Your Complete City Guide to Trieste
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TRIESTE CITY GUIDE
Why should I visit Trieste?
What is there to see and do in Trieste?
How do i get to Trieste?
What is the best time to go to Trieste?
Where to stay in Trieste?
Tours to Trieste
What's a good itinerary for Trieste?
Tips and facts for Trieste
Events and Festivals for Trieste
I'm looking for somewhere different to go to,
WHY SHOULD I VISIT TRIESTE, ITALY?
Trieste is a grand little city with plenty to see and do if you'd like to visit Italy for the day, or even a few days.
Once owned by the Austro/Hungarian empire it has a definite identity that is neither completely Italian or Slovenian.
A jewel on the Adriatic, Trieste is surely a city you'll want to add to your list of places to visit.
Stroll through town and partake in some superb architecture from Roman times to the magnificent Art Deco era, Trieste is a great place to walk. Stop for a coffee, it is a "must do" as Trieste is home to Illy Coffee. Illy is a family owned and operated company, founded in 1933, and is something that the people of Trieste are very proud of indeed!.
Trieste is a "happening" kind of town with a lively bar and restaurant scene. Even if you'd simply like to enjoy a gelato you'll feel right at home as the gelato here is really good!
Welcome to Trieste!
WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN TRIESTE, ITALY?
Top Sights and Attractions
PIAZZA DELL'UNITA D'ITALIA
The Piazza and main square in Trieste is one of the biggest in Europe that faces the sea and is certainly an imposing sight for those coming into Trieste for the first time.
The Piazza of Italian Unity is certainly an impressive sight due to its size and the buildings that surround it on 3 sides and the sea on the other. It was given its current name in 1955 when Trieste was ceded to Italy and its current architecture is mostly from the Austrian period of rule around the 1800 to 1900's.
In summer it is a favourite meeting spot with cosy sidewalk cafes serving coffee, drinks and snacks. It is also sometimes used for concerts. Dusk is a great time to take photos in the square and at night the building facades are illuminated bringing the whole square to life. Blue mood lighting on the ground throughout the square giving the square a timeless yet at the same time, modern feel. The Piazza is an amazing place to spend an evening.
A trip to Trieste is not complete without a visit to the maginificent Miramare Castle, built by the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian so that the Commander of the Imperial Navy could gaze out at the often turbulent blue seas of the Adriatic.
Situated just 8km north of the city of Trieste, the beautiful white castle sits on the seas edge and comprises of the castle plus an impressive 54 acres of parks and gardens. Designed by the Archduke himself, they comprise of tropical and native plants within beautifully landscaped surroundings.
Designed and built between 1856 and 1860, the Archduke and his wife Charlotte had little use of the castle as he was appointed Emperor of Mexico in 1864 and was subsequently shot and died in 1867. Charlotte returned in 1866 and had a nervous breakdown before leaving for Belgium shortly afterwards.
All the rooms still feature the original furnishings, ornaments, furniture and objects dating back to the middle of the 19th century. As a result the castle has remained largely intact and gives the visitor an insight into the personality of Maximilian.
CANALE AND SAN ANTONIO
The Canal is the prized jewel in the centre of Trieste and is lined with beautiful buildings and outdoor cafes which lead up to the amazing sight of Saint Antonio Church, the largest in Trieste. If in Trieste, you are sure to end up here and it is a great spot to stop for a coffee.
The canal was built in the 18th century so that larger ships could come into Trieste and unload their cargo. Today, only smaller boats line the canal walls and the canal is a beautiful place to wander at night when the streetlights glisten and reflect on the water.
The church of Saint Antonio was built 100 years later and is a fitting sight at the head of the canal just beyond The Piazza Ponterosso. The interior is well worth a visit. The Piazza Ponterosso is a high point for fans of James Joyce. At number 3 lies the house of Joyce and his wife Nora, who stayed in Trieste from 1904 to 1915 and again in 1919-20. In the centre of the Piazza you will find an interesting fountain, known as the Fontana del Giovannin del Ponterosso. It was built in 1753.
