Things To Do In Trieste — 10 Must See Trieste Attractions & Places to Visit

A quick guide to the 10 must-see attractions of Trieste to see in 1, 2 or 3 days.

Trieste is a unique city for both its geographical location on the border between different nations in an enclosed area enclosed between the karstic plateau and the Adriatic Sea, and the historical events that interested and influenced it over the years from cultural and architectural point of view.

After the recent works of renovation and restoration, the historic center of Trieste has gained again the elegance and splendor of its past, from the findings of Roman ruins to the splendid palaces dating back to the Austro-Hungarian period.

Definitely worth a visit the main square Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, which currently represents the largest square overlooking the sea in Europe, the San Giusto complex located on the homonymous hill overlooking the town and the Teresian district, evidence of economic and social, cultural development inherited during the Austrian domination. By walking in the center of Trieste you will notice a composite architectural style, with an alternation of neoclassical, eclectic and liberty style buildings that gives to the city a unique and particular charm.

If your visit will take more days, we suggest you to visit the Karst plateau where you can explore and discover a unique environment, characterized by woods, meadows, deserted lands and a fascinating underground world. The environment becomes particularly attractive during autumn when the sumac bushes and the terebinth leaves color the limestone rocks of an intense red.

Of notable interest, nearby Trieste, the small town of Muggia, the village of Duino, with the splendid Castle of the princes Torre e Tasso and the fortress od the White Lady, the exclusive village of Portopiccolo and the Villaggio del Pescatore (fisherman's village) where you can visit the awesome paleontological site.

Trieste ha una scontrosa grazia. Se piace, è come un ragazzaccio aspro e vorace, con gli occhi azzurri e mani troppo grandi per regalare un fiore.

Trieste has a surly grace. If you like it, it's like a rough and voracious bad boy, with blue eyes and too big hands to give a flower. (Umberto Saba)


1. Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia


The main square piazza dell'Unità d'Italia is called the "living room of the city" and is the largest square overlooking the sea in Europe.

 main square piazza dell'Unità d'Italia a Trieste

Piazza dell'Unità d'italia

The main square of Trieste in the past was looking much different than today: it was called St. Peter's Square because of the church built up during 1367 that was located where today stands the building of the City Hall called "Model", and demolished in 1871. It was later renamed Piazza Grande (Big square) then, in 1918, after the annexation of the city to the Kingdom of Italy, it became Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia (square of Italian unity). Initially, the square was also closed on the sea side, from eighteenth century remain a picturesque corner of the palace that was the farmer home of Riccardo Pitteri, owned by Lloyd Adriatico since 1950, the column of Charles VI dated  1728 and the four continents fountain, the work of Mazzoleni of 1751 recently replaced to its original position.

Once demolished the buildings hindering the sea view, throughout the second half of the nineteenth century the view was still partially hidden by the Dogs Garden, eliminated in 1919. In 2001 the square was affected by an important consolidation and restoration work: the facades of nineteenth century buildings of Lloyd Triestino, Stratti and Vanoli Assicurazioni Generali were returned to its ancient grandeur and the floor was paved with large blocks of sandstone that recall the original paving stones. Other buildings overlooking the square have a great historical and architectural interest: Model building so named because it should have been an architectural model for other buildings in the city, the Palace of the Prefecture, characterized by splendid mosaics depicting the coat of arms sabaudia family, Pitteri palace, the oldest building in the square, the Grand Hotel Duchi d'Aosta and the City Hall. Inside the bell tower that dominates the City Hall building two bronze Moors known with name of Micchezze and Jachezze, mark the passage of time with their tolls since January 14th, 1876. At the end of the square, on the side facing the sea rise two monumental pili, by Attilio Selva, on top of which, during the celebrations, waving the civic and national flags. On the pavement a blue LED system indicates the limit reached by the sea before the ancient mandrač was buried.


Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia

Opening hours

Visitable every day of the year

Entry fee

Free entry

2. Miramare Castle


Miramare Castle in Trieste

Miramare castle

During year 1855 the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg was sailing nearby Trieste when, seized by an impetuous bora, he was forced to repair, aboard his war ship "Madonna della Salute" in the Grignano bay, asking for hospitality to a fisherman. The next day, admired by the enchanting beauty of the area, Archduke decided to buy a land and build a Norman style house, made of white blocks of Istrian stone, mandating the engineer Carlo Junker to trace the design on the basis of his brilliant directions. For three years, from Christmas 1860 to the spring of 1864, Miramare was a place of serenity to Maximilian and his wife, Archduchess Charlotte of Belgium, both loved by the citizens of Trieste for their generosity and kindness. When the crown of Mexico had been offered to the young prince he departed from Miramare with no return. After three years of unpopular kingdom Maximilian was executed by a Republican Court in Cerro de las Campanas, near Queretaro. The pain for Maxcimilian death drove the beautiful Carlotta insane: she was vainly begging the pope and kings for the salvation of her husband.

Miramare Castle, as a Maximilian’s bequest, was assigned to the Superintendency of Fine Arts, and from 1955 became a national museum. Today the tourists can visit the rooms of the castle in which are stored furniture and valuable works collected by the Emperor and the lush grounds of the castle where it is possible to admire rare species of trees such as the araucarias of Mexico and the two redwood trees, planted himself Archduke thirty meters high, the Indian bamboo and arbutus Asia.


Viale Miramare

By city bus line n. 6, from the central station, direction Grignano, get off at the "bivio" stop and walk for about 15 minutes to get to the Castle.

During the summer season a maritime connection is also available: starting from the city center (Molo Audace) or from Barcola or from Sistiana, the "Delfino Verde" motorboat takes you directly to Grignano bay.

Opening hours

9.00 - 19.00
every day of the year (ticket office closing at 18.30)
Closing December 25th and January 1st
From September to May, during the closing time before 19.00, access to the Castle is only possible  through the main entrance (sea side - "Viale Miramare").
from Monday to Sunday
8 am - 4 pm from October to February
8.00 am - 7.00 pm from March to September

Entry fee

From 1 April 2018 to 11 May 2018:
- FULL: € 8.00
- REDUCED: € 4.00

From 12 May 2018 to 30 December 2018:
- FULL: € 12.00
- REDUCED: € 6.00


3. San Giusto Hill: castle, basilica and lapidary garden


The hill of San Giusto is the historical landmark of the city since Roman times as witnessed by  the forensic basilica remains located in the square in front of the castle. The hill dominates the city and offers an evocative view of the gulf and the urban system below.


 San Giusto castle in Trieste

San Giusto castle

The hill provides the evidence of a glorious past of faith and history: forensic complex, the cathedral, the castle and the lapidary garden.
The San Giusto castle dominates the city from a hill fortified by defensive walls and bastions that give it the appearance of an impregnable fortress. In 1469 after conquering back the city, Frederick III gave orders to build a castle in order to dampen the rebel spirits of the citizens. Moreover the fortress could be helpful to counter the attacks of the Turks, who pushed more and more frequent raids in the west. They belong to the period Federico II the square tower and the building of two floors headquarters today, on the ground floor independent company director for tourism in Trieste and in the other of the civic museum of the castle.
The San Giusto cathedral has been built from the foundations of two parallel churches dated back respectively to the ninth and twelfth centuries: the Santa Maria Assunta church and the San Giusto church. The current building has a structure with five naves with an external two-gabled facade whose main decorative element consists of an elegant and precious gothic rosette made of white stone. The bell tower which nowaday looks like a squat defense tower, is the remake of the earlier Romanesque bell tower founded on the remains of the Roman propylaeum. Originally, it ended with a sharp cusp topped by an acroterion, the traditional so-called "melon", struck by lightning in 1421 and kept in the nearby Museum of History and Art.
It is noteworthy, inside the cathedral, the large apse mosaic of the San Giusto nave dating back to the XIII century.


