Trieste is one of the most underrated cities in all of Europe. It is a beautiful destination to visit on a custom Italy tours that offers excellent cuisine, a great dose of culture, castles and romance. Tourists crowds are all head to majestic Venice just 70 miles down the coast, unfairly ignoring Trieste. Verdant hills on one side and the sea on the other, with the snow-capped Dolomites looming on the horizon, few European cities can boast the setting as beautiful as Trieste’s.
For seven centuries, the city served as the most important sea port of the Habsburg Empire. The splendor of those days can be still glanced around the city. Its expansive central square, one of the largest in Europe, Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, surrounded on three sides by imposing buildings from the Hapsburg era opens onto the Adriatic Sea. The best way to explore uncrowded Trieste is to loiter along its well-planned streets and elegant squares, savoring its distinctive Austrian flavor. Start from the 14th-century Cathedral of San Giusto, with its beautiful Byzantine mosaics. Nearby there are scattered remains of a Roman forum, a reminder of the cities past as a Roman colony.
Visit a few of the grand mansions that house some of the city’s museum with opulent decor and quality art collections. Museo Revoltella is home to great archaeological finds of the Baron Pasquale Revoltella, who was one of Trieste’s fabulously rich residents. A short stroll up the hill is the Museo Sartorio, where you can admire the Trittico di Santa Chiara, a fabulous 14th-century altarpiece and a splendid collection of 254 drawings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Don’t miss the princely residence Castle Miramare overlooking the sea, five miles from the city center.
Trieste has myriads of cafes serving excellent coffee and Viennese-style pastries. Cafe Tommaseo (Piazza Tommaseo, 4c) is the oldest of the Viennese-style cafes in the city, which used to be a haunt of Habsburg and many other illustrious locals Another place with a great old-fashioned vibe is Cafe San Marco (Via Cesare Battisti, 18) was a favorite meeting place of James Joyce, who spent a lot of time in Trieste, and his literary friends.
Photos by: Ton Zijlstra, Flavio Ricci, Filip Knežić