Just 15 minutes away from the Slovenian border, less than two hours from Venice, on the Coast of The Adriatic Sea, lies a hidden Italian gem, Trieste. This town may not be your first thought when you think of Italy, but once you visit it, you will want to go back.
I am not sure if it is a selling point for everybody, but the fact that this ancient city has caves and waterfalls is fascinating. It is hard to imagine that one place has castles, statues, museums, and other significant historic sites, some as old as the Roman Empire, seaside, caves, waterfalls and funnily enough, this is the place where confetti was invented. Still, it doesn’t end there.
After taking a walk down Molo Audace, get the taste of the Old Continent. There are numerous cafes and restaurants, most exceptional Italian wine and famous cuisines, decent nightlife and of course, Italian fashion, as well as furniture and leather goods.
It is also noticeable that Trieste isn’t a regular Italian city; it’s been under heavy influences from the Balkans and Austro-Hungarian Empire, so you get a perfect mixture of cultures and sense of history and mystery which is not that easy to find.
The center or the heart of the city is Piazza dell ‘Unità d’Italia, large town square surrounded by magnificent white building and statues. Further down you will get to Ponte Rosso, a beautiful canal, which will remind you of Venice. But the real joys are just outside the city.
The Miramare and The Duino Castles are huge attractions, with fantastic nature and museums around them. Colle San Giusto is where you can see archaeological sites and admire the panoramic views over Trieste.
Grotta Gigante or the Giant Cave is precisely that, a cave that you can visit before heading to Carso Triestino. Carso Triestino is a unique natural landscape, another reminder that Trieste area, although not big, has so much to offer that it will only leave you wanting more.
There are clubs you might want to check out, mostly with electro music, but with all the sightseeing and late dinner (Italians do not eat dinner before 9 or even 10 pm), you will want to hit the sheets. After all, you still need to check out the artistic side of the city.
Art galleries, antique shops, and libraries are on every hidden corner of the city. Trieste itself is like a perfectly written book about history, culture, art, and architecture, come to life. The statue of James Joyce graces the Canal Grande, while you can see Umberto Saba’s statue and Libreria Antiquaria Umberto Saba, the antique book shop the poet ran, in the same condition as he left it.
Describing the feeling you have when you find yourself in the center of Trieste isn’t easy. At the same time, you get to be a witness to many events, while realizing just how proud the city has to be and how small we are compared to all that went through it. Even with all that, Trieste isn’t expensive as some other famous Italian cities, and it is rather safe if you don’t count the wind. But that’s a small price compared to everything this town has to offer, especially during spring and summer months, when you can even take a dip into the sea on the beach just 10 minutes away from the city’s center.