Southern Europe Traveller's Guide - Central Trieste - Architectural Guide
 Guide to Central Trieste 
This is not simply a piazza, but the very heart of Trieste: its lounge, its soul, its business centre, as well as the commercial and political centre. Very busy of course during the week , it plays an important role on Sundays mornings when thousands of people descend on this large European piazza that overlooks the sea. Here, they drink coffee, meet friends, colleagues and acquaintances, all in a very unique atmosphere. The piazza also accommodates many concerts, festivals, shows and exhibitions.
 Shaped in a perfect rectangle and surrounded by amazing palaces: the Municipio with its clock tower; the Stratti, housing General Insurance and also the Caffè degli Specchi and the Palazzo del Lloyd Trestino, which once housed the oldest Italian navigation company. Finally there is also the Prefettura or government palace and the lovely liberty building that houses the fine Duca d'Aosta hotel. And at the piazza.'s centre stands the 18th century Quattro Continenti fountain, the former terminal of the Maria Teresa d'Austria acqueduct. It would be a grave sin to visit Trieste and not having a coffee in this lovely piazza.The present set up of the Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia dates back to the nineteenth century. A vast rectangle overlooking the sea, the piazza contains the Town Hall at its far end, an electic construction of extreme interest by Giuseppe Bruni (1877). Nineteenth century buildings line up the two sides of the piazza, such as the Palazzo Modello by Bruni, the Casa Stratti (housing the Caffé degli Specchi), the Palazzo del Governo (Palace of the Government), the Lloyd Triestino palace by Enrico Ferstel, today's Hotel Duchi d'Aosta by Geiringer and, finally, the most notable Baroque building in Trieste, namely the Palazzo Pitteri by Ulderico Moro (1790). Immediately opposite is the Mazzoleni fountain (1750), representing the 4 Continents known at the time, with Charles VI's Baroque column next to it.
Der  Hauptplatz oder Piazza Grande, ist der größte in Triest, am Meer, und geht aufs vergangene Jahrhundert zurück. Der Platz entwickelte sich vom Mittelalter an bruchstückhaft ohne besonderen Stil.
Als die Stadt einen ökonomischen Aufschwung erlebte, wurde auch der Platz umgewandelt,d.h. verbessert. Die ehemaligen Gebäude, außer Palazzo Pitteri, wurden niedergerissen und dort wurde ein regelmäßiger und monumentaler Platz geschaffen.
Diesen weiten rechteckigen Platz umschließt an der gegenüberliegenden Seite das Rathausgebäude (Giuseppe Bruni, 1877). Seitlich umfangen den Platz Bauten aus dem 19. Jahrhundert, wie Palazzo Modello (G. Bruni,1871), Casa Stratti mit Fassadendekoration von 1872 (seit seiner Eröffnung war es der Standort eines der berühmtesten Cafes der Stadt: Caffè degli Specchi), Palazzo del Governo (1905) mit bunten und goldenen Mosaiksteinen geschmückt, gegenüber Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino, ehmals Lloyd Austriaco, das heutige Hotel Duchi d'Aosta, und schließlich Palazzo Pitteri (U. Moro,1790), das älteste Gebäude des Platzes.
Vor letzterem Gebäude steht ein Brunnen (Mazzoleni,1750), der die damals bekannten vier Kontinente darstellt, daneben erhebt sich die Ehrensäule Karls VI, dessen linken Hand den Hafen zeigt.
Palazzo Pitteri, der Brunnen und die Säule sind die einzigen Erinnerungen an das 18. Jh., und bilden eine barockische Ecke auf dem Platz.

The Stock Exchange Square

The current home of the Chamber of Commerce constitutes one of Trieste's most important examples of neo-classical architecture. The building presents itself as a Greek temple in doric style adorned with a spacious portico and four large columns and a bell tower at the top.

