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Trieste, Italy

Trieste (Trst in Slovenian and Croatian, Triest in German) is a city in North-East Italy. Once a very influential and powerful center of politics, literature, music, art, and culture under Austrian-Hungarian dominion, its importance fell into decline towards the end of the 20th century, and today, Trieste is often forgotten as tourists head off to the big Italian cities like Rome and Milan. It is, however, a very charming underestimated city, with a quiet and lovely almost Eastern European atmosphere, several pubs and cafes, some stunning architecture and a beautiful sea view. It was also, for a while, the residence of famous Irish writer James Joyce.

Trieste is the capital of the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is situated on the crossroads of several commercial and cultural flows: German middle Europe to the north, Slavic masses and... Read more

Trieste, Italy

Trieste (Trst in Slovenian and Croatian, Triest in German) is a city in North-East Italy. Once a very influential and powerful center of politics, literature, music, art, and culture under Austrian-Hungarian dominion, its importance fell into decline towards the end of the 20th century, and today, Trieste is often forgotten as tourists head off to the big Italian cities like Rome and Milan. It is, however, a very charming underestimated city, with a quiet and lovely almost Eastern European atmosphere, several pubs and cafes, some stunning architecture and a beautiful sea view. It was also, for a while, the residence of famous Irish writer James Joyce.

Trieste is the capital of the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is situated on the crossroads of several commercial and cultural flows: German middle Europe to the north, Slavic masses and the Balkans to the east, Italy and then Latin countries to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
Its artistic and cultural heritage is linked to its singular "border town" location. You can find some old Roman architecture (a small theater near the sea, a nice arch into the old city and an interesting Roman museum), Austrian empire architecture across the city center (similar to stuff you can find in Vienna) and a nice atmosphere of metissage of Mediterranean styles, as Trieste was a very important port during the 18th century.
Trieste has always been a very cosmopolitan city. This can be seen in the cultural diversity and even in religion: there is a Greek Orthodox church, a Serbian Orthodox church, a Lutheran church, and a synagogue.
There is a tourist office at the edge of

Piazza Unità d'Italia

, in the Lloyd Triestino building. Information is available in Italian, German, and English, as are tourist maps and brochures of information about attractions in and around the city.


The territory of Trieste is composed of several different climate zones depending on the distance from the sea and elevation. The average temperatures are 5.4 °C (42 °F) in January and 23.3 °C (74 °F) in July. The climatic setting of the city is humid subtropical climate (Cfa according to Köppen climate classification). On average, humidity levels are pleasantly low (~65%), while only two months (January & February) receive slightly less than 60 mm (2 in) of precipitation.

Trieste along with the Istrian peninsula has evenly distributed rainfall above 1,000 mm (39 in) in total; it is noteworthy that no true summer drought occurs. Snow occurs on average 0 – 2 days per year. Temperatures are very mild - lows below zero are somewhat rare and highs above 30 °C (86 °F) aren't as common as in other parts of Italy. Winter maxima are lower than in typical Mediterranean zone (~ 5 - 11 °C) with quite high minima (~2 - 8 °C). Two basic weather patterns interchange - sunny, sometimes windy but often very cold days frequently connected to an occurrence of northeast wind called Bora as well as rainy days with temperatures about 6 to 11 °C (43 to 52 °F). Summer is very warm with maxima about 28 °C (82 °F) and lows above 20 °C (68 °F), with the hot nights being influenced by the warm sea water. The absolute maximum of the last fifty years is 37.2 °C (99 °F) in 2003, whereas the absolute minimum is − 14.6 °C (6 °F) in 1956.

The Trieste area is divided into 8a-10a zones according to USDA hardiness zoning; Villa Opicina (320 to 420 MSL) with 8a in the upper suburban area down to 10a in especially shielded and windproof valleys close to the Adriatic sea.

The climate can be severely affected by the Bora, a very dry and usually cool north-to-northeast katabatic wind that can last for several days and reach speeds of up to 140 km/h (87 mph), thus sometimes bringing subzero temperatures to the entire city.

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Trieste, Italy: Port Information

Cruise ships dock at the center of Trieste. You can easily get there on foot. 

