Trieste Free Walking Tour + Monument & Sights Guide
Located in the north-west of Italy, the port city of Trieste is situated on the Gulf of Trieste, close to the borders of the Republic of Slovenia to the east and Austria to the north. The historic centre is easily explored on foot and the sea facing Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square) is a good place by which to orientate yourself. To the north can be found Canal Grande and further on the railway and bus stations which sit off the coastal road Viale Miramare. To the east, the San Giusto hill dominates the old town below and is home to Trieste Cathedral and the Castle of St. Giusto. The main coastal stretch comprises of a series of roads, including the Riva Grumala, Riva Nazario Sauro, Riva del Mandracchio, Riva III Novembre and the Corso Cavour.
Trieste Free Walking Tour
Trieste Monument & Sights Guide
Chiesa di San Spiridione
(Saint Spyridon Church)
Monument Type: Serb Orthodox Church
Address: via San Spirodione 9
Opening Times: Tue – Sat: 9 a.m. – midday & 4 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. Sun: 9 a.m. – midday
Information: Saint Spyridon Church traces its history back to 1751 when Empress Maria Theresa initiated the free practice of religion for Orthodox Christians which prompted a wave of immigration of Serbian traders from Herceg Novi, Trebinje and Sarajevo to Trieste. The church itself, which was constructed in 1860s on the site of an older temple, is in the Neo-Byzantine style with many typical motifs of Eastern churches including mosaics, bell towers and cupolas. It is formed around the shape of a Greek cross and interesting features include four icons with precious silver decoration of Russian design and the mosaics designed by Milanese painter Giuseppe Bertini.
Piazza della Borsa
What is it? Trieste’s 2nd most important square and economic heart
Where is it? Between Piazza Unità d’ Italy and main road Corso Italia
Information: The irregular shaped Piazza della Borsa is dominated by Palazzo della Borsa (the Old Stock Exchange) from which the square’s name derives. The palace which is one of the most important neoclassical constructs in the city, is characterised by four great Doric columns, and is now home to the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture of Trieste. Other important buildings include Palazzo Tergesteo, Palazzo Dreher (the New Stock Exchange) and the Art Noveu Casa Bartoli designed by M. Fabiani in 1905. In the centre of the square is a statue of Leopold I, former Emperor of Austria, and the newly replaced Neptune Fountain (1755).
Piazza Unità d’Italia
(Unity of Italy Square)
What is it? Main town square of Trieste
Where is it? Located at the foot of San Giusto hill facing the Adriatic Sea.
Information: Built during the Austro-Hungarian era, Piazza Unità d’Italia is Europe’s largest sea facing square and contains many of the city’s municipal buildings and other important palaces. It was originally named piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s square) after a small church that once existed on the site, and subsequently became Piazza Grande before assuming its current name after the city was annexed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1918.
The square has been frequently remodelled over the centuries, most notable between 2001 and 2005 when all the buildings were renovated, the asphalt floor was replaced with sandstone blocks and the Fountain of the Four Continents was restored to its original position in front of the Renaissance City Hall. Other important buildings include Government House with its gilded mosaic wall decorations, the monumental Palazzo Stratti & Palazzo Modello and the imposing former head offices of Lloyd Triestino which is now the seat of the Regional government.
What is it? Remains of 1 AD Roman amphitheatre
Where is it? at the foot of San Giusto hill on Via del Teatro Romano
Information: Located on the gentle slopes of San Giusto hill, the amphitheatre was probably built in the 1st century AD of stone and wood, and was rediscovered in 1938. Originally built outside the city walls, the site is adorned with three inscriptions to Quinto Petronius Modestus, prosecutor of the Emperor Trajan, who was instrumental in its construction. Its statues are now on display in the Museo Civico (City Museum) and in the summer, the space is used for live concerts and plays.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
(Basilica of Saint Mary Major)
Monument Type: Church
Address: Via del Collegio, 6
Information: Opened in 1682 under the guidance of the Jesuit community, the spacious and majestic Basilica of Saint Mary Major is one of Trieste’s most important churches and sits at the top of a grand staircase in the oldest part of the city. Its most important features include the imposing Neoclassical façade and numerous works of art including Madonna in Sorrow, attributed to Sassoferrato, and the frescoed apse depicting the Immaculate Apotheosis by Sebastiano Santi.
Arco di Riccardo
What is it? 1st century AD Roman triumphal arch
Where is it? On the slopes of San Giusto hill on Via del Trionfo
Information: Popular legends holds that the name of the Roman-built arch derives from the Norman and English King Richard the Lionheart, who, returning from the crusades, was imprisoned in Trieste. However, it is more likely that the name is a corruption of Arco del Cardo which marked the entrance to the Cardo Maximus. The arch itself is over 7m tall with an undecorated crown top and with a plant motif.
Cattedrale di San Giusto
Monument Type: Cathedral
Address: Piazza della Cattedrale 2
Opening Times: Mon – Sat: 7.30 a.m. – 12 p.m. & 3.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m. Sun: 7.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.
Information: Trieste Cathedral was built in the 14th century and is the work of a combination of two earlier structures: a 5th century Early Christian basilica, which was subsequently destroyed by fire, and the smaller 11th century Chapel of Saint Just. The remodelling left a five nave church with a gabled façade, adorned with a large rose window and bas-reliefs from the Roman era. The interior is notable for the wooden keel-shaped roof decorated with a variety of different era mosaics including a Byzantine inspired piece and a striking figure of Christ against a gold backdrop in the Chapel of St. Just. The Cathedral is also home to a number of important relics including the reliquary of San Giusto and the halberd of San Sergio, the symbol of Trieste.
Castillo di San Giusto
(Castle of St Giusto)
Monument Type: Castle
Address: Piazza della Cattedrale, 3
Opening Times: Tues – Sun: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Price: General Admission: 6 € Reduced: 4 €
Information: Built by the Austrian Hapsburgs in 1470 on the site of an older Roman fortress, the Castle of St Giusto is one of Trieste’s most important tourist attractions and offers wonderful views of the town below. After the initial construction phase, the castle was extended by the conquering Venetian Republic who took hold of the city in the early 16th century before finally being completed in 1630 by the returning Austrian forces. Inside the fortress can be found the exhibition rooms of the Museo Civico-Armeria (Armoury Museum) as well as a plethora of Roman archaeological finds including funeral monuments and a wide variety of bas-reliefs. In the summer the space is dedicated to theatrical performances and concerts held in the castle’s courtyards.
Castello di Miramare
Monument Type: Castle
Address: Viale Miramare
Opening Times: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Price: General Admission: 4 € Reduced: 2 €
Information: The dramatically positioned Castle of Miramare was built on the orders of the Hapsburg Prince Ferdinand Maximilian who desired a residence befitting his rank built on the outskirts of Trieste. Construction began on 1st March 1856, under the guidance of Austrian architect Carl Junker and took over 4 years to complete leaving a very eclectic residence in terms of architectural designs, including Gothic, Medieval and Renaissance touches. Inside, visitors are treated to Maximilian’s chambers and those of his wife, Charlotte; the guest rooms and an information room retelling the history of the castle and the park’s construction. Other highlights include the music room, a series of paintings by Cesare dell’Acqua depicting the history of Miramare and the splendid Throne Room. To reach the castle, take one of the buses 1, 6, 26, 51 from the centre.
Written by: Jon