Almost all historic buildings in Trieste's touristy city centre are beautifully illuminated at night, so a stroll around the town in the late evening is highly recommended.
One of our first impressions of Trieste was the square Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia at dawn on a overcast day and we were really amazed about the grandness of the square at night.
Trieste's Canal Grande is a waterway which was constructed by the Venetian Matteo Pirona in the middle of the 18th century. At that time ships could go as far as to the Church of San Antonio Nuovo to dock near the city centre.
Later in 1934 the last part of the canal was filled up with rubble from the old town. This is now the square Piazza Sant Antonio.
The canal is lined with beautiful buildings, such as the eclectic Palazzo Gopcevich. It was built in 1850 by the architect Giovanni Berlam and houses nowadays a theatre museum.
The Canal Grande can be found in the heart of Trieste's Borgo Teresiano district, which is situated just between the train station and the square Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia.
The Unity of Italy square is not only Trieste's main square but also considered Europe's largest square facing the sea. It was designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Bruni in 1879 and underwent extensive renovations in 1999.
The square is dominated by the City Hall, which is described in my "Things to do" tips. Just in front of the City Hall, the Fountain of the Four Continents can be found. The baroque style fountain was errected in 1751 when Australia hadn't been discovered.
Other notable buildings on the square include the Government Palace (Palazzo del Governo, 1905), the Prefecture Palace (Palazzo Stratti, 1839), the former Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta (Palazzo Vanoli, 1873) and the building of the seat of the region (Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino, 1883).
The Unity of Italy Square (Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia) is situated at the foot of the San Giusto hill, right in the heart of Trieste's city centre. The square faces the Adriatic sea to the north.
During our 5 days in Trieste we enjoyed at least two wondeful sunsets over the Gulf of Trieste.
One of the most popular places to enjoy a sunset in Trieste seems to be the quay Molo Audace, which can be found almost right in front of the square Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia.
Also the freight harbour with its abandoned warehouses and rusty cranes near the quays Molo III and Molo IV offer a special, almost eerie atmosphere at sunset.
There is peculiarity of Trieste that many people don't love...but I do!
I'm speaking about our wind, "Bora". February is the peak month for bora but strong winds associated with the bora can also occur in any month. The other strong bora episodes usually end by April, but milder boras can occur in any month of the year.
The presence of The wind "Bora" , that is a dry, very cold continental wind , on Trieste depends on the geographical shaping of Trieste. The town lies at the extremity of a quite relatively warm sea and a wide and very cold hinterland with an open pass on the gulf of the city. This situation between the two zones, sea and hinterland,causes the possibility of the forming of strong differences of temperature and atmospheric pressure with the result of frequent and intense downflows of air masses from the hinterland towards the sea.
If this difference of pressure is exalted by the transit of a depression (cyclone) on the Adriatic sea, or by the creation of a high pressure zone (anticyclone) on the central- eastern Europe, or by the simultaneously presence of a depression on the sea and a high pressure on the continent, so the descending air flow achieves high speeds and characteristics of violence.
The wind can be “Chiara” (light) if the sky is clear or “Scura” (dark): if there are clouds created by the wind "Scirocco".
The bora announces itself with long and threatening hisses called refoli. In the most severe winters, people from Trieste say:
Tre giorni la nassi,Three days to be born
Tre giorni la cressi,Three days to grow,
Tre giorni la crepa , Three days to die
It's a strange situation when wind pushes you..in that case NEVER run...it will make you falling !!
Favorite thing: I'd never before been inside a Serbian Orhodox Church so I was very pleased to get a chance to visit the Church of San Spiridione in Trieste. It looks Byzantine in style and the blue roofs reminded me of Greek churches but as the exterior on the Canal side was completely covered in scaffolding it was difficult for me to note many of the details. Inside however it was dark and mysterious with flickering candles illuminating silver and gold. This church was opened in 1868 during the period of Slovenian dominance in Trieste. Nearby is one of the largest synagogues in Europe, the Tempio Israelitico and the neo-classical Church of St Antonio Nuovo. These, along with the Greek Orthodox Church Of St Nicholas, reflect the many influences which Trieste has come under during its history: Serbian, Slovenian, Hapsburg, Italian, Venetian........
Sitting on the hillside overlooking the beautiful Adriatic coastline, Trieste has had a diverse history of relationships to various countries, empires and rulers. One of the results of this is an amazing diversity of architecture. Some really lovely buildings greet you at almost every turn and it is a mix of art nouveau, monumental and neoclassical. This adds a real beauty and dignified cosmopolitan feel to the city. This is a busy and bustling city with lots of heavy traffic in places, but its attractiveness offsets that nicely.
The Grand Canal is lined with nice buildings, some with really appealing design like the red diagonals on the first building on the left of the photo.
The second picture is just a building we encountered while waiting for a bus. It is just behind the cathedral and forum on San Giusto hill. It is obviously a fairly new building but someone has done a wonderful job with the row of colorful designed tiles at the top. The large floral hanging basket on the balcony just sets it off.
The third photo is not a particularly beautiful building but is 900-1000 years old. It is the Church of San Silvestri just up the hill from the Roman theater. Unfortunately it was not open so we couldn't see inside. I sort of stand in awe of buildings that have been standing for a millenium! In our county, we implode them after about 25 years!
The fourth photo is just the top of St. Anthony's Church with wonderful statuary. I don't know who they are, but the halos indicate it must be a row of saints.
Piazza d'Unita is the biggest open space in Trieste city centre and the one of the biggest square in Italy aswell. Here you can see some of the most representative palaces in the town, such as the Town Hall, Palazzo Pitteri, LLoyd Adriatico and the fine yesteryear hotel Duca d'Aosta.
