The 20 best sights of Trieste – descriptions and photos

Trieste

Trieste (Italy) – the most detailed information about the city with photos and videos. The main sights of Trieste with descriptions in the guide with a map.

City of Trieste (Italy).

Trieste – a city in the north-east of Italy, located on the Adriatic Sea near the border with Slovenia. It is the capital of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and a major seaport. Trieste in its atmosphere and architecture is quite different from most Italian cities. And it is not surprising because this city became part of Italy only in the second half of the 20th century. Before that for more than five centuries belonged to Austria.

Trieste is rich in neoclassical, baroque, art nouveau architecture, which is so appropriate in Vienna and Salzburg, but looks very contrasting in Italy. The city, despite its ancient origins, has a modern layout, wide streets and spacious squares, combining in interesting ways the cultural traditions of East and West, as well as ancient history and modernity.

Things to do (Trieste):

Trieste: Italian, Austrian and Slovenian

€130 per tour.

Trieste: Italian, Austrian and Slovenian.

Admire the architectural diversity and learn about the city’s rich history and traditions

Miramare. Looking out to sea

€110 per excursion

Miramare. Exploring the sea

A tour of a beautiful medieval castle and the dramatic history of its titled owners

Geography and climate

The city is nestled along the perimeter of the Gulf of Trieste in the northwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula, 120 km from Venice. The territory of Trieste is mostly rather hilly. From the top of the city’s hills one can enjoy beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea.

Trieste

Trieste. Grand Canal

The importance of Trieste determined that the city was a bridge between Western, Central and Southern Europe.

The climate of the city is Mediterranean. Summers are usually dry and quite hot, winters are mild, foggy and windy.

Information for tourists

  1. Population – more than 200 thousand people
  2. Area – 84.5 km²
  3. Language – Italian
  4. Currency – Euro
  5. Visa – Schengen
  6. Time – UTC+1, in summer UTC+2

*The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is officially quadilingual. Italian, Slovenian, Friulian and German are spoken here. Most signage in Trieste, of course, is written only in Italian.

History

The area around Trieste was inhabited in ancient times. Istrian tribes and ancient Venetians settled here in the 10th century BC. In the early Roman period a military camp was founded here on the border with the Celtic possessions. The history of the city starts in the 1st century BC. Trieste was mentioned by Caesar himself, and under Emperor Octavian the first city fortifications were built.

With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Trieste went through a period of severe decline, becoming a small fishing village. In the early Middle Ages it was under the control of the Byzantine Empire until the end of the 8th century. Then it was subdued by the Franks. Thanks to its fortunate location, the port city flourished in the Middle Ages and a real fight broke out between the Republic of Venice and the Habsburgs over it. It was eventually won by Austria. Trieste was in fact an Austrian city from the end of the 14th century until the end of World War I.

Architecture of Trieste

The architecture of Trieste

Trieste reached its peak of prosperity in the 18th century, when it received the status of a free city, as well as the unofficial title of “Gate of the Adriatic”, displacing Venice from this title. Also during this period, the city was a fashionable resort of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Trieste and the territories to the north of it passed to Italy in 1954. It is now a major tourist, educational, and industrial center. It is a city with a rich and interesting history and many attractions. Its port is today the largest and most important in Italy and one of the largest in Europe.

How to get there

Trieste has an international airport which is situated 33 km north of the city center. There are flights from Munich, London and Belgrade. Trieste also has regular air and rail connections to Rome, Milan and Genoa. You can get here by bus from Maribor and Ljubljana, and by ferry from the Greek cities of Igoumenitsa and Patra.

Attractions

The main sights of Trieste are the Unity Square, the hill of San Giusto, the ruins of the Roman theater, the Grand Canal and Miramare Castle.

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Arc de Triomphe Riccardo

Arc de Triomphe Riccardo

Arc de Triomphe Riccardo

The Arch of Riccardo is a small triumphal arch built in the 1st century AD during the time of Emperor Octavian Augustus. The arch is just over 7 meters high and 5.3 meters wide.

The Arch of Riccardo is the oldest monument of Roman origin preserved in Trieste. Although the structure is quite similar to the triumphal arches that the Romans erected in honor of their victories, it is actually a monumental gate of the city walls, built around 50 BC. The walls were torn down in the first century A.D. so as not to inhibit the development of the city, and this beautiful gate remained intact as a triumphal arch.