On the ground floor of the façade, stand four 1806 statues, works of Venetian artists, representing Europe, Africa, (sculptured by Bartolomeo Ferrari), Asia (by Domenico Banti) and America (by Antonio Bosa, pupil of Canova). On the level with the windows on the nobles' floor however, the facade is decorated with statues depicting Vulcan and Mercury and on the balustrade we find the Danube, the genie of Trieste, Minerva and Neptune, protector of seafarers. This is one of the city's main piazzas and is next to the Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia, Trieste's life and soul: the Specchi, Tommaseo an Tergesteo cafes are all within a 100m radius.
From the magnificent Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia the Capo di Piazza leads to Piazza della Borsa.
On the left before Piazza della Borsa is the great square building called the Tergesteo, formerly customs headquar­ters and the city governor's residence. While the exterior presents simplelines (including marble statue groups representing Trade, Industry and Shipping), the interior is built to a remarkable design: a huge glass vaulted cross, designed by A. Buttazzoni and constructed by F Bruyn between 1840 and 1842. It also acts a covered walkway between Piazza della Borsa and Piazza del Teatro.
Triangular in shape, Piazza della Borsa is bounded by buildings from a range of epochs and in varying styles.
The square gets its name from the Old Stock Exchange (Borsa Vecchia), now the seat of the Chamber of Commerce.
 It was built (1799-1806) to a design by A. Mollari. In neo-Classical style, the building has a pronaos marked out by four great Doric columns which form a large con­course. On the ground-level exterior are statues symbolizing Asia, Vulcan, Europe, Africa, Mercury and America.
The top of the pediment bears sculp­tures representing the Genius of Trieste, Neptune, Minerva and the Danube. The bas-reliefs symbolizing Trade, Shipping, Industry and Plenty are by A. Basa, who was also responsible, with his son, for the historical scenes decorating the grand central salon.
Seen from the front of the Old Stock Exchange, to the right is Palazzo Dreher (The New Stock Exchange), whose sumptuously curving façade gives it a striking presence in the square. In contrast with its rich­ly decorated exterior is a soberly functional interior (1929), designed by the architect Geiringer after the style of G. Pulitzer Finali who, with the Stuard studio, formed the mod­ern Trieste style of the time, especially in naval architecture.
Palazzo Dreher stands at the beginning of Via Cassa di Risparmio, where is the seat of the bank of the same name, designed in 16th-century style by E. Nordio. Opposite Palazzo Dreher is the Renaissance-style Casa Rusconi, designed by G. Scalmanini. The third floor of the building houses the fashion and style studio of Anita Pittoni, an innovatory tex­tile designs since the end of the 19205. In the opposite corner, at the junction of Corso Italia and Via Roma, is the Palazzina Romano, a sober specimen of 18th-century architecture restored by G. Polli in 1919 and 1920.
Opposite the Old Stock Exchange the green building of the Casa Bartoli (1905, designed by M. Fabiani) informs us of a direct contact with the Wagnerschule, to which Fabiani belonged. Housing shops and flats, the Casa is distin­guished by broad glass surfaces and a graffiti decoration bearing witness to the local varia­tion of Art Nouveau.
On the right of Corso Italia from Piazza della Borsa begins the Piacentini complex (1935­1939), which stands as the most striking archi­tectural manifestation of the urban planning associated with the large-scale demolition of the old city in the 19305. Cutting an imposing figure in the area's architectural fabric, this building has a long central arcade decorated, as are its entrances, with frescoes by Carlo Sbisà, an artist who combined echoes of the Renaissance with the contemporary spirit through a personal reinvention.
The triangle marked out by the buildings described here contains a column sur­mounted by a bronze statue of Habsburg Emperor Leopold I, erected to commemorate his visit to Trieste.

