Once again it’s Italy! Yet never ever tired for coming to this fascinating country. It must be together with my mother land Spain, the most visited for sure. And even so that I’ve been to so many cities, from large to medium and small villages, there are still plenty more to enjoy and keep returning. I don’t mind even for repeating at some coming the case, there are always many corners not seen, Rome, Milan and Naples being the most renown cases. In this case, Trieste although not a new place, I can strongly feel and say as if it would be the first time.
It was back in March 2010 when after not having a positive experience in neighboring Slovenia, we decided to come to Trieste for dinner from Ljubljana. As you can imagine it was night hence not much we could do other than, you guessed it, having one of the most delicious pizza we did ever have back then, and a proper ice-cream. The mere fact of crossing the border from the rather boring and almost no life outside of Ljubljana to thriving Italy even at its tiny villages near Trieste, was already enough to enjoy the trip.
So finally here I am writing a guide for this beautiful city after the very well deserved visit. Very often bypassed by tourists who head towards the larger cities of Milan and Venice, or nearby neighboring Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia; it is in the other hand an incredibly beautiful city with impressive architecture. It is one of the rare examples with plenty of Autrian Empire architecture, hence its elegance and resemble to the avenues you see in in Vienna or Budapest, coupled with a priceless addition, the Mediterranean Sea at the backdrop.
Because of its location, it’s been an extremely desired city through the centuries upon each power that has taken over it. The maximum exposure was reached during the Austrian rule becoming a centre for the arts, politics, literature, music and culture. Such boom lasted until the end of the 20th century, where its decline rapidly deteriorated only to be rescued in recent years. Plenty of projects restored the historic centre and the impressive palaces, new squares, new urban design and spaces. It is fascinating to see today the great taste chosen in the project and how well it has all been cared for, yet what was the best if you ask me? Having the entire city almost to yourself as a tourist. I know it was still not the season, but even in the deepest of the winder months you get hordes of tourists in nearby Venice as an example, but not here. It was nice for once to enjoy and walk, mix with the locals and feel for a little bit as an Italian.
We did only have a day, however it is well enough to visit absolutely every sight at a nice quiet and lazy pace, enjoying that well deserved break at any of the countless patisseries for a nice baba and espresso coffee, to a bar for an aperol spritz, and to any of the many restaurants for a pizza or some pasta, then repeat with an ice cream for desert or a granita. All of this is part of any trip to Italy, and compliments each others. It’s the fact of being one of the most pleasurable facts for planning a next trip to Italy.
For more information about Trieste check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Italy’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Trieste
- Piazza della Liberta At the north of the city, is the terminus of both the railway and bu stations.
-Trieste Centrale The main train station in the city. Built in 1878 in neo-renaissance style.
- Borgo Teresiano Also known as the Austrian Quarter, is the most elegant district of Trieste. Starts at the Piazza della Liberta and extends south towards the old town area.
-Piazza Vittorio Veneto At the north of the district, very elegant in all sides with grand architecture such as the Central Post Office building. The Via Roma connects north and south being the main thoroughfare.
-Grand Canal – Piazza Sant’Antonio One of the main landmarks in the city surrounded by some of the most beautiful buildings dating from the Austrian period.
-Palazzo Carciotti and Red Building Both by the sea front, one on each side of the canal.
-Piazza Ponterosso Accessible through Via Roma and the Red Bridge, makes a great open space towards the Grand Canal with the elegant architecture.
-Holy Trinity Serbian Church Built in 1869 following the traditional Byzantine design of 5 cupolas.
-Sant’Antonio Church Marking the head-front of the canal and square, built in neo-classical style.
-Piazza della Repubblica A street south from the Serbian Church, another of the Austrian planned open spaces.
-Synagogue Built in 1912 in a mix of different architectural styles, it is currently the second largest in Europe. While not precisely in the Borgo Teresiano district, it is not far east from it, on Via San Francesco D’Assisi.
- Citta Vecchia The old town, right south from the Austrian Quarter, with Corso Italia dividing both districts.
-Saint Giusto Castle Offering great views towards the city and the sea. Built on top of previous older castle structures at the highest point of San Giusto Hill, the central part was completed under the reign of Frederick III (1470), and completed by 1630.
