Arrival: 48 hours in Trieste
Our journey takes us on the new, twice daily, train service from Ljubljana (Slovenia) to Trieste. This new service is fast and comfortable taking just under 3 hours. We take the 16:10 service with a picnic of wine, ham and cheese.
The best way to arrive into the city from the East is usually on the Opicina tramway, a scenic short railway from Villa Opicina, a small village on top of the escarpment. Unfortunately, it’s currently out of service due to a collision in 2016. Luckily it looks like it should be operational again by 2020, in time for our next available tour. Until then, you have a choice to remain on the train until it arrives into Trieste central (long route) or hop off in Villa Opicina and grab the bus. The bus terminates in the city center near the tram stop.
Nestled on the Adriatic between Slovenia (15 km) and Croatia (30 km), Trieste has a remarkable mix of styles and culture. Having been established around the 2nd millennium BC as an Illyrian settlement, it has since been under the control of the Romans, Ottomans, Austrians and is now a part of Italy.
Walking around the city it is possible to see evidence of all its past inhabitants. There are the ruins of a Roman Basilica located in the courtyard of the Castel San Giuesto – Itself an impressive structure that took over 200 years to build. There is also an Arch from the original Roman defensive wall can be found off Piazzetta Barbacan, in the narrow streets of the old town.
The Austrian quarter contains a large number of avenues and palaces that resemble Vienna. Here you can see examples of architectural styles including Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, and Baroque.
Things to See and Do
Grand Canal of Trieste: Built in 1700’s to allow boats access to the city centre, it is a great starting point to explore Trieste. Wander around the canal, take a coffee at one of the many historic cafes along Via Gioacchino Rossini (Trieste is known as “the coffee capital of Italy”) while taking in the neo-classical grandeur of the Church of Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo.
The Castle of San Giusto: Built on the remains of previous castles, it took almost two centuries to build. The castle is just a short (although steep) walk from the center. The €3 entrance fee is well worth it if just for the great 360 degree views of Trieste.
Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia: Known as the largest square situated next to the sea in Europe, it is surrounded by a number of prestigious and important buildings. These including the Town Hall, the Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino, the Palazzo del Governo and the Palazzo Pitteri – Each of which features a stunning design and beautiful architecture.
Grotta Gigante: Reputedly the largest accessible cave system in the world. The Cave of Trebiciano is 350m deep, at the bottom of which flows the Timavo River. This river goes underground at Škocjan Caves in Slovenia (UNESCO listed and only a short distance from Trieste) and flows about 30 km before emerging in a series of springs near Duino. These caves were though by the Romans to be an entrance to Hades.
Eat and Drink
The traditional cuisine of Trieste is as varied as the mix of cultures that influenced it. Here, the flavours of the Mediterranean meet and combine with those of the continental hinterland.
Osteria al tempo perso: Great little local Osteria. Excellent local food with hospitality to match. But when we say little – we mean tiny!! Best to book.
Legend Pub: Restaurant quality food with the coziness of a pub! They have a good selection of wine plus local and imported beers. It does get busy so be sure to book in advance.
Antipastoteca di Mare Alla Voliga: Just a short stroll from the Castle of San Giusto, the Antipastoteca di Mare Alla Voliga is a trattoria with truely exquisite Trieste cuisine. Our tip, Try the soups!
Enoteca Nanut Trieste: A good variety of local wines by glass (the owner is quite the expert). Food is fresh, well prepared and very typical for the region. Great hosts, large servings but can be pricey.
Da Angelina: Seafood restaurant one street back from the waterfront. Great food and service, well serviced by a local crowds.