The Palazzo Gopcevich, located at the end of the Canale Grande, is a magnificent building that is frequently overlooked because of the imposing St. Anthonio. It was constructed in the 19th century in the neo-Renaissance style and was ordered as part of Maria Theresa's revitalization of the central area. Today, the Palazzo Gopcevich is used more as an exhibition space than any sort of architectural temple. Art and other such shows are frequently held here (so check with the Comune as to what is on when you visit). Even if nothing is on, or it isn't to your taste, there is still quite a lot of joy that comes from marvelling at the pink-and-white façade
CASTELLO DI SAN GIUSTO
The Castello di San Giusto is a distinctive and beautiful church and museum which sits above Trieste offering stunning views of the town and sea below. It is often the focal point of the town when religious and military celebrations take place and is a great place to visit!
What we see today is two basilicas from the 9-11th centuries that were joined together around the 14th-15th century on the site of a Roman place of worship. The castle has many rooms open to the public. Inside the castle you can visit the Casa del Capitano which houses a collection of weaponry and a collection of furniture and other things. The mosaics in the apse and on the walls are particularly stunning. Casa del Capitano is the oldest building in the castle (1470-1630). Moreover temporary exhibitions are held at the castle.
Walking through the Roman forum and along the terraces of the castle one can take in lovely views of Trieste, the Gulf and nearby hills. The surrounding Parco della Rimembranza (Rememberance Park) was built to honour the memory of those who died in WWI. It is a great little oasis of peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle below.
Where is it\How to get there?:
The Castello di San Giusto is located up the hill as you head inwards from the Piazza D'Italia. Looking at the Hill from the Piazza, you can approach the summit from either the left or right side (Corso Italia or the Via della Cattedrale\Via del Castello).
There arent many roman remains to be found in Trieste but the Theatre in the centre of town is a must-see!
Dating back to the 1st-2nd century, the Roman Theatre was only unearthed last century by archaeologists. The theatre seated about 6000 spectators and looked over the sea which was much closer to the theatre than it is today.
Where is it \ How to get there?:
The Teatro Romano lies at the foot of the San Guisto hill and a few blocks behind the Piazza Unita d'Italia.
VIALE XX SEPTEMBRE
This elegant avenue could be said to be Trieste's social hub. A great place to meet and socialise or just people watch.
The Viale stretches over a kilometer and takes in four of the seven districts of Trieste. The first section is completely closed to traffic but not the second. The avenue is named after the breach of Porta Pia (see your Italian history), which occurred precisely on 20 September 1870. In the past, the road was known as the Aqueduct Street, since even today the aqueduct passes under the concrete city.
The avenue is a great place of recreation for young people, and offers many attractions. For example, during the period of St. Nicholas or carnival, stalls are set up. At this time of the year the road is crowded with people. The street is also home to many of the cinemas in Trieste (National Ambassadors, Fellini and Giotto). It is also the home of Rossetti Politeama, a school and numerous restaurants, pubs, bars and fast food.
Where is it \ How to get there?:
From the Canale, follow the road inland until you reach Via Giosue Carducci and Viale 20 Septembre is located just over the road slightly off Via Cesare Battisti.
Trieste has a good selection of great museums to visit on a rainy day including the Civico Museo della Risiera di San Sabba and the Museo Revoltella.
Civico Museo della Risiera di San Sabba
A former rice husking facility, this building is famous for being the site of the only extermination camp in Italy during the German occupation in WW2. Since 1965, the Civico Museo della Risiera di San Sabba has been a national monument to the memory of up to 5,000 people who lost their lives here. At the end of the war the building was partially destroyed by fleeing Nazis, trying to eliminate proof of the horrors they committed.
Restored in 1975, this is a frightening place to visit; the death cells are open to visit as well as 17 detention cells, and a historic, photographic exhibition. Do not miss out on a visit.
The Revoltella Museum is an important modern art gallery that originated from an institution founded in 1872 by Baron Pasquale Revoltella (1795 – 1869).