Basilica of St. Sylvester

Basilica of St. Sylvester

St. Sylvester Basilica

Basilica of St. Sylvester (Saint Silvestro) is one of the oldest churches in Trieste, built in the 11th – 12th century. It is a simple stone Romanesque building with a bell tower, which was probably the old watchtower of the city wall.

Grand Canal

Grand Canal

Grand Canal

The Grand Canal (Canal Grande di Trieste) is a navigable canal in the heart of the historic center of the city, a kind of “little Venice”. It was built in the second half of the 18th century for the loading and unloading of ships. It is a long harbor of 200 m, through which currently three bridges are built. At one time the big canal was used by sailing ships, but now it is full of small boats. It is one of the most atmospheric places in Trieste, surrounded by beautiful buildings and many cafes.

Church of San Antonio

Church of San Antonio

The large canal was once longer, but then part of it was filled in to make a square, on which rises Trieste’s largest church, San Antonio, built in 1849 in the neoclassical style.

Church of St. Spiridon

Church of St. Spiridon

To the right of the square is the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Spiridion, built in 1868 and reminiscent of Eastern churches in Byzantine style. In addition to the frescoes and paintings in the iconostasis, it contains four prominent Russian icons from the early 19th century, covered in gold and silver.

Miramare Castle

Miramare Castle

Miramare Castle

Miramare Castle (Castel de Mìramar) – a fairy-tale English-style castle located on a picturesque promontory on the Adriatic Sea about 15 minutes northwest of Trieste in the small village of Grignano. It is one of the highlights of the city and was built in the second half of the 19th century by Archduke Maximilian of Austria.

The castle has luxurious interiors and is surrounded by a large park of about 22 hectares, in which a great variety of plants can be seen. The Archduke himself brought back some of the plant species from his voyage around the world as an admiral in the Austro-Hungarian navy.

San Giusto Castle

San Giusto Castle

San Giusto Castle

The crowning glory of the hill of San Giusto is the ancient castle of the same name, built by the Habsburgs in the 15th and 17th centuries to expand the medieval Venetian fortress that had replaced the early Roman fortifications. A wooden drawbridge across a narrow moat leads to the castle.

Here one can climb the castle walls, from where one has an excellent view of the city, the Gulf of Trieste and the surrounding hills. Inside the castle, weapons from the Middle Ages to the 19th century are on display, as well as antique furniture, tapestries and over 130 Roman stone artifacts, including statues from the amphitheater.

Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria Maggiore

On the way to the castle, you can see the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which was built by the Jesuits in the 17th century and has a beautiful Baroque interior.

Harbor

Harbor

Harbor

The harbor is the main landmark and one of the symbols of Trieste’s prosperity. The city stretches around it like an amphitheater, with the harbor as its stage. Wide boulevards run along the coastal part of Trieste, connecting the four piers and the long breakwater of the old port of Franco Vecchio in the north with the new port of Franco Nuovo and the large shipyards in the south of the city.

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Trieste is a city with a rich seafaring history. For hundreds of years it was home to a huge maritime and commercial port. The city’s naval history is reflected in the Maritime Museum, where you can see magnificent ship models, many of which are works of art in their own right. A large part of this collection consists of sailing ships and fishing vessels that have been plying the waters of the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas for centuries. In addition to beautifully crafted models of sailing ships, there are also carefully crafted models of some prestigious cruise ships.

Unity Square Italy

Unity Square

Unity Square Italy

Piazza Unita Italia (Piazza Unità Italia) is an imposing square in the old part of Trieste and the largest square by the sea in Europe. It is located at the foot of the San Giusto hill and faces the harbor. The square has a strict rectangular shape and one side rests on the Bay of Trieste.

Not far from the square is the Molo Audace (Bold). The square has a stone paved promenade which juts into the sea for about 300 meters, allowing tourists and locals to admire the coastal scenery of Trieste and even swim in the sea.

The square is surrounded by magnificent palaces and public buildings, which form a beautiful architectural ensemble: on the north side there is the palazzo del Governo of the early 20th century, on the south side the massive Palazzo Triestino of 1882, and on the east side is the beautiful town hall of 1876.

