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Best things to do in Trieste

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Italy  /  Friuli Venezia Giulia  /  Province of Trieste  /  Trieste

Top 15 things to do in Trieste

1. San Sabba Rice Mill - National Monument

Built in 1913, San Sabba Rice Mill - National Monument served as a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, and is now a civic museum. As a concentration camp, the building was a detention center and the site of executions of political prisoners. Now, you can tour the structure, see the holding cells, and view historical objects, such as a leaded stick used to subdue prisoners. There are also graphic photos and displays with English translations.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia

Experience Europe's largest seaside plaza at Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia. Historically one of the main trade ports of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, the plaza's buildings feature Viennese-Neoclassical architecture. The Fountain of the Four Continents fronts the historic city hall building. Look up to see the white stone mosaics on the balcony of the Palazzo del Governo. Stop for a rest and enjoy views of the Adriatic Sea.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Miramare Castle-Historical Museum

Miramare Castle-Historical Museum was built between 1856 and 1860 as a residence for Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium. Wander the lavish rooms, complete with original furnishings, including Maximilian's and Charlotte's chambers, the throne room, and the music room. To learn more about the castle, visit the information center and study the paintings in room XIX, which depict the history of Miramare. Step outside to amble through the large park surrounding the castle. It is full of unusual tropical plant species and features views of the Gulf of Trieste.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Saint Giusto Cathedral

Saint Giusto Cathedral remains best known for its interior mosaics, some of which date back to the 5th century. The mosaics can be lit up for a small fee. On top of a hill, the cathedral also includes a high altar consecrated in 1385. The wall frescoes depicting the life of the cathedral's patron saint date to the 13th century. Also interesting, the gabled facade features a large double-rose window and a statue of the saint. Expect a long hilly walk from the center of town, with a rewarding view of Trieste at the end of it.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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5. Trieste Gulf

Trieste Gulf is a large shallow bay of the Adriatic Sea, shared by Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. Prominent bays in the Italian section include the Bay of Panzano and Bay of Muggia, although there are no notable beaches. Take a car along the Strada Costiera, the road along the coast, where you will find several spots to enjoy views of the gulf as well as beautiful sunsets. Every October since 1969, the international sailing race known as "Barcolana regatta" (or Autumn Cup) takes place here--with over 2,000 participants, it is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Little Berlin

Air-raid tunnels built during World War II, Little Berlin consist of two separate and distinctly built sections. The first, built by Italian engineers, contains a series of parallel passageways. The second section, excavated by German engineers, includes a set of large rooms used by SS troops. During the war, the commander of the German troops could use these tunnels to reach his offices in the city from his home without once emerging into the open. The tunnels remain closed on the weekends, and can be visited on guided tours every last Friday of the month.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. The Cave "Grotta Gigante", Borgo Grotta Gigante

The largest naturally occurring cavern in Europe, The Cave "Grotta Gigante" was discovered in 1840 during a search for underground water sources for the town’s aqueduct. Take a tour, available in Italian or English, and head down the 500 steps, past ancient stalactites and stalagmites, stopping to take in the views. After the tour, visit the nearby museum of speleology to learn more about the formation of the caves and see some interesting geological and paleontological finds, as well as a poster collection depicting the cave.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Trieste and the Trieste Karst

Trieste and the Trieste Karst represents part of the Karst Plateau, which Italy shares with neighboring Slovenia. With plenty of trails, this area remains a paradise for nature lovers, particularly hikers. One of the most popular trails here is the so-called Via Napoleonica on the edge of the Karst, stretching for just under 4 km (2.5 mi) high above the Mediterranean and offering unparalleled views of the coastline.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. La Foiba di Basovizza

A National Monument, La Foiba di Basovizza marks the spot of executions carried out at the end of World War II. This disused mine shaft long languished as a mostly abandoned and forgotten spot, but today features restored stone walls with memorials and a modern visitor center, where you can learn more about the events that took place here in May 1945.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. City Museum Revoltella

Part baronial mansion, part art gallery, City Museum Revoltella is home mostly to 19th-century paintings and sculptures. This historic neo-Renaissance building was home to Baron Pasquale Revoltella, and its three floors still express the elegance and wealth of its owner. Acquired by the city of Trieste following the baron's death in 1872, the museum was expanded to the adjacent buildings in order to offer additional exhibition spaces. Start by exploring the luxurious residence's many rooms and all the works, furniture, and books they contained. Then, move on to the modern exhibits to see the approximately 350 paintings and sculptures on display.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. San Giusto Castle

Head to San Giusto Castle, a former Roman fort, to visit the city museum's impressive collection of weapons and furnishings. Set atop a large hill, the 15th-century castle also boasts a collection of mosaic tiles, statuary, and burial stones, which are hidden in a series of deep underground cellars accessed from one corner of the site. Frederick of Habsburg initiated construction of the castle, which was finished by Venetians. Pay attention to the metal statues that welcome you at the entrance, which tell the entertaining story of Mike and Jake.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Molo Audace - Gia "Molo S. Carlo"

Soak up stunning sunset views from Molo Audace - Gia "Molo S. Carlo", a pier just a few steps from the Grand Canal. For many tourists, a late afternoon visit here provides the perfect finale to a pleasant day exploring the heart of Trieste. Built in the 1740s, the pier long served as a major commercial hub. Today, it's a popular place for strolling and enjoying views of both the sea and the illuminated main city square. If you prefer to come in the morning, you'll find the pier quiet and rather empty.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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13. Serbian Orthodox Church of San Spiridione

A reminder that the city once contained a large Serbian community, Serbian Orthodox Church of San Spiridione displays a Byzantine style of architecture characterized by a central dome and mosaic decorations featured on the facade. Covered in stone and marbles from Verona and Carrara, the building was erected in the 1860s. Inside, you'll see paintings by artist Giuseppe Bertini and icons covered in silver and gold. Found on the lower side of the iconostasis, the four major icons were designed in the 1840s in Russia and represent the church's patron saint and other religious figures.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. Grand Canal

A navigable canal at the very heart of the city, Grand Canal was built in the 1750s. Part of a new urban plan developed in the 18th century, the canal allowed merchant ships to sail into the town center and unload their goods. Today, you can cross it by two bridges and one pedestrian walkway. A number of important buildings overlook the canal, including a Neoclassical church from the 19th century, and a palace from the same period that now houses a theater museum. Walk to the end of the canal to reach a city square with a large fountain at its center.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Victory Lighthouse of Trieste

Triumphantly rising on a hill, Victory Lighthouse of Trieste greets both visitors driving the scenic local roads and sailors coming by sea. Take Strada del Friuli from Trieste downtown to the nearby Prosecco village and you'll encounter this lighthouse topped by a winged statue of Nike, Greek goddess of victory. Built after World War I, the lighthouse illuminates Trieste's gulf and celebrates the city's annexation into the former Kingdom of Italy. Admission is free, but the structure is only open for visitors during certain months of the year. Please check the website for the timetable showing opening dates and times.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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