Am Opernplatz - Piazza del Teatro Lirico dell'Opera


Partendo da Piazza Libertà (che si trova all'uscita della Stazione centrale dei Treni, a due minuti dall'Hotel Milano), si imbocca la grande arteria che da un lato costeggia il mare, mentre dall'altro è delimitata dalle belle facciate degli storici palazzi della cosiddetta "Città Nuova", overo del Borgo Teresiano. Sul fronte sinistro, i numerosi ed architettonicamente belli edifici lungo il percorso, lasciano spazio prima al Canal Grande, una volta molto più lungo e largo, che ospitava velieri e grossi mercantili, simbolo del forte sviluppo economico di un tempo dovuto all'istituzione del Porto Franco. Il Canale ospita oggi imbarcazioni di piccole dimensioni, protagoniste, assieme alla Chiesa di S. Antonio, della classica cartolina che potete vedere anche in questa pagina. Ma uno dei simboli più importanti della città è senz'altro la Piazza Grande, una delle più grandi piazze affacciate direttamente sul mare. Affacciati alla piazza il Palazzo del Municipio, il palazzo Modello, il palazzo della Luogotenenza  e quello del Lloyd Austriaco. Situata  in testa alla piazza, la fontana barocca dei Quattro Continenti. Vicino, la statua dell'Imperatore d'Austria  Carlo VI, che, con la proclamazione del Porto Franco, aveva promosso lo sviluppo della città.


ein Bild von Triest

Ein farbenprächtiges, wohl etwas übertriebenes Bild von Triest und seinen Bewohnern gibt ein Bericht aus dem Jahr 1817: »Und welch buntes Gewühle von Menschen aus allen Zonen! - welche Vermischung aller Völker und Nationen unter einander! Amerikaner und Teutsche, Britten und Neger, der gelenkige Franzose und der indolente Türke, Tuneser und polnische Juden, - ohne Unterschied durch einander gemischt, - wahrlich ein sonderbarer Anblick. 

In vertraulichen Gesprächen steht Asiate und Europäer, Christ und Heide, der krausköpfige Afrikaner und der weiße Normann bey einander, und Nationen, die die Achse der Erde von einander scheidet, oder die sich seit Jahrtausenden verabscheuen und verfolgen, gesellen sich hier in ihren Individuen freundschaftlich zusammen, und treiben friedlichen Handel mit einander. [...] Hinweggebannt sind Nationalhaß und Religionsfanatismus, kein Unterschied gilt zwischen Glauben, Sitten, Kleidung und Gesichtsfarbe.«
Triest war im 19. Jahrhundert eine mitteleuropäische Metropole und Österreichs Tor zur Welt - reich, prächtig und geprägt von einem kosmopolitischen Kaufmannsgeist, mehr an Wien und Budapest erinnernd als an italienische Städte. 
Einer der spannendsten Schätze von Triest verbirgt sich hinter der unscheinbaren Fassade des großbürgerlichen Wohnhauses in der Via Imbriani 5: für 1,50 €  Eintritt kann man hier einen Ausflug in eine längst versunkene Welt unternehmen, in die original erhaltene 14- Zimmer-Wohnung eines wohlhabenden jüdischen Kaufmanns namens Mario Morpurgo, der hier auf 600 Quadratmetern zwischen Samttapeten, Kristall-Lüstern, Rokoko-Möbeln und Intarsien-Parkett mit Gattin und Schwester bis zu seinem Tod residierte.
Er vermachte seine vollständig erhaltene Wohnung der Kommune. Die machte daraus ein einzigartiges Museum, das bis heute aussieht, als hätte der Hausherr sein Domizil gerade erst verlassen - bis hin zum Nachttopf im Schlafzimmer.

In parallelo al Molo Audace si trova il Molo Bersaglieri, che accoglie la Stazione Marittima, tipico edificio degli anni Trenta, da diversi anni ormai trasformato in Centro Congressi. Segue poi il molo Pescheria, alla cui radice sta un edificio racchiuso in una forma decorativa liberty. Ospita tutt'ora il visitabile l'Aquario Marino, e l'ormai dismessa Pescheria. Viene poi il Molo Venezia, il primo della "sacchetta" che descrive un ampio arco concluso dalla mole neoclassica della vecchia Lanterna e comprende i moli Sartorio e Fratelli Bandiera. Perciò, giunti all'altro capo delle rive, è visibile la dismessa Stazione ferroviaria di Campo Marzio, spesso location ideale per film d'epoca, in quanto meravigliosa costruzione intatta in stile liberty. Essa ospita al suo interno il Museo Ferroviario.
In un edificio non molto distante viene ospitato invece il Museo del Mare.