Revoltella bequeathed his palace and his art collection to the city of Trieste; but in addition to the building and the objects contained within he also bestowed a conspicuous revenue to the museum. This allowed for the continuous increase of patrimony and accumulation, in a remarkably short time, of a considerable art collection.
By the end of the 19th century the collection included a number of important Italian artists, such as Francesco Hayez, Domenico Morelli, Giacomo Favretto, Urbano Nono and Filippo Palizzi, as well as a good number of foreign artists.
Today the Museum occupies a complex of three buildings, forming an entire block (enclosed by Piazza Venezia, Via Diaz, Via Cadorna and Via San Giorgio). The Basevi building, the third and smallest palace faces Via San Giorgio and houses the museum's management and administration offices.
San Guisto Civic Museum (Lapidarium Tergestino)\ San Giusto City Museum of Armoury
Located inside the Castle of S. Giusto in the 16th century Bastione Lalio / Sotterraneo, the museum it exhibits Roman tombstone findings. Inside the Lapidarium Tergestino it is possible to see the history of many different locations around Trieste.
The city museum, located in the Captain's House, inside the San Guisto Castle, hosts a rich collection of spears, edged weapons and firearms (armour, swords, daggers, guns, etc) both Italian and European, from the 12th to the 19th centuries.
The Joyce museum of Trieste has collected and preserved original material and documents pertaining to the period that Joyce spent in Trieste. Great for all those looking to deepen their knowledge of this historic figure and the works of the Irish writer. The Joyce museum has an up to date library including editions of his works, and a complete collection of some of the major magazines speaking about Joyce the man and his works in English. (As well as videos and multimedia technology.)
The museum of Risorgimento is hosted on the first floor of the Combatant's House and it preserves documents, photographs, uniforms, relics, decorations and paintings concerning facts and people of the Italian Risorgimento, from the 1848 uprisings to the First World War, with particular reference to Trieste and to the Julian area. It is laid-out in six halls: The Origins and 1848; Garibaldi and the Julian garibaldini Mazzini and Trieste; Oberdan and the preparations for the intervention; the volunteers; the Gold Medals; Trieste and the "Redemption". Outside there is the Sacrarium, dedicated to the memory of the patriot from Trieste, Guglielmo Oberdan, with the prison cell and the monumental statue by Attilio Selva.
The road to Trieste reveals yet another spectacular castle that is every bit as enchanting and beautiful as the Miramare. Tour the castle and the grounds and then simply admire the stunning views of the sea, coastline and surrounding area. Superb.
Looking out at the Gulf of Trieste and built on a former Roman military post, the current structure of the imposing Castello di Duino began in the 14th century. The one time prison is still residence to the Princes Von Thurn and Taxis, who have maintained it well through the years.
The highlight of the castle is the view from the 16th century tower and visitors can tour the 18 superb rooms before having a peek at the bookstore and bar. The Palladio staircase is also a masterpiece of its time and there is even a bunker from WW2 that has been restored and now houses period antiques.
Outside there are terraces overlooking the vast blue sea. The castle has been opened to the public as a museum and park since 2003 , it can be booked for weddings, dinners and other events.
There is a magnificent 2km walking path between the castle and Sistiana offering superb views over the sea from the edge of the cliffs.
The chain of hills leading down to its 7km coastline has many charms to lure people to this beautiful little territory between Trieste and Slovenia. Come and spend a day exploring all that Muggia has to offer!
Muggia (Slovene: Milje) is a small Italian comune in the extreme south-east of Trieste lying on the border with Slovenia. Technically, Muggia is the last and only piece of Istria still in Italian territory, after the dissolution of the Free Territory of Trieste in 1954.
Just before the year 1000, a settlement was built on the seashore and in the 13th century the new town of Muggia pronounced itself a municipality. The Duomo and Palazzo del Comune date back to this time. Visitors can also bear witness to its Prehistoric, Roman and Medieval past at sites like Castelliere on Mt Castellier and the Basilica de Muggia Vecchia. Under Austrian rule, it was an important ship building and naval centre until WW2.