Get around Trieste, Italy

Coach tour of Trieste. 040 308536, (040 311529, Saturday 2-4:30 pm. Sightseeing tour starts outside the railway station (Piazza Libertà 8). Booking and ticket purchase at the Eurostar office of Trieste Centrale Railway Station.

Walking. Like most of Europe, a stroll through the town to admire its ancient architecture is a very popular activity. You get to travel at your own pace and even get some coffee along the way. Trieste is not particularly big.

Bus. Trieste has a network of buses running on a strict schedule. Routes are very frequent through the day but rarer after 9 pm in the evening, on Sundays and holidays. Strikes occasionally affect buses but Trieste is a small city and most places of interest can easily be reached on foot. Tickets can be bought from tobacconists and from machines which are found at some of the busier bus stops.

Bicycle rentals are available in some places around the city. Knulp, a popular bar/bookshop/arts venue at Via Madonna del Mare 7/a, has bicycle rentals for reasonable rates, as well as wireless internet access.

What to see in Trieste, Italy

  • Città Vecchia (Old Town) - Trieste boasts an extensive old town: there are many very narrow and crooked streets with typical medieval houses. Nearly the entire area is closed to traffic.
  • The Austrian Quarter - Half of the city was built under Austrian-Hungarian dominion, so there is present a very large number of palaces that resemble Vienna. An iconic place of this quarter is the majestic Piazza Unità (Unity Square), which is Europe's largest sea-front square. The most present architecture styles are Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, Eclectic, and Baroque.
  • Museo Revoltella 

    - This museum was donated to the city in 1869 by Baron Pasquale Revoltella, a great patron of the arts who liked to surround himself with precious and avant-garde works. In a building restored and extended by architect Carlo Scarpa, the museum today houses one of Italy’s finest collections of the 19th-century, modern and contemporary art.
  • Museo di Storia, Arte e Orto Lapidario (Museum of History and Art and Lapidary Garden) Archeological, historical and art collections. Prehistoric and protohuman findings of local origin; Roman and medieval sculptures and epigraphs. Egyptian, Greek, Roman and pre-Roman antiques. Numismatic collection. Photograph and book libraries.
  • Museo di Storia Naturale - Zoological, botanical, geological, paleontological and mineralogical collections. Vivarium. Specialized scientific library.
  • The Roman Theatre - Trieste or Tergeste, which probably dates back to the protohistoric period, was enclosed by walls built in 33-32 BC on Emperor Octavius’s orders. The city developed greatly during the 1st and 2nd century AD. The Roman Theatre lies at the foot of the San Giusto hill and faces the sea. The construction partially exploits the gentle slope of the hill, and most of the construction work is in stone. The topmost portion of the amphitheater steps and the stage were presumably made of wood. The statues that adorned the theatre (which was brought to light in the '30s) are now preserved at the Town Museum. Three inscriptions from the Trajan period mention a certain Q. Petronius Modestus, a person who was closely connected with the development of the theatre, which was erected during the second half of the 1st century.
  • Il Faro della Vittoria (Victory Lighthouse) - The Lighthouse of the Victory, an impressive work of the Triestine architect Arduino Berlam (1880-1946) and of the sculptor Giovanni Mayer (1863-1943), has two important functions. Besides lighting the gulf of Trieste, in order to help navigation, it also serves as a commemorative monument dedicated to the fallen of the first World War. The lighthouse is topped by an embossed copper statue of Victory sculpted by Giovanni Mayer. Under this statue is affixed the anchor of the torpedo-boat Audace (the first Italian ship that entered the port of Trieste on November 3, 1918),
  • Arco di Riccardo - The "Arco di Riccardo" is an Augustan gate built in the Roman walls in 33 A.D. It stands in Piazzetta Barbacan, in the narrow streets of the old town.
  • Museo della Comunità Ebraica di Trieste "Carlo e Vera Wagner" ("Carlo e Vera Wagner" Museum of the Jewish Community of Trieste) - Collection of ritual art of the Jewish community of Trieste, mainly silverware and fabrics.
  • Synagogue - It's one of the largest in Europe, and was built in 1912. Open on Sundays 10÷12 and on Thursdays 15.30÷17.30, guided tours only, info Key Tre Viaggi tel. +39 040 6726736
  • Museo della Risiera di San Sabba (Risiera di San Sabba Museum) - A national monument - a testimonial of the only Nazi extermination camp in Italy.
  • Railway Museum Trieste Campo Marzio - Housed in the former railhouse, the museum features drawings, models and full-sized train engines and railcars as well as horse-drawn trams from Trieste's past.
  • Barcola. This paved waterfront walk stretches from a little north of the city nearly to the