Piazza della Cattedrale, 2. By city bus line 24.

Opening hours

weekdays 7.30-12.30, 15.30-19.00
Sundays: 8.00-13.00, 15.30-20.00

SUMMER LEGAL TIME (continued schedule)
weekdays 7.30am-7.00pm
Sundays: 8.00-20.00
Bell tower:
from 1 April to 30 September from 9.00 to 17.30 - every day
March and October - from 9.00 to 12.00 and from 14.30 to 17.00 - every day

For winter timetable visit
Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-5pm, closed on Mondays

Entry fee

It includes Castle, walls, Castle museum and Lapidario Tergestino

full € 3.00
reduced € 2.00

4. Roman theater


 Roman Theater in Trieste

Roman Theater

It represent the best preserved Roman building in Trieste: in Roman times it was situated a few steps from the sea beach, with a beautiful facade divided by niches and marble columns and decorated with life-size statues of which only fragments remain. Another facade, built like a temple, constituted the scene, on the inner side.

Between the two facades there were small dressing rooms where the actors made themselves up and prepared. Unfortunately, the entire complex was despoiled of its marbles, columns and other parts and later fell into decay. Only partly remain the walls of the dressing rooms, some column base and some architectural fragments.

On other hand it is well preserved the semicircular wall that delimited the auditorium for audience. Taking advantage of the natural slope of the hill have been built a series of steps, divided into three sectors where about three thousand people could take place. The first tier with limestone seats was destined to the city authorities.

The wall is well preserved because for centuries it has been incorporated in the medieval houses which arose in this area. The remains of the Roman Theater were brought to light only in 1935, although it the existence of the theater was already known because of the name “old rena” given to that area: the name is an obvious corruption of Arena (sand). However it seems that in 1400 the auditorium was still used for performances.


Via del Teatro Romano

Opening hours

Visitable every day of the year

Entry fee

Free entry

5. Riccardo arch and the Barbacan square

The Riccardo arch is located in Barbacan square behind the San Silvestro church and is the oldest monument of Roman origin of the city.

 Riccardo Arch in Trieste

Riccardo Arch

The Riccardo Arch is located in the Barbacan square behind the church of San Silvestro and is the oldest monument from Roman origin survived untill today. Its structure is fairly similar to the triumphal arches that the Romans used to erect in honor of victorious generals although it is actually a monumental gate of the city walls, built around 50 B.C. When the walls were torn down during the first century A.D. to enable the development of the city, this beautiful gate was left intact just like a triumphal arch. The name comes from the popular belief that this arch was erected in honor of King Charlemagne (King Charles becomes Ri Cardo). Another belief says that in a tower that once stood in this square was imprisoned King Richard the Lionheart, waiting for the payment of ransom. His name would be later passed to the square and to the arch.


Piazza del Barbacan

6. Karst and Giant Cave


Visiting the Karst means exploring and discovering a unique environment, characterized by forests, meadows, deserted lands and a fascinating underground world. The environment becomes particularly attractive in autumn when the sumac bushes and the terebinth leaves color the limestone rocks of an intense red. Don't miss to visit to Rosandra Valley, the church of Monrupino and the Giant Cave (Grotta Gigante), the tourist cave containing the largest natural hall in the world.


Giant Cave in Karst

Giant Cave

Located a few kilometers north of the village “Grotta Gigante” (Giant Cave) is famous for its main cavity called the Great Cave whose size could contain the St. Peter's Basilica of Rome. Its cavity presents a ellipsoidal shape that measures 275 meters long, 65 meters wide and a domed vault that exceeds 100 meters: such size will confer the title of biggest cavity open to the visitors of the world. For its geological aspects the Giant Cave is one of the three most spectacular karst cave as well as the only one left in Italian territory since Postojna cave and Skocjan cave are now in Slovenia. The cave belong to the Julian Alpine company that takes care of opening, lighting and providing guides services and it can be visited in around an hour during the whole year. A long stairway interspersed with walkways, trails and ramps suspended in space leads to the cave base: the show is striking thanks to the skillful electric lighting system that puts special emphasis on the vault and on the reddish tint of crystalline formations, stalactites and stalagmites of impressive dimensions, such as "La Palma" more than six meters high. The Giant Cave, besides being a place of tourist interest, is also an important scientific research station: thanks to its exceptional size very sensitive instruments for the study of meteorology and microclimate underground, physics land and karst have been located inside the cave.