The square is often said to be European's largest square located next to the sea.
Fondest memory: This square is probably the most attractive sight in whole Trieste and the favorite promenade area of the locals, especially in the winter-time on sunny Sunday mornings. The square has occasionally been used as a concert venue.
Favorite thing: This was definitely my favourite place in Trieste. I love big squares and they don't come much bigger than this. It's absolutely vast and naked of any ornamentation in the centre, which gives an incredible feeling of spaciousness. You can ride a bike here ( with no hands, if you're a smooth Italian male) walk a dog, push a baby sit or stroll, as many older people are doing. In front of the Town Hall, is the Fountain of the Four Continents and every time I passed by, this was occupied by bunches of pigeon-chasing children. But because of the huge area, it's impossible to make this square look crowded and it seems like you can enjoy it in almost solitary splendour. Along the sides are neo-classical Palaces, all of them impressive but one of them, Palazzo Del Governo, gilded in gold frescoes, absolutely beautiful. The civic building at the head of the square has a more ornamnetal facade than the others and a magnificent clock tower. The other end of the square opens directly onto the blue Adriatic, with cruise ships and cranes in plain view. A most unusual and beautiful city square.
Arriving in Trieste by bus is a real pleasure. Passing the outer industrial area and the swanky yacht marina, you carry on to the very heart of the city and never leave the water's edge. This long promenade ( Riva ) leading to the Bus Station is attractively landscaped with trees and flowers and only the traffic lanes divide it from the piazzas and historic buildings on the other side. Near the Piazza D'Unita D'Italia for example, you leave the square, cross the street and you are right at the sea wall. Here two sections of harbour wall jut out and on one of them, Molo Audace, people are lying full length, sunbathing. At 3.00 p.m. I gave up on the sightseeing and just headed for the sea. All day it had been pulling me like a magnet but the really great thing here is that from most points of the city, you can be at the seafront in a matter of minutes. This morning it was a litttle misty here but now the sea is 50 shades of sapphire and torquoise. Yacht sails symmetricaly frame the horizon and the world and its mother seem to be taking a post-prandial stroll. Definitely a touch of La Dolce Vita here, I think. Right where I am sitting is a wonderful bronze monument showing two people, a scissors and some cloth. Maybe a tribute to the rag trade but why here at the sea wall ? Is it marking the emigration of people involved in this trade ? Whatever its significance it's really striking.
Eventually, the clocks on the twin towers of the nearby church remind me that I must catch a bus. Last impressions of Trieste are all as favourable as the earlier ones and I am really glad I came.
Favorite thing: The northern part of Canale Grande, which ends by Piazza St. Antonio Nuovo, is in particularly attractive. Here on this place the catholic and the orthodox church stands side by side, while the fountain in the middle of the square. The Square of St. Antonio Nuovo is the favorite resting and relaxing places for both locals and visitors of Trieste.
Favorite thing: The Borsa Vecchia is one of Trieste's most outstanding buildings and a Chamber of Commerce is absolutely the last thing you expect to find in this type of setting. Walking along the street you think it's a church or an art gallery or possibly a theatre but the clue is in the name of the Piazza and this is actually the Palazzo de Borsa Vecchio. The Old Stock Exchange building ( the new one is next door and looks every inch a poor relation) this has something of the splendour of Greece and Rome about it. It resembles a Greek temple with four Doric columns holding up the portico and the tympaneum on top. On top of the building is a line of statues and underneath are a series of bas-reliefs crossing the second floor. At ground level are another four statues sculpted by various Venetian artists and the whole effect is absolutely stunning. The only thing that lets this building down is its location, just plonked on the side of the street surrounded by the most ordinary and mundane offices and shops.
This is the main square in Trieste. It is surrounded by several palaces built mostly in the 19th century. Here you can see the Town Hall; built in 1875. The Government Palace (1904-1905); with mosaics and a loggia. Palazzo Stratti with the historical cafe named Caffe degli Specchi.
Opposite the Town Hall there is a huge fountain; the Fountain of the Four Continents. It was built between 1751-1754. Here are represented four continents, because the fifth; Australia wasn't discovered at that time yet.
Piazza dell' Unità d' Italia is very large and opens to the sea. This is one of the places in Trieste where various performances are held.
Favorite thing: Trieste's Canal Grande is a long way removed from its counterpart in Venice and you wont be coming across a Rialto Bridge along this particular stretch of water. It's short and not very impressive but a pleasant addition to the city nonetheless. It leads the eye staright up to the Church of St. Antonio Nuovo and for this view alone it justifies its existence. At around 2.30, exhausted from hours of walking I sat on the edge of Piazza Ponterosso and enjoyed the ambience of the canal. Opposite me the canal side is lined with cafe tables . All shops now seem to have been closed for about two hours so it must still be siesta time. The Italians are definitely fans of the long lunche and every bar and cafe is thronged. In the water are the wavering reflections of the palaces that line the canal and the whole effect is quite Venetian, despite the abscence of the Rialto Bridge. From here I can see the statue of James Joyce crossing the bridge and just at the end of the street is the Sea. It seems to me that everybody strolls here as opposed to rushing. Trieste strikes me as a very laid-back city.
I joked to my wife that Trieste was about 20% flat and 80% uphill. Actually the hilly part is the San Giusto Hill and the surrounding area, but you can do a lot of uphill walking. It is really the best way to see all that is on the hill, but can be tiring. The photo was supposed to show the steepness of it, but you can't tell from that what the grade really is. Wear some good walking shoes and take it slow.
The second photo is taken from the botanical garden and gives you some idea of how far above the city you can get. Fortunately we found the bus runs up to the garden.