    castle at Miramare

    . It is the beach where the Triestini spend their summers, with water access, restrooms, and changing areas for swimmers. It can be reached by bus #6 which stops at Piazza Oberdan and the Trieste Centrale train station.
San Giusto - Cathedral and Castle
A walk on the Castle ramparts and bastions gives a complete panorama of the city of Trieste, its hills and the sea. The Cathedral is free, but donations are appreciated. Be on the lookout for the remains of the Roman monumental gateway inside the Campanile.
  • Museum
  • Capitoline Temple
  • Church of San Giovanni
  • San Michele al Carnale
  • WWI Altar
  • Roman forum and civic building
  • Castle of San Giusto.
  • Park of Remembrance World War I commemorative park,
  • Lapidary Garden. Contains Roman and Medieval relics discovered in Trieste. In it stands a Cenotaph to the archaeologist Johann Winckelmann, father of neoclassicism, who died in Trieste in 1769. Access to the Museum of the History of Art is found here.
The Miramare Castle 
Accessed by boarding a westbound bus 6 from a number of places including a stop at the Trieste train station.
  • Maximilian's chambers and those of his consort, Carlota of Belgium; the guest rooms; the information room telling the history of the Castle and the Park's construction;
  • Duke Amadeo of Aosta's apartment with furnishings from the 1930s in the Rationalist style.
  • Throne room
  • The park offers the public a chance for an interesting stroll among botanical species and an important collection of sculptures dotted along its numerous paths. Admission is free.
  • the Stables, a building which was recently restored and is now used for temporary exhibitions;
  • the Old Greenhouses
  • Little Castle

What to do in Trieste, Italy

Take the tram #2 from Piazza Oberdan to Opicina. Alight at the Obelisco, and take a walk along the pedestrian Strada Vicentina (better known as Strada Napoleonica - don't ask for Strada Vicentina if you are asking for directions, nobody will know what it is) to Prosecco. The views are superb. The tram has been recently fixed and is doing the entire route again. Do not miss it if you come to Trieste!
  • Aquamarina, Molo Fratelli Bandiera 1, 040 301100. open swim M/W/F 07:40 - 09:00 - 10:20 - 11:40 - 13:00 15:40 - 17:00 - 18:20 - 19:40 - 21:00, T/Th 10:20 - 11:40 - 15:40 - 17:00, Sa 07:40 - 09:00 - 10:20 - 14:20, 15:40 - 17:00 - 18:20, Su 07:40 - 09:00 - 10:20 - 11:40. Public pool on the waterfront near the Lantern. Facilities include saltwater pools, steam rooms, dry saunas, other amenities. There is a bar in the building. Water aerobics, swimming classes, and a variety of other activities are available
American Corner Trieste and Associazione Italo-Americana di Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Piazza Sant'Antonio Nuovo 6, tel: 040 63 03 01, email: The AIA/American Corner has an ongoing calendar of events for kids and adults ranging from lectures to movie nights to Italian classes. Wifi available. Their blog has a daily calendar listing of activities. Open Monday-Friday 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Hours reduced during summer, so check the websites.
  • Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, Riva 3 Novembre 1, 040 672 2111, toll-free 800 09 03 73. A full season of opera, operetta, and ballet, with programs for young people as well.  
Annual Events:
Trieste Film Festival is an international film festival held in January. Films are shown at several venues around the city, including Teatro Miela and Sala Tropcovich. Films often have English subtitles.
Bavisela the Maratona d'Europa is held every year in early May. It features a marathon and a half marathon, as well as a non-competitive walk for families and young people.
Barcolana is an annual sailing race held in the Gulf of Trieste the second Sunday of October. It is one of the largest races in the world, in operation since 1969. Over 2,000 sailing vessels participate.
Trieste Science+Fiction is an annual Science Fiction film festival, usually held in November. It features new and classic science fiction and fantasy films from around the world.