Località Borgo Grotta Gigante 42/A – Sgonico (Trieste)

Opening hours

The cave can be visited every hour with a guided tour only.

WINTER: 1 October - 31 March

10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00

SUMMER: 1 April - 30 September

09.00am, 10.00am, 11.00am, 12.00pm, 1.00pm, 2.00pm, 3.00pm, 4.00pm, 5.00pm

Entry fee

€ 12 full. € 9 reduced (students, over 65, members). € 5 schools

Children: 0-2 years 0 €, 3-5 years 1 €, 6-16 years 8 €


7. Ponterosso and St. Spyridon temple


Within the Teresian district, the Ponterosso (red bridge) area around the homonymous square is one of the most evocative corners of Trieste: you can attend the many historic cafes in the area near the Grand Canal and the Ponterosso, like Joyce Cafè and Polaris cafè (Stella Polare), or visit Gopcevich Palace which houses the Civic Museum of Theater Carlo Schmild or discover the treasures kept in the St. Spyridon temple.

 SS. Trinity and St. Spyridon Serbs Orthodox temple in Trieste

SS. Trinity and St. Spyridon Serbs Orthodox temple

One sides of Piazza Sant’Antonio (St. Anthony Square) is dominated by the sparkling gold and colors of the temple of SS. Trinity and St. Spyridon Serbs Orthodox temple : the entrance, overlooks the homonymous street although in the initial project must be open onto a large garden. The church building start in 1861 in the area that previously housed the greek-illyrian church; the work lasted several years because due to the bulk of the structure the underlying ground required a consolidation process by piling. The project by C. Maciacchini from Milan was built by P. Palese in collaboration with the sculptors A. Caremi and E. Bisi, the painter G. Bertini for the ornamental parts and with Venetian mosaic artists. When completed in 1869 it was solemnly consecrated. The building has a capacity of 1,600 people, it is shaped on a Greek cross plan and it is covered by five domes, according to the Eastern Byzantine tradition. The facade parted in four horizontal bands, the gate, the small arches, and the mullioned windows contribute to emphasize the general coloring; the interior is dominated by the iconostasis, from Moscow and from the mid-nineteenth century, whose depictions are covered with gold glitter, silver and precious stones. A jeweled cross made of gold and silver, with Jesus crucified and at the foot the Madonna and San Giovanni, performed in 1881 above the altar, the table is adorned with a silver bas-relief depicting the Last Supper.


Via Spiridione, 9, 34122 Trieste TS

Opening hours

Tuesday-Saturday 08.30-12.30, 16-19; Sunday 9-12; days and opening hours may vary.

Entry fee

Free entry

8. Victory lighthouse


At the beginning of the ancient road to Contovello and Prosecco, which leads to the Karst, rises up a well-known monument: the Victory lighthouse, opened in 1927 and erected in memory of those died in the sea on the Gretta hill. 

