Border towns really know how to bring it in terms of overall tourist appeal. No, not border towns that straddle Mexico and the United States or evoke visions of the Old West but rather, world class gems like elegant Trieste.
The former Austro-Hungarian stronghold is actually in Italy, on the border of Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea and Gulf of Trieste coast. Put all that together and you have one exquisite, pretty city. A diverse, multi-lingual minor metropolis of just over 200,000 people, Trieste is the capital of the marvelous Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, one of five in the country with special autonomous status. A veritable country within Italy itself, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is awash with spectacular heritage, natural beauty, traditional agriculture and idyllic comuni.
Take the time to tour the area the next time you visit Italy and of course, tuck into the sumptuous feast that is Trieste. Here are ten must-see attractions to guide you on the way.
10. Miramare Castle
Officially known as the Historical Museum of the Castle of Miramare, the sublime Trieste landmark is exceptional, no matter what you call it. Built for Austrian Archduke Ferdinand from 1856 to 1860, the palace grounds encompass a 22 hectare park and dramatic seashore cliffs. The castle museum takes visitors on a tour of the grand interior.
Built on the foundation of a 6th century Roman church, the Cathedral of San Giusto is a magnificent stone structure in Trieste that dates back in parts, to the 9th century. The cathedral contains a museum, collection of medieval art and old burial chapel.
Trieste was once home to one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in all of Italy. The Second World War of course, decimated the minority population and today, the grand monument that reminds visitors of the city’s vital Jewish heritage is the Israelite Temple, or Synagogue.
7. Roman Ruins
While the town museum of Trieste has a splendid collection of Roman artifacts cultivated from beneath the city over the decades, you can still see the remnants of the ancient past outside. The Roman Baths of Trieste are the most famous set of ruins in the region.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in addition to neighbor Slovenia, is full of rock formations and caves. The Grotta Gigante is by far the most popular with visitors today. The cave complex is the most immense in the world, with one cavity large enough to fit St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
It took over 200 years to complete San Giusto Castle. The 15th century fortress looms over Trieste and is the focal point of a complex that contains many landmarks and the Cathedral of San Giusto.
4. The Coast
Trieste’s history is one of maritime commerce and transportation. The city is first and foremost, a port city and as a result, visitors should venture to the watery frontier. From the Porto Vecchio to less hectic refuges on the Adriatic Sea and Gulf of Trieste, the coast is the place to be.
Pedestrian Piazza Unita d’Italia is the heart and soul of Trieste. Full of character, charm and gorgeous architecture, the giant square is the ideal place to people-watch and slip into the pace of daily, local life in the city.
Though a remnant of the Fascist Regime in Italy, Trieste’s Faro della Vittoria, or Victory Lighthouse, is nonetheless one of the chief symbols of the city today.
A former Nazi concentration camp, Museo della Risiera di San Sabba is now well-preserved as a museum and chronicles Trieste’s trials during the Second World War.
Check out hotel deals in beautiful Trieste.