Voluto dall'Imperatore Traiano, e costruito tra il I ed il II secolo d.C., il Teatro Romano è oggi ubicato sulla via omonima. Fu portato alla luce non molti anni fa, e precisamente con gli scavi del 1938, assieme a molte statue che ora sono patrimonio artistico dei Civici Musei di Storia ed Arte. E' stato abbastanza recentemente restaurato in modo da essere reso agibile per spettacoli a cielo aperto, anche se il numero delle persone che vi possono essere ospitate è oggi inferiore alle originarie 6.000 unità. Gli spettatori di un tempo ebbero inoltre la possibilità di assistere a meravigliosi tramonti, perchè il mare, a quell'epoca, giungeva fino a lì, a ridosso del teatro.
Dietro al teatro è possibile risalire a piedi la via Donota, e raggiungere la cima del Colle di S. Giusto, che ospita l'omonomo Castello e Basilica .

Davanti al teatro, dove all'epoca c'era il mare, c'è oggi il Palazzo della Questura, dal lato del quale è possibile entrare nel "Ghetto Ebraico", dove gli amanti delle antichità potranno trovare molti negozi di antiquariato interessanti e ben forniti. (vedi scheda del Mercatino dell'antiquariato)
Superata anche questa zona la città vi si aprirà con la vastità della più importante piazza cittadina, Piazza Unità d'Italia, la più grande Piazza europea aperta sul mare.


41 Museums in Trieste


Trieste is very rich in museums: it possesses collections of both great artistic value and historical curiosities. It was the fashion of patronage in the XIX century which enriched the town with collections such as Pasquale Revoltella's donation (1869), which is certainly the most valuable one. He was a very active businessman who often personally took part in the materialization of important works. Suffice it to mention the opening of the Suez Canal, of which he was one of the main financers; so much so that he eventually took up the vicepresidency of the Company. Neoclassicism, Verism, Romanticism, Impressionism, Divisionism, Fauvism, Futurism, Abstractionism: currents of all periods are represented. Since one of the clauses of the legacy envisaged the need to enlarge the section of contemporary art, the Museo Revoltella has recently undergone an extension of the building which houses the collection, on a design by architect Scarpa. Among other museums, the most important one is the Civico Museo di Storia ed Arte (Town Museum of History and Art) on the Colle di San Giusto, where it is possible to admire a collection of archaeology, art, history, economy, craftmanship, ethnography and various curiosities, and which, besides the ancient, medieval and modern lapidaries, presents documents ranging from the Pre-history to the Roman Age, with a medieval appendix. The Civico Museo Sartorio, which was originally a private residence of the XIX century, retains its peculiar feature as the dwelling of a family belonging to the Trieste upper class, always open to refined taste and the collection of objets d'art. Besides a rich library, it contains a splendid collection of drawings and a marvellous oil sketch by Tiepolo. A series of apartments on the first floor is still intact, with the original decorations of a period that gradually developed from Neoclassicism into the ecleptism of the historical styles. The Museo Morpurgo is also worth mentioning, as it still contains the donor's sumptuous furniture. Other town institutions are lodged in the same building, namely the Museo di Storia Patria (Museum of Italian History), with various paintings, prints and objects connected with particular events of the town, and the Stavropoulos Collection, a rich collection of works by Italian and Hungarian artists, of the XIX and XX century in particular.



