The ruins of the Roman forum shown in the photo foreground are located on virtually the same spot as Duomo San Giusto, on the crest of Capitoline Hill. The forum was the most important structure in the Roman city of Tergeste, which was centered around Capitoline Hill.
A little more than 700 years ago a project commenced to assimilate the older churches of San Giusto and Assunta into an enormous duomo ( cathedral ) which was to become the center of religious activity in Trieste. Be sure to see the art treasury inside of the duomo as well as the campanile ( bell tower ) museum.
Actually thanks to pillages during the early middle ages, there is not much remaining of the forum. Teatro Romano, near the base of Capitole Hill, is largely intact, much more interesting, but ignored by most tourists. ( Tourists can be confusing, hard to understand critters ). See my tips on Teatro Romano.
An additional treat in the same complex, is the magnificent castel ( castle ).
Duomo ( cathedral ) di San Giusto which is situated atop Capitoline Hill, at the highest elevation in old town Trieste. The duomo was created by connecting chiesa di San Giusto and chiesa di Assunta by a large single nave from 600 to 700 years ago. The campanile ( bell tower ) shown on the left of the photo which looks like a massive castle rook, was completed in about 1340. It is the widest campanile that I have ever see. To give you an idea of how large the duomo is, the gothic arched campanile doorway shown is 5 meters high. The ornate rosette window centered above the main entrance is a masterpiece that should not be missed. The interior of the duomo is beautiful and filled with art treasures.
The current fortifications that sit above the city of Trieste are actually the second structure (possibly the third) to be erected in that spot. The castle was constructed between 1470 and 1630, although there were earlier Venetian battlements here and perhaps even earlier fortifications. Today, there are plays in the courtyard of the Castle during the summer, and part of the city's Civic Museum is located here. The Sala Veneta, inside the Castle, is a reconstruction of a 17th century room complete with Flemish tapestries. Apart from this, and the Museo Civico, visitors can also enjoy views from the battlements and (self-guided) tours of the kitchen and loggia.
The facade is asymmetrical with two slopes and is made of sandstone. At the centre you can see the big Gothic rosewindow in white stone composed by two halo of rays with 36 little columns. This was completed at the end of the fourteenth century, when the two primitive churches of San Giusto and Assunta were joined togehter.
Piazza San Giusto is situated on the Capitoline hill, right above the huge port of the town.
In the sixth c., a large house of worship was erected on what remained of the structures of a Roman propylaeum, probably the entranceway to a commemorative monument, usually called "Tempio Capitolino" because an alter pyramide had been found there with the symbols of the capitoline triad - Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. Only a section of the original floor mosaic, which is part of the present flooring, has remained and shows the perimeter of the palaeochristian walls which were destroyed in the Lombard invasion.
The nave; foreground of the holy-water font with the statue of the Saint.
The nave joins together the aisles of the two churches mentioned previously. The ceiling is made of painted wood and is like the hull of an overturned boat. A precious Bohemian chandelier made of gilded copper hangs from the ceiling. The monogram of Maximilian and Charlotte of Austria is engraved on it.
Inside the basilica many elements deserve attention: the twelfth and thirteenth cntury adsidal mosaic of the Assumption and San Giusto, urn with the relics of San Servolo, the treasury etc.
The Capitoline Hill was already inhabited in the protohistoric Era. The fortified hilltop village, called TERGESTE was situated where the castle now is. From this ancient core rose the Roman city which was connected to Aquilea, by Via Gemina and to Istria by Via Flavia.
On the left side of the Cathedral is the bell tower which looks like a defense tower. It was built between 1337 and 1343 on a pre-existing Romanesque bell tower. Originally there was a round stone ornament on the spire, called "melon", which is now the symbol of Trieste. Above the entrance to the bell tower you can see a niche with a lancet arc with the statue of San Giusto, the protector Trieste.
On the left side of the Cathedral is a basrelief showing the papal insignia and the coat of arms of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Bishop of Trieste and then Pope with the name of Pius II. You can also see three bronze busts representing Pope Pius II and the Bishops Andrea Rapicio and Rinaldo Scarlicchio, who found the relics of the martyr Giusto.
Next to the Cathedral, on the left side, you will find the Chapel of San Michele al Carnale from the 13th c. It was used as a funeral chapel for the cemetery near the church. Under the chapel is the crypt, which is supported by arches basing on columns with Roman capitals.
The complex of San Giusto Cathedral is a must see when visiting the town of Trieste. It is situated on the Capitoline hill and you can easily reach it on foot through the flight of stairs of S.M.Maggiore Via Donata, or through Scala dei Giganti.
Here, in the '30s an excavation brought to light the remains of the Roman Forum with its civil basilica, built on two storeys with two rows of columns, two of which have been replaced on the ground floor. The restoration that followed the excavation has also enhanced the dimensions of the Castle, which is the guardian of a long part of history as the works for its construction, based on the ruins of the previous castles, almost lasted two centuries.
San Giusto Cathedral, which is situated on the top of the Capitoline Hill, is unndoubtely the most beautiful church in whole town. The church was completed at the end of the fourteenth century, when the two primitive churches of San Giusto and Assunta were joined together. At the centre of the front facade there is the big Gothic rosewindow in white stone composed by two halo of rays with 36 little columns. Do not miss to see the beautiful interiors of the church.
San Giusto or Capitoline hill is the civil, moral and cultural heart of the town. It is the centre of the city, peaceful and a bit isolated, however very central and palpitating during the religious and pagan festivities.
The best way to reach San Giusto is by Scala dei Giganti from Piazza Goldoni. Once you are on the top of the hill your effort will be aworded by the spectacular view at the city.
High on the hill sits the Castle and Cathedral of San Giusto. The day I was there some kind of military ceremony was in progress. Men in uniform carried a huge flag to the top of the castle, ran it up the pole and a trumpeter played. Then they took the flag back down and everyone left.