What to eat and drink in Trieste, Italy


The cuisine of Trieste reflects the living traditions of the many populations that have passed through the city over the centuries. In the city's restaurants, called "buffets", you can find delicious examples of the local Austrian and Slavic tradition.
  • Caldaia Traditional dish of boiled pork.
  • Jota a soup prepared with pork, potatoes, cabbage, and finely-ground beans
  • Gnocchi in the style of Austrian dumplings made with everything from ham to stuffed with plums.
  • Brodetto Fish soup
  • Risotto Creamy rice dish
  • Sardoni in savor flavored pilchards
  • Salads common favorites here include chicory and rocket
  • Bruscandoli
  • Farmers of the plateau who had been allowed by an imperial decree to sell their own products during a period of 8 days, organized the so-called osmizze, where it is possible to taste local wines and products, such as Monrupino's tabor cheese and honey from San Dorligo.
  • The pastry shops in Trieste offer delicious local varieties of the most famous Austrian cakes: Sacher torte, krapfen, strucolo cotto and strucolo de pomi (local varieties of strudel), chiffeletti (cookies made with flour, eggs, and potatoes and fried in oil)
  • During Easter, you can taste the pinza, a sweet leavened bread that many women still prepare at home and take to the bakery to be cooked. Richer variants of this are the titola, decorated with a hard-boiled egg, putizza, and presnitz. Fritole, pancakes stuffed and fried in oil and fave, small round cookies made with almonds and aromas are typical during Carnival.
  • Pizzeria Al Barattolo, Piazza S. Antonio Nuovo 2. Considering that this restaurant is located right at the Grand Canale, is has very moderate prices (and of course a beautiful view).
  • In the first little alley to the left of the Piazza Unità d'Italia, leading towards the hill, there are several small pasta restaurants and bistros.
Pizzerias can be easily found in the town center, as in Viale XX Settembre, for instance.
Other typical restaurants include:
  • TRATTORIA SUBAN (2/d, via Comici) tel: 040 54368
  • DANEU - L'ANGOLO DEI CILIEGI (76, Strada per Vienna) tel: 040 211241
  • TRATTORIA DA GIOVANNI (14, v. S. Lazzaro) tel: 040 639396
  • AI FIORI (Piazza Hortis n° 7)Tel. 040/300633
Buffets are restaurants that serve pork everything. Lunch is usually sandwiches, with pork of varying types, mustard, and some grated horseradish (kren). Sometimes there are sides like breaded and fried zucchini or eggplant. Dinners are huge platters of pork with kraut, mustard, and bread.
Buffet da Pepi has been in operation for over 120 years. Via della Cassa di Risparmio, tel: 040 366858, just across the street from Piazza della Borsa. Lunch here is inexpensive.
For fish restaurants, notable points of reference are:
  • TRATTORIA NERODISEPPIA (23, v. Cadorna) tel: 339 1539039, 040 301377
  • AL BRAGOZZO (22, riva Sauro). Tel: 040 314111
  • RISTORANTE CITTA' DI CHERSO (6, v. Cadorna) tel: 040 366044
  • RISTORANTE MENAROSTI Menarosti (Via del Toro n° 12). Tel. 040/661077
  • ALLE RONDINELLE (Via Orsera n° 17) Tel. 040/820053
  • HOSTARIA BANDIERETTE (Riva Nazario Sauro n° 2) Tel. 040/300686
  • AL BAGATTO (Via Venezian n° 2) Tel. 040/301771
  • AL GRANZO (Piazza Venezia n° 7) Tel. 040/306788
  • ANTICA OSTERIA LE BARETTINE (Via Basione 3) Tel. 040 3229528 - Cel. 339 6379781
If you want to stay on the cheap, there are more than thirty kebab-shops spread through the city. Otherwise, you can easily find pizza slices. There is a burger king in Viale XX Settembre 25 and a McDonald's at the ground floor of the mall "Torri D'Europa".


