30 Things to do for free in Trieste

Trieste, Italy (23) - illuminated Palazzo Carciotti & Greek Orthodox Church, from Molo Audace

30 Things to do for free in Trieste

Historic Trieste may not be your typical Italian city, with its air of Austria-Hungarian austerity and eastern Slavic influence but it is almost perfect for the shoestring budget traveller. With some weird and wonderful museums and churches to visit, all available without spending a penny, you will never be short of ideas for things to do for free in Trieste…

30 Things to do for free in Trieste, Italy

Museo del Presepio (Museum of the Crib: Via Giardini, 16) contains 150 cribs, offering a broad and comprehensive overview of the Nativity scene in Italy and around the world. It is open on Thursday 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

② The Collezione Sambo (Sambo Collection: Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 4) is a small private art collection housed in Province of Trieste governmental building with works by artists such as Ugo Flumiani. The collection is only available to visit on request.

Chiesa di San Spiridione (Saint Spyridon Church: via San Spirodione 9) was constructed in the 1860s in the Neo-Byzantine style and displays many typical motifs of Eastern churches including mosaics, bell towers and cupolas. It is open Tue – Sat: 9 a.m. – midday & 4 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. Sun: 9 a.m. – midday.

Trieste, Italy (7) - front façade of Saint Spyridon Church

④ Holding a collection of mainly contemporary Italian painters, with some internationally renowned artists thrown in, the Pinacoteca di Ateneo (University Art Gallery: Piazzale Europa, 1) is only available to visit on request but might be worth the effort for Art lovers.

⑤ The irregular shaped Piazza della Borsa (Borsa square) is Trieste’s 2nd most important square and economic heart and is home to important buildings such as Palazzo della Borsa (the Old Stock Exchange) from which the square’s name derives, as well as Palazzo Tergesteo, Palazzo Dreher (The New Stock Exchange) and the Art Noveu Casa Bartoli designed by M. Fabiani in 1905.

Trieste, Italy (30) - Piazza della Borsa with Palazzo, Neptune Fountain & statue to Leopald I

⑥ Located in the district of San Sabba, the Museo della Risiera di San Sabba (Museum of the Rice Mill: Via Giovanni Palatucci, 5) is the only remaining example of a Nazi concentration camp in Italy. Still visible features include the so-called “death cells” and the ruins of the crematorium, destroyed in 1945. It is open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

⑦ Trieste’s main square Piazza Unità d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square) was built during the Austro-Hungarian era, is Europe’s largest sea facing square and contains many of the city’s municipal buildings and other important palaces including 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.

Central Square, Trieste, Italy - small

⑧ Trieste’s Museo del Risorgimento e Sacrario Oberdan (Museum of the Italian unification and Oberdan Shrine: Via XXIV Maggio, 4) is a monument-museum containing testimonies and memorabilia pertaining to the time of Italian Unification. The Oberdan Shrine, which sits outside the museum, is a monumental statue of the Trieste patriot who attempted to assassinate Emperor Franz Joseph between two winged figures (allegory of home and freedom). It is open on Thursday & Friday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

⑨ The spacious Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of Saint Mary Major: via del Collegio, 6) 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. Located underneath the church is the Sotterranei dei Gesuiti (Underground of the Jesuits) also known as Baroque church of the Jesuits which dates back to the 17th century. Interesting features here include the “Tower of Silence”, the crypt of Petazzi and the “Red Room” with its circular niches. It is open Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Trieste, Italy (37) - facade of Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and stairs (close-up)

⑩ Located on the ground floor of the historic Palazzo delle Poste, the Museo postale e telegrafico della Mitteleuropa (Postal and Telegraphic Museum of Central Europe: Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 1) charts the history of communications from the earliest forms of post through to the modern age. It is open on Tuesday & Sunday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

⑪ The Museo Dreher (Dreher Museum: via Torrebianca, 41 – 3 piano) is a space dedicated to the collection of hundreds of artefacts of the famous beer factory that once stood in Trieste. The collection is only available to visit on Wednesday: 5 p.m. – 6.30 p.m.

⑫ Located a few hundred metres from Piazza Unità d’Italia, Casa Bartoli (Bartoli House: via Carlo de Marchesetti, 8/3) was designed by Max Fabiani at the turn of the 20th century. The palace is notable for its Art Nouveau flourishes including the beautiful ornamentation cascade of leaves between the windows and the elegant wrought-iron balconies on the upper floors.

⑬ The Museo degli alpini (Alpine Museum: via della Geppa, 2) contains a number of objects showcasing the military history of the Alpine Corps, with uniforms, memorabilia, photographs and testimonials tracing back from its inception to the modern day. It is only available to visit on request.

⑭ The elegant Casa Basevi (Basevi House: via San Giorgio, 5) was constructed at the turn of the 20th century and is most notable for its comprehensive façade replete with friezes and floral garlands, medallions and fluted pilasters. Unfortunately entry is forbidden to the public but you can enjoy the architecture from the outside.

⑮ The compact Museo degli sloveni in Italia (Museum of Slovenians in Italy: via Petronio, 4) documents the history of Slovenian cultural organizations and institutions in Trieste through images, documents, musical instruments and costumes. It is open Mon – Sat: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

⑯ The Roman triumphal Arco di Riccardo (Richard’s Arch) was constructed in the 1st century AD and is over 7m tall and covered with a plant motif. Popular legends dictates the name derives from the Norman and English King Richard the Lionheart, who, returning from the crusades, was imprisoned in Trieste.

