Visiting Trieste - What to See and Do
(Trieste Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport TRS, Italy)
can only be described as Italy's surprise packet. Often regarded as the country's most underestimated ancient town, Trieste was once a thriving metropolis within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its position along Italy's north-east coast has been a confluence for German, Slavic, Hungarian, and Roman cultures, which are still evident in the imposing cityscape.
Being the historical city it is, Trieste is bursting at the seams with museums and cultural centres that highlight its lengthy yet enchanting past. Nevertheless, the waterfront and San Giusto Hill still hog much of the sightseeing spotlight in this sea-straddling destination. The sights of Miramare Castle, the Giant Cave, the San Giusto Castle and the Victory Lighthouse are perfect attractions for newcomers.
Families will fancy an afternoon at the local aquarium, or a day exploring the mystical caves along the Mediterranean coastline. Trieste is one of the only places in Italy
to specialise in cafés serving local coffee and Austrian-style pastries. The city centre is not generous in size, and so tourists will be able to explore in no time at all, strolling around the winding passageways of Italy's medieval heart.
Ten things you must do in Trieste
- Miramare Castle is perched on the water's edge, just minutes from downtown Trieste. Sites like Maximillian's Chambers, the Throne Room, Duke Amadeo's Apartment and the Stables are the castle's shining lights. It is recommended that tourists visit the castle through a pre-arranged guided party. This way, guests can absorb the information and displays with ease.
- St. Justus Cathedral is an early 6th-century church that has been renovated and extended over the ages. Today, an intricate rose window, tall bell tower and Romanesque remains are the primary attractions within the cathedral. This cathedral's long and fruitful history is best understood through one of the site's tour guides.
- Archaeological sites have their place in the city's tourism industry. The Roman Theatre is an ancient site located at the foot of the city's back hills. It was left in decay for much of its modern life, until 20th-century historians and local government officials renovated the site, transforming it into an intriguing Roman museum.
- Cave exploring has become a major attraction in Trieste over the past few decades, thanks to the tireless work of Mother Nature. Just a few kilometres outside the city are the Great Caves (Grotta Gigante), which are the largest known sea caves on the planet. Ancient Romans believed them to be the gates to Hades. Today, they are subterranean marvels that have to be seen to be believed.
- Exhibiting major artistic works by the likes of Giuseppe Lorenzo Gatteri, Mario Sironi and Eduardo Dalbono, the Revoltella Museum is an ideal afternoon adventure into the world of modern art. Found in the former residence of Baron Pasquale Revoltella, the museum includes six teeming floors of modern masterpieces. Guides of the landmark are available upon request.
- Tourists should have San Giusto Castle as one of the first attractions on their itineraries. Nestled in the rolling hills behind Trieste, this castle provides plenty of entertainment. The castle itself is remarkably beautiful, but other landmarks surrounding this monolithic edifice include a castle museum, Park of Remembrance, roman relics in the Lapidary Garden and unspoilt views of the picturesque city below.
- As a seaside city, it is not surprising that Trieste boasts a large aquarium. The centre contains a huge range of underwater species, including hordes of tropical fish species, as well as Adriatic marine animals. The aquarium is one of the city's primary attractions for the entire family and can be reached on foot from the centre of town.
- The Unity of Italy Square is the centre of modern-day Trieste. Situated between the Adriatic Sea and San Giusto Hill, this large and beautiful piazza is perfect for people watching, boutique shopping, sightseeing and coffee drinking. The Town Hall overlooks the square, and at night, both sites are spectacularly illuminated.
- Trieste didn't escape the Nazi occupation, and even today, footprints of WWII can still be explored. The most significant site has to be Risiera di San Sabba, which was used as a Nazi concentration centre. More than 3,000 people lost their lives while the camp operated here. Nowadays, the building is a historical museum that is well-worth a few hours.
- Botanical gardens are renowned for their peaceful serenity and elegant landscapes. The Botanical Gardens of Trieste is no exception. This park has operated for more than 160 years, nowadays including a variety of diverse sections, such as local species, ornamental plants and even a poisonous plant zone. Despite its closure in 1986, much of the gardens reopened over a decade ago.