The castle dates back to 1389, when the Wallsee family commanded the construction of a strong fortress. Over time, the Wallsee family disappeared and the castle, after having been used as a prison, became the residence of the Luogar and Hofer. At the end of the 19th century it became the property of Prince Alexander Johann Vincenz Rudolf Hugo Karl Lamoral Eligius von Thurn und Taxis from the Czech branch of the House of Thurn and Taxis. It remains with the family to this day with his great-grandson Prince Carlo Alessandro della Torre e Tasso, Duke of Castel Duino the current owner. The castle has been opened to the public as a museum and park.
The writer and poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the Duino Elegies in the castle while visiting the Princess Maria della Torre e Tasso (born Princess of Hohenlohe). Rilke subsequently devoted his work to the princess, who was one of his biggest patrons.
Near the castle are the ruins of the Old Castle which dates back to the 11th century. It belonged to the patriarchy of Aquileia.