Socerb (castle)
San Servolo

13th century

On the area of long ruined fortifications on Črni Kal, Osp, in Podpeč, Kubed and other places a fortification of Socerb has preserved. It is mentioned for the first time in 13th century. Fortified edge on which castle is standing has always been a natural border between Venetian and Austrian dominions, a border that was constantly changing and where fight fight over power took place, for control of natural corridors into the hinterland and the inside of Istria. Whoever has owned Socerb could direct merchants from Carniola to Austrian Trieste or to Venetian coastal towns and Istria.
Historians presume that rocky pier where castle is located was due to its tactical-defensive and strategic position fortified from old. First written records of its owners date to 14th century when Venetian family Ducaini is mentioned. Castle was many times additionally fortified in 15th century - this was written on nowadays lost inscription plate from 1413 which historian Valvasor saw and transcribed and also archive messages from years 1472 and 1473. Border clashes and mutual conflicts of which messages were talking about, were stil active after Trieste-Venetian war in the beginning of 16th century after which Socerb became permanent property of Austria. Nobleman of Carniola, Nikolaj Rauber, got the castle as fee in 1521 and he also took over provincial court-of-law bound to Socerb dominion. But Raubers haven't dominated the castle for long. At the beginning of 17th century as castellan of Socerb Benvenuto Petazzi is mentioned, who was especially famous due to his atrocities. In 1702 archduke's chamber bought off Socerb from Petazzis and later, in 1766, sold it to family Montecuccoli from Modena, but they didn't enjoy for long because in 1780 lightning ingited the fire which destroyed the castle.
New life began for Socerb in 19th century. At the time of exoneration of peasants in 1848 Montecuccolis have sold dominion land but they remained as owners of the castle. In years 1924-1925 citizen of Trieste Demetrius de Economo renewed the castle but he mostly focused on surrounding walls whilst he removed its other remains. Thus the castle, renewed on the outside but really without much historical evidence - window frames were brought here from Orlandini house in Koper - lived to see the present day. Between the last war partisans were fighting on positions around the castle and in 1944 the building was seat of VOS (Security-Intelligence Service) and people's court. Those time have fortunately passed by and the castle with its magical location attracts always new visitors.

A restaurant is active on the castle which - judging by testimonies of internet - customers always leave satisfied. But I am not completely sure if restaurant actually is still in operation because at the time only refreshments are mentioned in connection with the castle.

According to Christian legend the name Socerb is derived from the Latin name of Roman-Christian martyr Socerb (Sanctus Servilus), who was hidden in nearby Karst cave (Sveta jama - "Holly Cave" - saints sanctuary) for nearly two years before he was discovered and later killed by his pursuers.

Because the castle was was closed at the time of my visit I will ad photos of the interior on another occasion.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Gradovi na Slovenskem", Cankarjeva založba, 1987, ISBN 86-361-0280-4
Contact details:
Milan Graj
Socerb 7
6275 Črni Kal - Socerb

Rezervacije - Prenotazione
Tel: +386 (0)5 65 92 303
Gsm: +386 (0)41 571 544


Working hours: Daily: 18:00 - 22:00,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12:00 - 22:00,
Monday: closed
Web links:
Restaurant Socerb castle
Castles of Slovenia - Socerb
Socerb castle (
Sveta jama - Holly cave
Shows and entertainment:
Restaurant or refreshments, cultural events, viewpoint,... Holly cave is open for visitors every Sunday at 14.00.
GPS coordinates:
N 45° 35.380' E 13° 51.642'


Road leads right to foot of the castle
Window with pier
View from steep to narrow staircase
Some constructions on slope
As in old times the access to the castle is only possible by narrow stairs, hewed in rock, which gives a special romantic touch to the castle
Very unusual working hours, but for sure inappropriate for visitors of the castle
Panoramic view of Trieste from viewpoint
Socerb castle, Janez Vajkard Valvasor: Topographia of modern Ducky of Carniola,1679
Socerb castle, Janez Vajkard Valvasor: Topographia of modern Ducky of Carniola,1679