Muggia has something for everyone to enjoy. Inland, it is bordered by the beauty of Mt Castellier, Mt San Michele and Monte D'Oro before sweeping down to the bathing resorts around the small but bustling harbour at San Bartolomeo. A new nautical leisure centre was built at Porto San Rocco a few years ago. At the heart of the town is the wonderful Piazza Marconi. Muggia is a charming town to explore on foot.
Don't miss the Carnival of Muggia or "Carneval de Muja", with traditional Venetian origins and with influences from the Istrian peninsula. It absorbs the entire population who assist in making colorful Carnival floats and colourful masks during mid February.
The beautiful Victory or Vittoria Lighthouse, shines down on the Gulf of Trieste and is one of the tallest in the world. If you have time to spare, it is well worth the trip to visit the site of the lighthouse where you can take some magnificent pictures of the Gulf and city below. The Vittoria Light (or Victory Lighthouse), sits on Gretta Hill and sends its beam down towards Trieste helping ships navigate the Gulf below. At a height of 223 feet (68 m) it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world.
The lighthouse designed by Arduino Berlam and sculptor Giovanni Mayer was completed in 1927 and the structure also commemorates the fallen of the first world war, as testified by the inscription "SHINE AND REMIND OF THE FALLEN AT SEA MCMXV-MCMXVIII" The Crow's Nest covered with a copper dome is topped by the famous statue from Mayer called "Winged Victory".
The site of the lighthouse is open to the public but only the lower part is accessible. The lighthouse is open daily except Wednesdays from April 1 through September 30 and on Sundays and major feast days during the rest of the year.
The lantern stands at about 130 meters above average sea-level and it is made up by a lighting body of an average power of 1,250,000 candles with a range of 34 - 35 nautical miles.
GROTTO GIGANTE (GIANT CAVE)
The Giant Cave lives up to its name as many are left in awe at the sheer scale of the central cavern and the beauty of the many stalactities and stalagmites. Located just north of Trieste and Villa Opcina, this is a great place to visit whilst in Trieste so don't miss out! The Grotta Gigante (giant cave) got its name from the huge central cavern. Measuring 107 metres (351 ft) high, 65 metres (213 ft) wide and 130 metres (430 ft), it entered the Guiness Book of Records in the 90's as the world's largest tourist cave.
A guide will lead you down a flight of 500 steep steps that lead you down into the enormous cave system where guests are left in awe to view the stalactities and stalagmites that cover the floor and ceiling. The most impressive is said to be the Colonna Ruggero which stands at 12 metres and 200,000 years old.
After you walk through the main cave, you are led through a short tunnel where you are greeted with an amazing view of the vast chamber below. A few moments later you climb another 500 steps and reach the surface again to end your tour which lasts around 45 minutes to an hour.
Opened in 1908, the cave's temperature sits at a cool 11 degrees celsius so make sure you are dressed appropriately and have good walking shoes as the cave is damp and you'll enjoy good traction under your feet! Like most other caves, no photography is allowed. There is a small cafe and stall selling souvenirs at the entrance.
The Caves are located north of Trieste and just north of Villa Opcina.
By Bus: From the centre Trieste take bus no42 from Piazza Oberdan to Borgo Grotta Gigante;
By Tram: Also from Piazza Oberdan, take the tram to Opicina, then take bus no42 for another 15 minutes to Borgo Grotta Gigante. Buses operate every 30 minutes or so during the main daylight hours.
HOW DO I GET TO TRIESTE, ITALY?
From Trieste to Ljubljana
DISTANCE: 100km, TIME TAKEN TO CENTRE: 1.15 hours
TRANSFER: To reach Trieste centre from Ljubljana, Click here to book a GoOpti transfer
CAR HIRE: If you wish to hire a one-way car rental from Ljubljana or Ljubljana Airport then
click here and view our one way page and email for a quote!