  Finally a remarkable collection is that of the Fondazione Scaramangà, created on the will of the last member of the old Greek families in order to keep the 6,500 pieces that make it up united, "always at the service of the town and scholars". Palazzo Biserini (1802) in Piazza Hortis contains the Civico Museo di Storia Naturale (Town Museum of Natural History), founded by E. Kock in 1846 and the Biblioteca Civica (Town Library). The latter has 400,000 books approximately, some of which are of great value. The collection of the codes of the town statutes, starting from the one of 1318, is remarkable. Moreover, the Petrarchian codes are invaluable; the 84 volumes were bought and then donated by legacy to the town by Domenco Rossetti. The Civico Museo del Mare (Town Sea Museum), too, has a remote origin (1874). It is sited in the recently restored building of the Lazzaretto di San Carlo (San Carlo Lazar House), where there is a collection of models, relief models, documents, instruments, chart of various periods and relics of Giuseppe Ressel, the inventor of the propeller. A curious collection of electric and steam-powered locomotives is held in the old railway station of Campo Marzio, now no longer in use, from which the lines to Central Europe departed. The Museo Etnografico di Servola (Servola Ethnographical Museum) is also peculiar: it collects objects of daly use as memories of traditions and customs. The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica (National Gallery of Ancient Art) is sited in Palazzo Economo, in Piazza Libertà. This Museum has a large number of works from the Venetian and Lombard school, in addition to the works by Crespi, Guardi, Bernini and Canaletto.  Cranach the Old) The monument of Guglielmo Oberdan has been erected in Piazza Oberdan, where the Irredentist from Trieste was arrested and then executed in 1882. The same building also contains the Museo del Risorgimento, a rich collection of evidence of the events which eventually led to the annexation of Trieste to Italy. Finally, in the outskirts, in San Sabba, there is the Risiera, a building used for rice-husking up to 1913, which was then turned first into a Nazi then into a Titoist extermination camp, now a national monument since 1965.



"Trieste is an acquired taste, and a taste so subtle it takes time to acquire, but when it works its particular magic there is no escape."


Walking across the grand piazza one afternoon, I encountered three of the finest buskers I have ever heard, one a young woman playing the zither, with all its echoes of The Third Man, and the other two men - one playing the clarinet, the other the guitar - performing Gershwin so poignantly it took my breath away.

It struck me that they all precisely embodied Trieste's unique charm: its poignancy. There is an air of onomatopoeic tristesse hanging around its once-proud shoulders like a velvet cloak fraying ever so slowly at the edges.

Both sets of buskers were surrounded by small crowds of people actually listening to them, and quietly dipping into their pockets for the privilege.

The grand parade may have passed this city of ghosts and melancholy by, but you can still hear the music in the air - if you just allow yourself time to listen.




A walking tour around Trieste should begin at San Giusto, the largest hill in the city and the site of many buildings which were erected at a time when Trieste was still the ancient Roman city of Tergestum.



 Standing here on this large square, between the cathedral, the medieval castle  ( which has become one of the symbols of Trieste ) and the  remains of the basilica , you will be able to enjoy a spectacular view.




It will take in the gulf, the upland plains and the red roofs of the old houses in the historic city center, leaving you with unforgettable memories of your stay in this easternmost corner of Italy. 



Next, visit the church which was born of the union between the two preceding paleo-Christian basilicas, the castle (an excellent example of a military construction) and then descend towards the sea along the steep, narrow Via della Cattedrale.



 Here, as you approach the oldest part of the city (which the local council has been in the process of restoring in recent years), you will pass the Museum of Art History, the Orto lapidario (memorial garden), the Benedictine monastery of San Cipriano, and, lower down the Roman basilica of San Silvestro.




You will find yourself walking down silent and narrow streets, inhabited predominantly by elderly people, where there are few shops and even fewer cars.





Many of the archeological sites have been excavated, revealing the base of a civil Basilica and an amphitheater. Under the Romans, the well-located port became an important trading site. For the period after the fall of the Roman Empire, only traces of Trieste's history have been preserved, and it seems that the long series of barbarian invasions and eventually the medieval battles for maritime control led to many new rulers and minimal continuity.



 In the late 18th century, Trieste emerged again as an important port under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and this coupling had a profound impact on the cultural, linguistic, gastronomic and military history of Trieste. One of Trieste's (and arguably Italy's) most moving poets, Umberto Saba, described his hometown in his poetry and always observed the multi-layered history that was part of its past and present.