The square also features the Four Continents Fountain (Fontana dei Quattro Continenti), which was made in the mid-18th century. The sculptural composition presents four allegorical sculptures that recall the features of people who lived in the continents known at the time (Europe, Asia, Africa and America).

Roman theater

Roman Theater

Roman theater

The Roman theater (Teatro romano di Trieste) is an ancient ruin located at the foot of the hill of San Giusto. The construction of this structure dates back to the 1st century AD. The theater uses the hillside as its base and the upper steps and stage were probably wooden. This ancient cultural monument could seat up to 6,000 spectators and was considered lost for many centuries. It was discovered in 1814 during excavations. Today, the theater is sometimes used for concerts.

San Giusto Cathedral

San Giusto Cathedral

San Giusto Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Giusto (basilica cattedrale di San Giusto) is the cathedral and the main Catholic structure of Trieste. The church is located on the hill of the same name and is one of the oldest buildings of the city. It takes its present form after two former churches (of the 6th and 11th centuries), Santa Maria and San Giusto, were united in the first half of the 14th century. It was given the status of a basilica in 1899. The building has a severe Romanesque façade by Cremona craftsmen. The interior of the basilica contains unique ancient frescos and mosaics.

In the cathedral there are the tombs of eight pretenders to the Spanish throne from the house of Bourbon. Outside you can see the remains of a 2nd century AD Roman forum and a 1st century AD temple.

Revoltella Museum

City Museum Revoltella

Revoltella City Museum

At the corner of Piazza Venezia is the Museo Revoltella, one of Italy’s largest modern art museums with more than a thousand paintings and hundreds of sculptures, as well as prints and drawings. Its collections include works by almost all the most important masters of 20th-century Italian art.

Piazza della Borsa

Piazza della Borsa

Piazza della Borsa

Piazza della Borsa is a beautiful square that was actually the economic center of the city in the 19th century. The most interesting structure on it is the building of the Chamber of Commerce, which has a beautiful façade with columns and a decorative marble pediment.

Sistiana Bay

Sistiana Bay

Sistiana Bay

About 20 minutes west of Trieste is the charming town of Sistiana, a coastal resort with a picturesque semicircular harbor with clear turquoise water and several beautiful beaches. Several hotels have been built here and there is a good selection of bars, restaurants and tourist stores.

Interesting excursions

The sweet secret of Trieste

€130 per tour.

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The sweet secret of Trieste

Taste the city’s typical sweets and hear incredible love stories

20 Interesting Sights of Trieste in Italy

Sights of Trieste

In this article I want to tell you about Trieste – an old port city in Italy and its sights that are worth seeing. It has combined the heritage of different times and peoples, which greatly influenced the culture and beauty of the town. The city is suitable for bargain shopping, relaxing on a warm beach, historians of World War I and fans of art and beautiful places.

What to see in Trieste in one day

On the first day it’s worth going to Unity Square – after all, it’s the largest square in Europe. From there it is very easy to get to the Cathedral of San Giusto, the Lutheran Church, St. Giovanni Park, the Rose Garden, the Grande Canal, the Sea Aquarium, and the Basilica of St. Silvestre. From the museums we can visit the Department of History and Art, Oriental Art, the Risorgimento, the Military Museum, the Museum of Civilization of Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia and the Giuseppe Verdi theater.

On the second day you can take a route to the remote corners of the town – visit the Miramare fortress and the Victory Lighthouse, get into the city cave in the north and visit the military museum and the Revoltella complex.

Undoubtedly, the first thing to see is castles and palaces.

The first thing to see is undoubtedly the castles and palaces.

On the third day you can just shop in the city – buy real Italian coffee, handmade of the past centuries in the flea market and in the Borgo Teressiano, visit the shopping center Le Torri D’Europa.

Beautiful places for a photo session

Since the city is old, its architecture does not leave anyone indifferent – Unity Square, Victory Lighthouse, Miramare Castle will serve as an ideal backdrop for photo shoots. And in the sea aquarium you can create a photo album of its inhabitants.

Where to relax in the countryside

The Val Rosandra Valley will serve as the perfect place to picnic and get away from nature. You don’t have to climb the cliffs or run around the valley. For lovers of the resort, it’s worth going to Le Genestre beach. For 35 euros you will be offered an umbrella and sun loungers, and you can eat in local cafes.