From Trieste to Venice
DISTANCE: 180km, TIME TAKEN TO CENTRE: 1.50 hours
TRANSFER: To reach Trieste centre from Venice, Click here to book a GoOpti transfer
From Trieste to Koper
DISTANCE: 25km, TIME TAKEN TO CENTRE: 25 minutes
TRANSFER: To reach Trieste from Koper, contact us by email for a quote here
CAR HIRE: If you wish to hire a one-way car rental from Koper then
click here and view our one way page and email for a quote!
From Trieste to Škocjan Caves
DISTANCE: 26km, TIME TAKEN TO CENTRE: 30 minutes
TRANSFER: To reach Škocjan Caves from Trieste or Trieste Airport, contact us by email for a quote here!
CAR HIRE: If you wish to hire a one-way car rental from Trieste then view our one way page and email for a quote!
From Trieste to Lipica
DISTANCE: 15km, TIME TAKEN TO CENTRE: 20 minutes
TRANSFER: To reach Lipica from Trieste or Trieste Airport, contact us by email for a quote here
CAR HIRE: If you wish to hire a one-way car rental from Trieste then view our one way page and email for a quote!
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT TRIESTE, ITALY?
JULY-AUGUST - Peak time, can be very hot with clear skies and humidity.
APRIL,MAY,JUNE - Not a bad time with Spring blossoming but weather can be unpredictable.
SEPTEMBER - The best month in our opinion, still warm and kids go back to school.
OCTOBER-NOV - Getting colder and cloudier with rain but the autumn colours are beautiful.
DEC-JAN-FEB-MARCH - The least likely time to visit as it is very cold with winds coming off the sea and the bitterly cold bora wind.
** The bora wind can be bring sudden high gusts of wind any time of year so be prepared!
WHERE SHOULD I STAY IN TRIESTE, ITALY?
There are lots of choices in all categories in and around Trieste.
Peruse the options listed below and pick one that suits your needs, all bookings help keep the website going!
Here are our top picks, book using our links and enjoy your stay!
"The hotel’s location is very central and the view from the room couldn’t be more beautiful. It is located in an old Palace and the rooms are very specious. The shower is amazing and the bed very comfortable.
I couldn’t recommend this place more. Great value for your money!"
"The location is amazing. You have a beautiful view over the sea. The beach is great and directly located under the hotel, easy to access with the elevator (also with a spectacular view).
The rooms are big and comfortable and very well cleaned."
TOURS & ACTIVITIES IN TRIESTE, ITALY
TOURS FROM TRIESTE
TRANSFERS TO TOURIST SPOTS IN SLOVENIA
Our transfer partners can take you from Trieste and drop you off at major attractions like Lipica, Škocjan Caves, Postojna Caves and even Ljubljana or wherever you want to go! In essence a day tour without a guide, just a driver.
FOR QUOTES and to book please email us HERE
TOURS TO TRIESTE
PRIVATE TOURS FROM SLOVENIA TO TRIESTE
If you wish to visit Trieste for the day then our partners can take you! Tours are easily arranged from Ljubljana and other locations.
FOR QUOTES and to book please email us HERE
WHAT'S A GOOD ITINERARY FOR TRIESTE, ITALY?
Trieste is a large city that spreads out and upwards into the hillsides around the bay.
But the centre is quite compact and easy enough to walk around in one day.
If using Trieste as a base then of course you could base yourself here for 1-7 days
and explore the city and take day trips as noted below. Here are some suggested itineraries and ideas:
Trieste in one day -
After breakfast, visit the beautiful Miramare Castle.
Return to Trieste and admire the canale and have lunch near the Canale area.
Head up to San Guisto and admire the views from the top.
Walk back into town and visit the Roman Theatre before having drinks at the Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia
Fit in a museum if you have time.
Spend the evening at Viale XX Septembre with trendy bars and restaurants, very hip!
Trieste in two days -
Day one as above.
Visit the giant cave and Muggia and even Duino Castle if you have time. Spend the evening wandering downtown and eat
at the many restaurants along the waterfront (Riva Grumula-Riva Nazaria Sauro).