Der Triester Neuklassizismus beweist eindeutig, wie eine Kunstsprache untrennbar an ihre Geschichte gebunden und zugleich deren Ausdruck ist.


Das kaufmännische Bürgertum, das ihre Macht und ihren Reichtum auf diese Weise zum Ausdruck bringen wollte, identifizierte sich mit diesem Stil.



So wurden also die Kirche S. Antonio Taumaturgo, mit ihren einfachen und zugleich imposanten klassizistischen Linien, eine Vielzahl von Wohngebäuden, wie zum Beispiel der am Ufer gelegene Palais Carciotti, sowie die Paläste des Borgo Teresiano (Josephinischen Viertels), das später G. Verdi gewidmete neue Stadttheater, der Börsenpalast und die anglikanische Kirche errichtet. 




Regiert wurde Triest von Fürstbischöfen, die allerdings ab 1081 nach und nach unter die Oberhoheit des Patriarchats von Aquileia kamen und somit ihre Autonomie verloren. Die darauffolgenden Ereignisse sind zum Teil mit der Erbauung des Schlosses von San Giusto verbunden. Sie sind mit Geschehnissen verknüpft, die zu einem Grossteil von gewissen Interessen geleitetet und von den politischen Entschei- dungen der benachbarten Regionen getragen wurden, und sie haben die Freiheit und die Entwicklung der Stadt von Mal zu Mal beeinflusse.

 Die erste urkundliche Erwähnung eines Schlosses geht auf das Jahr 1253 zurück.


Now, leave the coast and head back to the Piazza dell'Unità and then on to the Piazza della Borsa (a pedestrians area containing numerous beautiful buildings) where you will find an old historical café called the Tergesteo which stands beneath the gallery of the same name. Then skirt around the police station until you get to the Teatro Romano. This is a semi-circular construction dating back to the first or second century A.D.

From here, you will reach the commercial heart of Trieste with its shopping streets: Via Mazzini, Corso Italia, Via Carducci and Via Battisti. On Via Battisti you will also find the Caffè San Marco which with its typically Central European atmosphere has always been a favored meeting place for literati and intellectuals, including the writer Claudio Magris). This area is full of the best shops in the city and is always clogged up with traffic.



The Arco di Riccardo is a mere ten minutes walk away from San Giusto. This was erected in 30 B.C. and formed an integral part of the city wall during the Augustine period. If it's lunchtime, you will find a small restaurant (between partially ruined old houses) serving up regional cuisine in a relaxed setting where you can dine inexpensively.
If you continue down the Via Felice Venezian, you will get to the Trieste seafront  facing the sea.  In front, you will see the Station Maritime  a beautiful building dating back to the 1930's which  houses the largest congress center in the province. 



Around fifty or sixty meters away to your right, you will see the Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia which is the largest seaside square in Europe. This piazza is held in very high regard by the people of Trieste, and it is in fact an amazing sight. 

It contains buildings dating back to the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century which house the town hall, the prefecture, the regional council, the Assicurazioni Generali, the Duchi d'Aosta Hotel  one of the city's most elegant  and  a lot of Cafés  which attracts hundreds of people from all over Trieste every day and night. ( Unsurpassed night view of the illuminated Palazzi and of the crowded open air Bars and Cafès....)

 It is, in short the heart of Trieste.






Mehr als nur ein Hauch des alten Habsburg liegt heute noch über dem Landstrich zwischen Grado und Triest. Bis 1918 wehten über dem berühmten Badeort auf der Laguneninsel wie über der geschäftigen Hafenstadt an der oberen Adria die Farben der Donaumonarchie. Triest war im 19. Jahrhundert eine mitteleuropäische Metropole und Österreichs Tor zur Welt: reich, prächtig und geprägt von einem kosmopolitischen Kaufmannsgeist, mehr an Wien und Budapest erinnernd als an italienische Städte.