Do not forget that Trieste, is also a beach resort

Do not forget that Trieste, is also a beach resort.

If you are traveling by car towards Milan, be sure to stop in Venice with its beautiful canals at least for a day.

Teatro Giuseppe Verdi

The Teatro Giuseppe Verdi has a capacity of 1,300 visitors. The theater has its own dance company, choir and music orchestra. Furthermore, the sets and costumes for the performances are also made in the theater’s own workshop. The repertoire includes orchestral, opera and ballet performances.

Museum of the Civilization of Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia

The Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia Museum of Civilization consists of three buildings. Its first floor is the reception and archives. The second and third floor consists of exhibitions of events, objects and victims of the Second World War. The main objective of the museum is to recreate the history of the three cities, linked by the past. The Istrian peninsula and the areas of Fiume and Dalmatia were once part of Italy, but later became part of Croatia and Montenegro. This was the reason for the creation of the museum.

San Silvestro Basilica

The oldest fortress of Trieste, the center of the Swiss and Walden community, which dates back to the XI-XII centuries. In 1875, several members of the Protestant community bought the church, restored it and reopened it for services. It is now used for religious services and musical events. Inside the church are eight hundred year old frescoes. They recount the life of Constantine the Great, the first Roman emperor.

Evangelical Lutheran Church

The main church of the Evangelical Augustinian congregation, elevated in 1870 to a height of 50 meters. The church is built in the Neo-Gothic style and the famous “Transfiguration” of Raphaello is depicted above the main altar inside the church. Swiss Protestants once bought this church and opened it for services, restoring its exterior. On Sundays, the church holds services in German and Italian, the official languages of the Lutheran Church.

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San Giusto Cathedral

Built on the remains of two temples that are over 1,500 years old, on the highest point of Trieste – on a hill. There are tombstones in the courtyard, and in addition to the cathedral itself, there are a basilica, a chapel and 2 temples on the site. The temple is open every day and on Sundays it is open until noon. The cathedral was built for 68 years, and in its walls were hidden treasures, some of which were stolen in 1894. Nine members of the Italian royal family are buried within its walls.

Revoltella Museum

The Museo Revoltella is an important modern art gallery from Baron Pasquale Revoltella’s own collections, which were bequeathed to the city. The 6 floors of the museum exhibit works of more than 350 paintings and sculptures from 200 years ago. Each floor of the museum exhibits a different time period piece. The museum is not open on Tuesdays. Other days are from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Museum of Oriental Art

The first museum devoted to Oriental art in its region, which opened in 2001 after renovation. The four-story museum stands near the Piazza della Unification of Italy. Each of its floors, except for the ground floor, is divided into sections, which exhibit products, weapons and objects of antiquity of Japan and China, Indian sculptures, engravings and paintings. New Year is celebrated here according to the Chinese and Japanese calendar. There are master classes for children.

Risorgimento Museum

Named after the unification of Italy. It was built on the site of the execution of Gugliemo Oberdan, a martyr of the Trieste movement. Nearby is built a monument to Oberdan. In the inner six rooms, in chronological order, are exhibited documents, photos and things related to the war of unification with Italy, in which Oberdan himself was actively involved. Most of the items were on display through donations from local residents and Oberdan’s mother.

Museum of History and Art

The Museum of History and Art and the Memorial Garden is located in Piazza della Cattedrale. It displays exhibits from ancient Egypt, ancient Aquileia and the Mediterranean, the Bronze and Iron Ages. Inside are amulets, fragments of papyrus, small pyramids, canopies and statues of ancient gods. Special attention should be paid to the silver vessel made from the horn of Faun. In the garden you can see the neoclassicism of Antonio Bossa, ancient Roman exhibits and urban monuments of antiquity and modernity of Istria, Aquileia and Tergeste.

Val Rosandra Valley

The Val Rosandra valley, named after the river, is also called the Glinschitze valley. It is a nature reserve and a favorite training place for rock climbers. The view here is very picturesque. The place is rather good for hiking rather than rest and excursions. Throughout the valley, you can see the buildings of the Roman Empire, and if you want to get in the old villages of this area, which bordered Slovenia.

