If you drive along the Adria in your hired car in the direction of Slovenia, after a while you will get to the border of Trieste.
As a Roman colony, Trieste played a significant roll due to its port. Up until the First World War the city remained under the rules of the Habsburg Empire or Austrian Empire and has always been a melting pot of different cultures.
The main attraction of the city is the Piazza dell’Unità that stretches out to the sea. Here, you will find magnificent neo-classical buildings such as the Palazzo del Municipio, today’s Town hall, the Casa Stratti where you will find the fantastic coffee house, Caffè degli Specchi where Rilke and James Joyce have socialised. There is also the Palazzo del Governo where the art nouveau style is remembered.
At the beginnings of the city you can admire the Colle di San Giusto. On the hill you will find the Cattedrale San Giusto which is still the bishop’s cathedral today. As early as the Roman times a forum and a cult site stood here- the remains of which are still can be seen. In the 5th century, an early Christina Basilica was built on this site and it was from this time that the floor mosaics originated. Inside the cathedral you will find Venetian mosaics and frescoes.
From the neighbouring castle, the Castello di San Giusto you will be able to enjoy a wonderful view of the city and the Gulf of Trieste. On the way down to the old town visitors should stop off in the Museo Civico di Storia e d’Arte that exhibits findings from the pre- and early history. Next to the Egyptian collection there are Greek and Roman findings such as vases. The adjoining Lapidarium in the garden displays epigraphs, statues, sculptures and the Temple remembers the archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann who was murdered in 1768 in Trieste- he was laid to rest in the cathedral.
You will find one of the most important art collections in the Museo Revoltella. The building is a former city palace of the Baron Pasquale Revoltella1. In 40 rooms on six stories you can see the original living arrangements with furniture and decoration from the 19th century. There is also a library, the Barons extensive art collection and further paintings from the 20th century.
In a family palace the Museo Civico Sartorio is located. Here there are the paintings from Venetian artists as well as a valuable collection from Giambattista Tiepolo. In addition, the museum displays jewellery, furniture, drawings, books, rugs, materials, silver and majolica.
Somewhere else very interesting is the Museo del Mare- here the maritime navigation and the meaning of the port of Trieste is explained. There are lots of models of ships to see- ancient as well as middle-aged. The three ships from Columbus as well as nautical equipment such as a compass, an echo sounder and radio technology equipment can also be admired. A section is dedicated to Joseph Ressel whose first ship’s propeller made its test trip from Trieste. The importance of the fishing industry is also explained.
At the beginning of the 20th century Trieste was the starting place for many literati- James Joyce lived here temporarily. In the neighbouring Duino, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote his „Duino Elegies“- the Italo Svevo is a small museum dedicated to the Italian author. Everyone meets in the numerous coffee houses in the city. The coffee house tradition goes back to the Venetian and Habsburg Empire or Austrian Empire. There are many beautiful coffee houses from the 19th century that are still standing. The Caffè San Marco originates from the art nouveau era and the oldest is the Caffè Tommaseo that has been in business since 1830.