Some local specialties include:
  • Frambua - from framboise - mint and tamarind
  • Grappa
  • Terrano wine other popular local wines include the Rosso, Malvasia, and the white Vitovska Garganja.
Coffee has been an important part of Trieste since the 1700s. Some of the most famous caffè are known as much for their famous patrons as their food and drink, include:
  • Caffè Tommaseo, Riva 3 Novembre
  • Caffè San Marco, via Battisti, 18. Since 1914, San Marcho is as popular with today's students and tourists as it was in the days of Saba and Giotti.
  • Caffè Pasticceria Pirona One of the few remaining petesserias (cake shops that also sell coffee and liqueur, as well as beverages made from coffee) to have retained its Viennese charm. One of its most devoted customers was none other than James Joyce.
  • Caffè degli Specchi, Piazza Unità d'Italia
  • Chocolat via Cavana 15 A must for hot chocolate in winter and chocolate ice cream in summer.
Trieste has a strong passion for coffee: its inhabitants' consumption per person is twice the national average. Unlike in the rest of Italy, nobody will order just "a coffee", but: "un nero” (an espresso), "un capo" (an espresso with hot milk in a cup), "un capo in b" (an espresso with hot milk in a glass) "caffè latte" (in Trieste it is used as a synonim for "capuccino"), "gocciato" or "goccia" (literally "drop", an espresso with a just a tiny quantity of milk). It is not customary in Trieste to drink coffee with liquor.

If you are more into beer, here is a list of pubs:
  • BIRRERIA BOUNTY PUB (Via Pondares, 6) Tel.: 040 762952
  • TNT PUB (Via della Ginnastica, 46) Tel.: 040 661116
  • THE DUKE PUB (Via Giuseppe Vidali 2/b) Tel.: 328 366 6902.
  • THE TENDER PUB (Via Giulio Cesare, 1) Tel.: 040 305654
  • GULLIVER PUB (Rotonda del Boschetto 3/1)
  • MEA CULPA PUB (Via Giulia 57) Tel: 040577641.
  • OLD LONDON PUB (Via Caprin 17/b)
  • LA PREFERITA (Viale XX settembre 29) Tel: 3388169889
  • FOOTLIGHTS (Piazza Venezia, 4) Tel: 040 300450
  • BIRRERIA PAULANER (22, v. Riva Sauro)Tel: 040 317912
If you are a tea-drinker in the land of coffee, you have a couple of nice options.
  • Ginger Tea & Cakes (Via dell'Annunziata 3) Tel: 040 2604275 This small, intimate place has a variety of loose leaf teas by the pot, cupcakes, pies, and cheesecakes. They also sell spices and teaware.
  • Tea Time (Via del Monte 1) Tel: 040 2458403 A larger variety of teas and more space to sit and sip. Snacks, sweets, and tea-tasting sessions in the heart of the city. They have a blog covering events and news in the shop.
  • LA TAVERNA DEL GIGLIO (Via Lazaretto Vecchio 20/b) Tel: 040 307536 Burger joint with a surf theme. They make their own grappa in 40 flavors.

Shopping in Trieste, Italy

During the 1970s and 1980s, Trieste was the number one shopping destination for tourists from Yugoslavia.
  • Ghetto and Piazza Unità, for Biedermeier and Liberty furniture, Bohemian glassware and Austrian silverware, and other fine antiques.
  • Glassworks from France and Venice.
  • Paintings
  • Prints and antique engravings as well as books, postcards, and historical photographs.
  • Mercato Coperto, Via Giosuè Carducci 36, 040 762 919. Open 08:00-17:00, Mon 08:00-14:00. Closed Sun. The Mercato Coperto is a covered market with stalls for food, including organics (bio). There is a wide selection of flowers, fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and cheese on the ground floor, along with a bar, and a souvenir booth. The first floor has clothing, antiques, books, and a variety of other items. The ground floor food booths are generally only open in the mornings but the upstairs shops are open in the afternoons as well. 

Safety in Trieste, Italy

Trieste has a reputation of being one of Italy's safest cities possibly due to it being a border city (and therefore formerly full of border police and other security services). There are very few problems with regards to walking the streets at night, taking taxis or pickpocketing. Obviously, normal precautions should be taken and like elsewhere in Italy be careful of drivers who tend to think that they own the road.

Language spoken in Trieste, Italy

The region of Friuli Venezia Giulia is officially quadrilingual (Italian, Slovene, Friulian or Eastern Ladin and German). Signs are often only Italian in Trieste, as the city itself is generally Italian speaking and the local dialect (a form of the Venetian language) is called Triestine. Surrounding villages and towns are often inhabited by mostly Slovene speakers. Residents, and those working in the city, can easily find free courses to learn Italian or Slovene or German or English and many other languages.


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