-Saint Giusto Cathedral Completed in 1320, devoted to Giusto, the patron of the city. Its interiors are home to great Byzantine mosaics.
-Roman Forum Aligning by the north side of the Cathedral, there are visible some remnants.
-Roman Theatre At the foot of San Giusto Hill, at the intersection of Corso Italia with Via del Teatro Romano. Quite well preserved.
-Arco di Riccardo Built in the Roman walls in 33 AD. Located in Piazzetta Barbacan, one of the narrow streets of the old town not far from the Roman Theatre
-Piazza della Borsa One of the major squares in the city, where you can easily feel as if you are in Vienna or Budapest due to the architecture around it. The main building here is the neo-classical Stock Exchange.
-Giuseppe Verdi Theatre Behind the Stock Exchange, with main facades facing either a square in the front and the back by the port.
-Piazza Unità (Unity Square) It is Europe’s largest sea-front square, and without any doubt the masterpiece of the Austrian urban plan.
-Palazzo del Governo The first building in the square facing the sea.
-Palazzo Stratti and Modello Both along the same side after the City Hall.
-City Hall Resembling the one of Vienna in smaller scale. It marks the eastern side of the square, beautiful day and night with the illuminations.
-Palazzo Pitteri and Grand Hotel Duchi D’Aosta The next buildings along the south side of the square.
–Palazzo della Giunta of the FVG Region Opposite building to the City Hall, facing the sea.
-Borgo Giuseppino The promenade along the port is an outstanding piece of pure elegance and great taste for the architecture. The best grand hotels are located in some of these buildings as the Savoia Excelsior.
-Museo Revoltella In the parallel street to Borgo Giuseppino, it is home to one of Italy’s finest collections of the 19th century, including modern and contemporary art.
-Campo Marzio Train Station While not anymore in use as a railway station, it is nevertheless and impressive structure from the 19th century.
-Faro della Vittoria The Lighthouse of the Victory is visible from the promenade and anywhere in the port, and in return, it offers great views towards the city.
- Miramare Castle located 8km north from the city centre along the coast, was built between 1856 and 1860 for Archduke Maximilian, brother of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. The garden contains an impressive botanical collection of many species.
The international airport is located quite far from the city centre at over 30km to the north. Fortunately, there is a brand new rail connection (known as Polo Intermodale) with the central train station with a time travel of approx. 30 minutes. The cheapest and second best option would the bus 51, heading towards the central bus station, right next door of the train station, taking approximately 55 minutes. Try to avoid the taxi if you can, it will set you up to 50 Euros!.
Coming overland from Italy or neighbouring Slovenia and Croatia is possibly the most widely used option in the case of Trieste. It’s an hour and half to Ljubljana via bus, or the newly “reopened” railway line from Ljubljana to Villa Opicina, the first village in Italian soil where you can get a bus ride (numbers 12 or 44) for the remaining of the journey into Trieste (around 10 minutes only). Railways and buses to the main Italian cities do have their terminating line at Trieste. Buses in the other hand would be your option to get or come from Croatia.
Once in the city, everywhere around the old town and new elegant areas are mostly pedestrian and best discovered on foot. Distances are short hence no need for taking any public transportation. Should you need to rely on longer distances, then there is a good coverage or urban buses.
Although a medium size city, quite large for Italian standards, the choice of hotels is not that great I must say. Yes, there is a wide variety of properties of any class, from top hotels to more modest ones, but this also comes with a higher price tag than other cities. Then considering it was just April when we came, low season, it means the situation will for sure be much worst during the summer months. As usual the most reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers. But also, check for apartments as in this city there are lots.
We found a nice apartment for a really great value for money, including breakfast. Fair enough the breakfast was minimal, but we did not really mind. After all, in Italy you are always next door to plenty of bars and patisseries where to get anything at any time. The apartment was pretty large, in outstanding condition both in decoration and cleanliness, very comfortable and quiet. The owner really friendly and easy to contact at any time, before or during the stay, and the location could not be better. Definitely recommended to anyone without hesitation.