Pedocin Beach

It is not a landmark, but the separated beach will prove to be an interesting novelty. The beach was built in 1903 and was temporarily closed. Now it works round and has no common area for swimming, so women and men swim here separately, separated by a long partition. The basic rule is monitored by the local beach guards. The ticket to the beach costs 1 euro. Because of the rocky soles in the sea is worth coming with slippers of rubber material.

Diego de Henriques Military Museum

Was created from rarities of the World Wars collected by Diego after his death, in 1974. In addition, the museum narrates the biography of Enríquez himself. Its three floors contain 38,000 diary entries, 28,000 photographs, 470 maps, 150 paintings, 500 prints and 15,000 artifacts and 2,600 leaflets. On the first floor are exhibits of the First World War, and on the second – the weapons of the wars of the last century in general. The exhibits include military vehicles, howitzers, cannons, armor, and other equipment and weapons.

Grotta Gigante Cave

Also called Riesengrote or Grotta di Brichacchi has been operating for 110 years. It is explored and guided tours are available for 45 minutes. Its stalactites and stalagmites are artificially illuminated. The cave has two of the world’s largest pendulums with an approximate height of 100 meters and is included in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest tourist cave until 2010. Because of the great depth and the long hike, the elderly are not advised to visit the cave.

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Risiera di San Sabba

One of the darkest sights in the town. It was built 105 years ago to process rice, but later played the role of a concentration camp. Now the landmark has been declared a museum. The buildings of the camp look quite intimidating. Inside there are clothes, belongings, and excerpts of prisoners’ diaries, photographs, and sculptural forms arranged for display. The museum is open every day from 09:00 to 19:00.

Aquarium of the Sea

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. except on Wednesdays. See rays, sharks, crustaceans, turtles, clams and even penguins and reptiles. The aquarium consists of two floors – the first floor holds the large inhabitants, and the second floor is for smaller animals. Reptiles, of course, are in another department. The total water capacity of the pool is 10 tons. The water is constantly changed with water straight from the morass, so as not to disturb the plankton.

Castello di Miramare.

A nineteenth century castle built near Trieste by order of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian. The structure is surrounded by a park of 22 hectares with cypresses, pines, spruces and other trees of various origin. The castle itself includes bedrooms, offices, bathrooms, throne room and guest rooms. The best time to visit it is between 08:00 and 17:00. The ticket costs 4 euros. According to legend, its owner was waiting out a storm in the bay, during which time he looked out for this ledge to build.

Grande Canal

Used to be an important commercial center of Trieste. It was once divided by three bridges, of which only one has survived. Later another pedestrian bridge was built. Also on its territory is a monument to James Joyce. Along the canal every year there are fairs for Christmas and Barcolana. On its territory they sell sweets, flowers and souvenirs. Barcolana is an annual frigate competition in Trieste. For 2018, it broke all world records.

San Giovanni Park and the Rose Garden

San Giovanni Park and Rose Garden has been and will continue to be a favorite for visitors and residents alike. It was opened in 1908. Paths and stairs in its territory lead to the church of Chiesa del Buon Pastore. The park has a small parking lot. There are various cultural and educational gatherings, Japanese, European, and American species of roses. The flowerbeds and arches are decorated with climbing roses, and the park itself is decorated with architectural additions, lawns and oak trees. The park was built on the site of a mental hospital.

Faro della Vittoria Lighthouse

It was built on the remains of the fortress of Cressich in 1927 in honour of the sailors victims of the First World War. It indicates the shore to the sailors from a height of 130 meters. On its dome is a seven-metre high statue of the goddess Victoria made of copper. Tourists are allowed on weekends to its first viewing platform. On the base is written the phrase “shine in memory of those who died in the war” and a statue of a sailor 8.5 meters high. Faro della Vittoria translates from Italian as “Lighthouse in honor of Victoria (Goddess of Victory). It illuminates at a distance of 48 kilometers.

Piazza Unita d ‘Italia

The largest square in Europe. It is decorated with a monument to Charles VI and the fountain of the Four Continents, and by the shore is a statue of a soldier and two girls – the statue was placed in honor of the peaceful and military past of the town. On the opposite side of the shore, it is surrounded by six city palaces. The fountain consists of sculptures of four animals, each of which represents a continent. The name of the square translates as “Piazza of the Unification of Italy”.

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