The Arco di Riccardo is a mere ten minutes walk away from San Giusto. This was erected in 30 B.C. and formed an integral part of the city wall during the Augustine period. If it's lunchtime, you will find a small restaurant (between partially ruined old houses) serving up regional cuisine in a relaxed setting where you can dine inexpensively.

If you continue down the Via Felice Venezian, you will get to the Trieste seafront  facing the sea.  In front, you will see the Station Maritime  a beautiful building dating back to the 1930's which  houses the largest congress center in the province. 

Around fifty or sixty meters away to your right, you will see the Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia which is the largest seaside square in Europe. This piazza is held in very high regard by the people of Trieste, and it is in fact an amazing sight. 


It contains buildings dating back to the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century which house the town hall, the prefecture, the regional council, the Assicurazioni Generali, the Duchi d'Aosta Hotel  one of the city's most elegant  and  a lot of Cafés  which attracts hundreds of people from all over Trieste every day and night. ( Unsurpassed night view of the illuminated Palazzi and of the crowded open air Bars and Cafès....)


 It is, in short the heart of Trieste.

If you continue along the coast in the direction of the train station, you will see evidence of elegant nineteenth-century Trieste: neo-classical and Art Nouveau buildings including the Teatro Verdi , the Carciotti Palace (with its beautiful façade divided by six ionic columns) as well as the Canal Grande (built as a trade route) which runs inland from the sea towards the center of Trieste.



From the large jetty on your left, you will be able to take in an unsurpassed night view of the illuminated coast. As the poet Umberto Saba wrote, the beauty of Trieste is in its variety; every corner you turn is like entering a different continent. You will find Italy, the South, Austria, the East, the Levant  with its market traders in red fez's and lots more besides.




Walking down the Riva Nazario Sauro, towards the old Lanterna, we come across the Stazione Marittima, converted into a modern Conference Centre and a brick-red construction dominated by a small bell-tower. This is the Pescheria Centrale (the Central Fish-market), which the locals confidentially call "Santa Maria del Guato". On its side is the entranceway to the Aquarium, with its collection of marine fauna. With the pulling down of the medieval walls and the reclamations of the ancient salines, the eighteenth century saw a radical reorganization of the city, ordered by Maria Theresa of Austria, the resolute empress who gave a decisive impulse to the economic development of Trieste, turning it into one of the main ports in Europe. On those buildable areas snatched from the sea, around the canal where sailing-ships would moor, loaded with goods fromm all over the world, is the Borgo Teresiano, the first stage of an innovative process which was bound to affect the architectural development of the city. The houses, in fact, do not provide many Baroque or Rococo examples, style which were spread all over Europe, but on the contrary it is the Neo-classic style which prevails. To begin with, the houses belonged to entrepeneurs and traders who used the various storeys for their profession (the ground floors as warehouses, the second floors as offices), their families (private flats on the first floors and top floors for the staff and servants) and the social class they belonged to was easily identifiable. A city undergoing such a rapid development with a remarkable use of economic resources was bound to attract a large number of skilled craftsmen and sculptors, who embellished their works with decorations, statues and bas-reliefs. Among the buildings worthy of attention is the imposing Palazzo Carciotti by Matteo Pertsch, overlooking the sea. Today, it has become the headquarters of the Harbour Office. Further significant examples in the Neoclassic style are provided by the Rotonda Panzera, which took its name after the peculiar outline of its façade (Matteo Pertsch -1818) and the church of S. Antonio Taumaturgo planned by Pietro Nobile and last noteworthy Neo-classic construction in Trieste, consecrated in 1849. In the Piazza della Borsa (the Stock-Exchange Square) the palace by A. Mollary (1806), bearing the same name, today houses the Chamber of Commerce, with a four-columned portico and allegoric statues decorating its façade. The statues represent Asia, Volcano, Europe, Mercury, Africa and America. At the top of the palace are the statues of Neptune and Minerva, the Genius of Trieste and the Danube. The massive building to its left is the Tergesteo, erected in 1842, with its ground floor crossed by a cross-vaulted arcade which, designed as a business centre, was subsequently used as Stock Exchange and today has become one of the citizens' favourite meeting places. The Palazzo Dreher can be seen on the right-hand side and it is here that the Stock Exchange was moved in 1928. Further to the right, two remarkable buildings can be observed: the Casa Rusconi and the present head-office of the Credito Italiano, one of the few examples of Baroque architecture in Trieste. A bronze statue of Leopold I, emperor of Austria, dominates the square from the top of a column. The appearance of Art Nouveau in Trieste is related to Max Fabiani's protorationalism, a kind of reaction against the omnipresence of historical styles. Structural simplicity, rational distribution of space, lightly decorated façades are the main features of Fabiani's work, which can be admired in the beautiful Casa Bartoli in the Piazza della Borsa (1905). Pronounced arkes and window paintings make possible the coexistence of the Casa Bartoli with the building of the Bank of America and Italy (Costaperaria, (1912) the entrance of which is guarded by two naturalistic-style bronze statues. Once again, in the Viale XX Settembre, two buxom female figures support cinema Eden's façade, which provides evidence that the Trieste architectural trend, though looking at Vienna and Milan for cultural inspiration, always shows some original features. Depaoli is the architect of the building at no. 22 in the Corso (1908) and Casa Smolars (1907) on the corner of the Via Dante and the Via Mazzini.