Victory lighthouse

Victory lighthouse

The white tower made of stone from Vrsar, is crowned by a scaly dome over lantern and on which hovers a bronze statue of Winged Victory. The basement, on which looms the Sailor stone made was erected on the former Kressich fort that was built in 1854 in support of the defense system in this area. In the bottom of the base is the anchor of the Audace, the destroyer vessel from which the first Italian soldiers landed in November 1918. The total height of nearly 70 meters, the light radiating from a height of about 115 meters above sea level has two white bundles interspersed by two shadow interval of different duration; the range of the light is about 36 miles in average atmospheric transparency

Opening hours

April, May, June and September:

Friday: 15.00 - 19.00
Saturday and Sunday: 10.00am - 1.00pm and 3.00pm - 7.00pm

July and August

Wednesday to Sunday: 10.00am - 1.00pm and 4.00pm - 7.00pm


Friday: 15.00 - 18.00
Saturday and Sunday: 10.00am - 1.00pm and 3.00pm - 6.00pm
from 10 to 14: open hours 9.30 -17.30


from 1 to 4: open hours 9.30 am - 4.30 pm

Special openings
Working hours 10.00 - 19.00:

31 March
2, 25, 26, 27, 30 April
May 1
August 15th

Every day, at afternoon opening hour, is available a free guided tour of 30 minutes for up to 15 people.

Entry fee

9. Synagogue Israelite Temple


 Synagogue Israelite Temple in Trieste

Synagogue Israelite Temple


Via S. Francesco D'Assisi, 19

Opening hours

Individual visitors
SUNDAY 10.00, 11.00, 12.00
MONDAY 16.00, 17.30
TUESDAY 10.00, 11.30
WEDNESDAY 16.00, 17.30

Entry fee

     under 10 and disabled: free
     children aged 10-18: € 2.50
     adults: € 3.50
Groups (minimum 25 paying)
     adults: € 3.00 per person
     students: € 2.50 per person (free professors)


10. What to eat in Trieste


The gastronomic tradition of Trieste undergoes a clear Austro-Hungarian influence: typical dishes are pork-based, boiled (so-called boiler dishes), jota, goulash, calandraca (dish with boiled meat, onion potatoes and vegetables) and the sausages of vienna or cragno.

Cosa mangiare a Trieste

Absolutely must try the sandwich of cooked "triestino" ham (baked inside a bread crust) and the porcina (porzina) sandwich garnished with mustard and spicy kren, served hot in one of the numerous buffets in the historic center. The buffets are a real institution of the culture in Trieste: they are small restaurants with simple furnishings and frequented by locals, where you can taste, standing or sitting, typical dishes of Trieste combined with a glass of native wine.

In addition to autro-Hungarian dishes you can taste seafood specialties such as prawns or squills cooked in busera way, sea soup (brodetto), marinated sardines (sardoni in savor) or mussels cooked with garlic (pedoci ala scotadeo).

Among the native wines we mention the Terrano, red wine typical from Karst, the Glera, which is the basis of Prosecco, the Vitovska and the Malvasia.


10+1. Trieste surroundings


Visiting Trieste will take at least 2-3 days of sightseeing, consequently there may be little time left to explore the surroundings. If you have few days more you should visit the surrounding areas that offer different itineraries of art and nature. Among the nearest remarkable destinations there are Duino, Sistiana, Muggia, Portopiccolo, Venice, Skocjan Caves, Postojna Cave Park, Ljubljana.


Duino Castle

At the end of this short guide we mention two noteworthy tourism initiatives: 

- the Trieste HopTour, the new tourist transport service HopOn HopOff of the city of Trieste. For BNBTRIESTE cstomers there is a discount for buying tickets on line by using the code "farida9920" for tours in Trieste (15% discount) and "farida9910" for the tour out of town (10% discount). For more information visit the website

- the FVGcard, the tourist card with a validity of 48 hours, 72 hours or 7 days which allows free entry to attractions, conventioned facilities and sightseeing tours. The cost is respectively € 18.00 / 48 h, € 21.00 / 72 h, € 29.00 / 1 week. Among the conventioned attractions we mention as follows:

Giant Cave, Revoltella Museum, Civic Museum of War for the Peace of Diego De Henriquez, Natural History Civic Museum of Trieste,  History and Art Civic Museum and the Lapidary Garden, Civic Marine Aquarium of Trieste, Botanical Garden La Carsiana.