The “little Vienna on the sea”
A vacation to Italy with MSC Cruises is the perfect chance to visit the regional capital of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Framed by green hills and white limestone cliffs Trieste looks out over the blue Adriatic, offering an idyllic panorama from its hilltop citadel, at least when the gale-force Bora winds aren’t blasting you off the seafront. But in any weather, there’s a distinct atmosphere of grandeur with a cosmopolitan twist.
The city’s main squares are adorned with spectacular Neoclassical buildings, and the much-photographed canal, clustered with open-air cafés, is a reminder that, just like Venice and its lagoon, this city has enjoyed a glorious seafaring past, too. The heart of modern Trieste is in the grid-like streets of the Borgo Teresiano, but no visit would be complete without a climb to the top of its hill, San Giusto, named for its patron saint and with the best views for miles around.
At the very summit of San Giusto, overlooking the remnants of the Romanforum, is the Castello (Castle), a fifteenth-century Venetian fortress. Its small museum houses archeological finds, and an extensive weapons and armory collection. The tiny remnant of the Città Vecchia (Old Town) lies between the castle hill and the Stazione Marittima below. The area is delightful for a stroll, and farther down Via della Cattedrale, the tiny, early Romanesque San Silvestro is worth a look as the city’s oldest extant church.
To the north of the old center, Trieste’s “new” town, the Borgo Teresiano, is imposingly laid out in a Neoclassical style imported from nineteenth-century Vienna, with wide boulevards and a vast piazza on the waterfront. The focus of the main grid of streets is the picturesque Piazza Sant’Antonio Nuovo, with its small yacht basin overlooked by cafés and dominated by two churches: the Neoclassical hulk of Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo and the smaller, more appealing Serbian Orthodox San Spiridione. The real heart of town, however, is the grandiose Piazza Unità d’Italia, directly below the hill of San Giusto.