Trieste in 3-7 days -
A longer stay means you can explore the city more plus take day trips like:
Slovenia - Lipica, Škocjan caves, Postojna Caves, Slovenian Coast, Ljubljana, Bled, Wine Regions, Soca Valley
DID YOU KNOW? FUN FACTS FOR TRIESTE, ITALY
1. Under Austrian rule in 1719, Trieste was declared a free port and the city flourished with trade and prestige becoming quite wealthy in the process.
2. Because of its free port status, coffee became one of the major imports and thus Trieste is said to have the finest coffee in Italy if not Europe!
3. Don't bother looking for a cappuccino, it doesn't exist here, ask for a caffe latte instead!
4. In Trieste they speak Triestine and due to their history there have been many rumblings of separation from Italy.
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN TRIESTE, ITALY
There is always something happening in Trieste all year round.
Here is a calendar of the major events.
You may want to plan your holiday to coicide with these events!
JANUARY - Trieste Film Festival
The Trieste Film Festival is an international film festival founded in 1989. Held annually on the third week of January in Trieste, it has become one of the leading festivals of cinema in Italy. Run by artistic director Annamaria Percavassi, the Festival is a unique opportunity to meet with filmmakers, actors, and film professionals.
MARCH - Olio Capitale
The Olio Capitale expo is an International level showcase, the only expo in Italy fully dedicated to top quality olive oil. More than 300 extra virgin olive oil producers from all over Italy as well as Croatia and Greece come to show their product and the expo attracts over 13,000 people. The expo takes place in the Trieste's Stazione Marittima, in the center of the city, along the sea shore. Under one roof the expo presents hundreds of labels of the best extra-virgin olive oils without any other food product to divert attention. Because it attracts a selected audience, Olio Capitale gives great networking opportunities. The expo holds meetings, talk shows, cooking classes and guided tasting sessions. Professional visitors can find new olive oil suppliers and unique productions.
JULY - Operetta Festival
The International Festival of Opera, organized by the Fondazione Teatro Lirico "Giuseppe Verdi", is one of the diamonds of Trieste's cultural and musical summer. Unique in its kind, the festival has made Trieste an undisputed capital of the "small opera", as well as an important cultural point of reference. Every year the festival presents exciting classical operas and musical performances.
OCTOBER - The Barcolana
The Barcolana is a historic international sailing regatta taking place every year in the Gulf of Trieste on the second Sunday of October. The Barcolana is one of the most participated regattas in the world. Thanks to its particular formula, the Barcolana is a unique event on the international sailing stage. On the same starting line expert sailors and sailing lovers race side by side in boats of different sizes divided into several divisions according to their overall length.
The race takes place on a 15-mile four-sided, fixed mark course. The starting line is between the Miramare Castle and the seat of the Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano and for the first time in 2014 the finish line will be in the waters just off Piazza Unità d'Italia. Over the years the route has undergone several changes and for many years one buoy has floated in Slovenian waters.
As mentioned, The Barcolana is not an event for sailors only, but it involves the whole city of Trieste attracting tourists from abroad. Every year about 25,000 sailors take part in the race and more than 250,000 spectators watch the Barcolana from the Trieste seafront, known as the Rive, and from the Karst highland. Thanks to the particular conformation of the territory around the Gulf of Trieste, spectators can enjoy the race from numerous observation points as if sitting in a natural “sailing stadium”.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER- Science and Fiction Festival
The Trieste Science+Fiction Festival was founded in 2000 under the name of Science plus Fiction by the Research and Experimentation Centre La Cappella Underground.
It is a multidisciplinary event devoted to the realms of the "fantastic", to experimental languages and new technologies in cinema, television and the visual arts. With a program rich in screenings, retrospectives, tributes, conferences and meetings with renown international and national professionals, it aims to explore the whole range of the science fiction world, from cinema to comics, from literature to stage performances.
Described as "not just one of the world's leading science fiction festivals", but "one of the finest genre events in the world regardless of the genre in question", it is also listed as one of the "14 captivating film festivals in Europe you won't want to miss". The event reaches a grand total of more than 20,000 visitors per year
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