615-1617), the Castle was owned by Benvenuto Petazzi, a nobleman from Trieste. The Counts of Petazzi kept their sway over Socerb until 1688, when they returned it to the Archducal Chamber in Graz and moved to Žavlje. In the first half of the 18th century, the Socerb Seigniory came under the Marquises de Priè and was bought in 1768 by the Counts Montecuccoli from Modena who kept it even after releasing the peasants in 1848.
The results of a fire caused by lightning in 1780 caused the castle to slowly start deteriorating in the 19th century. The castle ruins and the nearby cave were described by Count Giroloamo Agapito in 1823 and painted by August Tischbein in 1842. The dilapidated castle was bought in 1907 by Demetrio Economo, a Trieste Baron, who refurbished it in 1923-1924 concentrating mainly on restoring the surrounding walls whilst other remains were removed.
During the national liberation war, the castle’s excellent strategic position made it important for both the partisans, who used it as the seat of the VOS (Security-Intelligence Service), and the people’s court, as well as for German units who occupied it in autumn of 1944, making it a fortified stronghold. The castle was refurbished after the war and today serves as a popular excursion destination with its natural and cultural sights offering food and services to tourists.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.