The '30s mark an historically important moment for architecture, and not only in Italy. A well-structured and magniloquent complex by Piacentini belongs to this period (1935) and stands right opposite the ruins of the ancient Roman Theatre. Brought to light in 1938, the latter was built between the first and the second century A.D. thanks to the munificence of Quintus Petronius Modestus, emperor Traianus's procurator and flamen who was born in Trieste. Lying on the slope of the hill, in the Greek fashion, the amphitheatre was able to hold about six thousand spectators and the fixed proscenium, which used to be decorated with statues that today are, in part, preserved at the Museo Civico di Storia ed Arte, at the time looked onto the sea. In the ancient Via Donota, which runs behind the Roman Theatre, the ruins of the tower and the medieval gate of the same name can be found. Proceding to the left is the Tor Cucherna the best preserved tower of the fourteenth century walls. The entranceway to the small yard of San Cipriano opens at the end of the street. The church belongs to the adjacent Benedictine monastery of San Cipriano, which ever since the fifteenth century has given hospitality to the enclosed nuns of the Cella of Trieste, founded in 1278. A gentle deviation leads to the tiny church of San Silvestro - which today belongs to the Helvetic and Waldensian Rite - a unique example of linear Romanesque of balanced proportions as well as the most ancient, totally preserved, house of worship. It is held to have been built on the spot where two local martyrs, Eufemia and Tecla, used to live. Immediately next to it, there is the most attractive and imposing Baroque, façade in Trieste: S. Maria Maggiore, also called "dei Gesuiti". Started in 1627, on the plan by the Jesuit Giacomo Briani, it was completed in 1682. The tradition to ascribe the construction of the building to the better known Father Andrea Pozzo is to be referred to a subsequent and important extension of the church. Behind San Silvestro, through the alleys of the Città Vecchia (the Old Town), the Arco di Riccardo, an Augustan gate of the walls erected in 33 B.C. rises in the Piazzetta Barbacan. Not far from here, in the Via Madonna del Mare, the ruins of the ancient homonymous basilica, destroyed in 1783, deserve being admired. Here, two layers of mosaics lie one on top of the other. The original one, with geometrical patterns, is made up of white and gray tesserae. The upper mosaic, on the contrary, is polychromous, with a variety of often original geometric and phytoform patterns, among which is a noteworthy series of inscriptions representing the first documents on the oldest christian community, the "sancta ecclesia tergestina", and the close spiritual and material relations with the Aquilieia community. Near the Roman Theatre, the Antiquarium is a further place of particular interest where brought to light in the course of recent excavations. Further up is San Giusto Cathedral, which with its stones, ornaments and vestments is an open book on the city's history.