Trieste, Italy (56) - the Roman Arco di Riccardo on via del Trionfo

⑰ The Museo Fondazione Scaramangà di Altomonte (Museum Foundation Scaramanga Altomonte: via Fabio Filzi 1) was established at the end of the 19th century and is a unique collection of documents and antiques related to the history of Trieste, consisting of over 6,500 piece of furniture, porcelain, silverware, paintings, prints, clocks, prints and books. It is open Tuesday and Friday: 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.

⑱ Built between 1798 – 1801 the Teatro Verdi‘s (Verdi Theatre: Riva 3 Novembre, 1) main façade is characterised by giant Ionic columns and pilasters and adorning sculptures attributable to Bosa Antonio and Bartolomeo Ferrari. The theatre is famous among opera aficionados for its international operetta festival.

Cattedrale di San Giusto (Trieste Cathedral: Piazza della Cattedrale, 2) 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. Today, what remains is five a nave church with a gabled façade, adorned with a large rose window and bas-reliefs from the Roman era. It is open 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.

Trieste, Italy (39) - front façade and bell tower of Trieste Cathedral (close-up)

⑳ The Museo di Mineralogia e Petrografia (Museum of Mineralogy and Petrology: Via E. Weiss, 6) was established in 1949 and contains three exhibition halls dedicated to the cataloguing and study of minerals and rocks. The collection is only available to visit on request.

㉑ Commissioned at the end of the 18th century, the Palazzo Carciotti (Carciotti Palace: riva November 3, 13/c) is perhaps the best example of neoclassical architecture anywhere in the city. The striking main façade is notable for its six Ionic columns supporting a balcony with six statues of Greek gods and the Napoleonic eagle topping the large copper dome on top. Unfortunately entry is forbidden to the public but you can enjoy the architecture from the outside.

Trieste, Italy (23) - illuminated Palazzo Carciotti & Greek Orthodox Church, from Molo Audace

㉒The Museo Commerciale (Museum of Commerce: Via San Nicolò, 7 – second floor) was established by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005 and is dedicated mainly to the history of Maritime commerce. There are also exhibits on Trieste port and its role in the development of the city. It’s open Mon – Fri: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. & Tue & Thu: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

L’Antiquarium di via Donota (Antiquarium via Donota: via Donota) is an archaeological site and exhibition, the latter located in the so called Donota tower of the medieval walls. The archaeological excavations have brought to light the remains of a house built on different levels, probably inhabited in the 1st century A.D. It is open to visit on Thursday: 10 a.m. – midday.

㉔ The Centro regionale di studi di storia militare antica e moderna (Regional Centre of studies of ancient and modern military history: via Schiaparelli, 5) is dedicated to the all things military history with a focus on the Italian Armed Forces: uniforms, military helmets, models of military vehicles, soldiers, documents, photographs and other items. It is open Wednesday & Friday 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Civico Museo della civiltà istriana, fiumana e dalmata (Civic Culture Museum of Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia: via Torino, 8) is dedicated to maintaining the culture of the Istrian diaspora and contains objects, photographs & documents. It is open Mon – Sat: 10.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. & 4 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. & Sun: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

㉖ The stunning Castello di Miramare (Miramare Castle: viale Miramare) is one of Trieste’s main attractions, and although there is an entrance fee for the Castle itself, you can enjoy the grounds for free. Built in the 19th century by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg and designed by the Austrian architect Carl Junker, the park is full of valuable plant species and is elegantly designed, with an excellent panoramic position, from its location on the tip of the promontory of Grignano, jutting out into the Gulf of Trieste, about 10 km from the city. The park hours are Nov – Feb: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mar – Oct: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. & Apr – Sep: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Trieste, Italy (35) - Miramar Castle from across the Gulf of Trieste 2

Museo del caffè (Coffee Museum: via San Nicholas 7) is housed in the Commercial Museum and is dedicated to all things coffee. The objects mainly come from private donations and include historical coffee cups, merchandise & raw coffees. It’s open Mon – Fri: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. & Tue & Thu: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

㉘ The peaceful Orto botanico universitario (University botanical garden: via Giorgeri, 10) is located on the slopes of Monte Valerio in the north of the city and covers an area of 4.2 hectares. It is also a nice place to take a few minutes break from all the free stuff your seeing. It is open to the public 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

29. In honour of Trieste’s most famous adopted son, the Museo Joyciano (Joyce Museum: via Madonna del Mare, 13) pays homage to the Irish writer in a collection focusing on his years in the city. It is open Mon – Sat: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. & Thu: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Trieste, Italy (29) - Jon asking a statue of James Joyce why Ulysses is so difficult

30. The Faro della vittoria (Lighthouse of Victory: strada del Friuli, 141) was opened by King Vittorio Emanuele III in 1927 and is dedicated to the Italian sailors who died during the First World War. It is one of the tallest, working lighthouses in the world and offers spectacular views. It is open Apr 1 – Sep 30: Tues & Fri: 9 a.m. – 12:00 & 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. & Wed Thur, Sat, & Sun 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Oct 1 – Mar 31: Sunday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Map: 30 Things to do for free in Trieste


written by: Jon

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