Home » Itineraries: the austere and elegant Trieste, between the heat Mediterranean and Middle Europe style

Itineraries: the austere and elegant Trieste, between the heat Mediterranean and Middle Europe style

by Ada Parisi
5 min read

Border town, complex and fascinating, austere and elegant. Trieste, capital of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, It is a city in balance between the Mediterranean and Central Europe. Like all border places, Trieste has a special place in my heart: There have been many times in recent years and we came back for three days in March 2018 during Oliocapitale, event dedicated to the excellence of extra oil. So I decided to give you all my advice for a weekend in Trieste: what to see, where to eat and all the must-see stops.

And if in my previous visits I saw a little Trieste’ random, taken from a busy schedule and always looking towards the sea that attracts me viscerally, this time thanks to’application “Trieste 100 unmissable sights”, conceived by the Chamber of Commerce / Aries Trieste by Mondadori, I was able to deepen my knowledge of this city. A city that I find more beautiful every time. I quickly chose places to visit, both new and previously I had escaped, and those who wanted to revisit. I, I'm not a fanatic of technology, I really found this free application (available in Italian, English, French and German). There are several thematic itineraries and insights on all the major tourist destinations, of coffee, restaurants, shops, theaters and all you need to know, in history and custom level, to be able to spend a magnificent weekend in Trieste.


Whether this is your first weekend in Trieste or if yours is l’yet another trip to the Julian capital, you can not start your tour starting from the famous Piazza unification of Italy, one of the most impressive and beautiful squares in Europe, overlooked by the Town Hall, Palazzo Lloyd (headquarters of the Friuli Venezia Giulia), the Government House (seat of the Prefecture) and the Palazzo Stratti (where there is one of the historical places in Trieste, the Café of Mirrors). Piazza unification of Italy is the city lounge, one where every Trieste feels at home: one side looks to the hill of San Giusto and the other opens to the sea, with long sidewalks and walks, that offer unforgettable views.

The pier of the Bold, the bank of Mandracchio, the statues and the Bersagliere “Trieste Girls”, along with two bronze pylons six meters high overlooking the square (It opened in 1933 in the presence of Duke Amedeo d'Aosta), They are among the symbols of this city. And Piazza Unit is not beautiful only during the day. Try to observe it at night, coming to the end of the pier Bold and turning his gaze toward the mainland until the end. You will find yourself in front of a landscape painter picture of extraordinary beauty.


Is, while admiring the gold and chiselled details of buildings in Piazza Unità d'Italy, do not forget to make your first food stop in one of the most famous cafes in the city: the Mirror Café. You will immediately see that the coffee in Trieste are not just places where you order to drink or eat. They are also places where you meet to spend time, meet friends, chat or just read a book or newspaper in atmospheres yet retro feel. Those older have changed very little over the years: furnishings, stucco, long counters, are they original. Some local, like coffee San Marco show still today their inseparable link with the Italian literature, who have helped shape and spread. On a weekend in Trieste you have to try at least two or three historic cafes.

The Mirror Café, by Stratti Palace dominates the Piazza unification of Italy. Founded in 1839 by the merchant of Greek origin, Nicholas Stratti, this place still retains a clear Austrian imprint. The history of Trieste has passed for these tables: by James Joyce to Italo Svevo, by irredentist in 1800 through the British Navy after World War II. Surely now the Café of Mirrors is a tourist destination, having regard to its central location, but the Trieste continue to haunt and coexist peacefully with tourists. At the busy hours, sit back and admire the squares and enjoy a stuffed pancake, warm chocolate chip cookies and one of the famous coffee Trieste. Be careful what you order, because in Trieste coffee is a serious thing and every coffee has its own name, different from those used in the rest of Italy. For example: If you want to order an espresso ordered “a black”; if you want a cappuccino ordered a “caffellatte”; if you want a latte in a glass of neat glass “a leader in B”.

THE DISTRICT Cittavecchia

From Piazza Unità, along the path that leads to the hill of San Giusto, stop in the district of Stari Grad, dominated by the Church of San Silvestro, the oldest church in Trieste, headquarters of the Evangelical Waldensian communities and Swiss. A few steps, the great Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Arch of Riccardo, considered one of the ancient gates for entry in Trieste (Tergeste) at the time of the Roman Empire. This city, and winter is often lashed by strong wind of Bora, also owes its fortunes to the Austrian Emperor Charles VI's decision in 1719 declared a free port Trieste.

Since that time, especially during the period of Maria Theresa of Austria, tens of thousands of citizens of Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary and other areas of the Mediterranean moved into town. So, led to a population boom and, at the same time, the arrival of so many cultures that have significantly changed the original fabric of Trieste (“Trieste” Slovenian). Today, the Free Zone was finally made operational, after sixty years, by a decree of the Italian Government, Trieste can groped the way of rebirth. And some investors, especially Austrian, It is already at work, buying real estate to develop their business.


During your weekend in Trieste you can't lose your Buffet da Pepi (Pepi Slovenian: Pepi S’ciavo) which has become an institution for all those who love meat cooking, and especially to pork. Local historian, Open until the early hours of the morning, now managed by Paolo Polla, to Buffet da Pepi it is to savor the specialties of the Trieste tradition with all its Austro-Hungarian influences, but also Bavarian. The Buffet was born in 1897 and has gone through the world wars, It has hosted celebrities but also port workers. The meat is cooked in a special boiler: Cragno of sausages (sausage coarse, smoked, originate in the Karst and Slovenian Kranjska area), Vienna sausages (frankfurters), porzina (the pork neck, flavored and served sliced). And still, boiled tongue, Kaiserfleisch (smoked pork loin), Ham Prague type, con contorno di charge (called “capuzi”, obtained from the hood fermented cabbage), crane (grated fresh horseradish) and mustard.

All dishes are served accompanied both by bread (the famous “rosetta”, also called the Kaiser bread that Emperor bread; il pretzel, Rusk in a variant and not soft; rye bread), from both a glass of wine (preferably a Terrano wine) or beer. The atmosphere is informal and completely free-range. Although some Trieste twists their nose stomp because the Buffet from Pepi has become too frequent, certainly is a must and you will have a very. The food is good with 18-20 Euros per head. The service is quick and accurate and I suggest you go there on weekdays, when it is less crowded, avoiding peak hours, Pepi much to you eat at any time.

Castello di San Giusto


The Castle of San Giusto overlooking the city and the Gulf of Trieste from the Aventine Hill: built in a period of about two centuries (1470-1630), still watches over from the ancient Tergeste. Getting to the hill is an uphill walk which you can save (the ascent is rather steep) taking a comfortable bus from the city center, behind Piazza Unità d'Italy, It drops you right in front of the castle. But I recommend you do the walk downhill path, or via the Cathedral, because you will see glimpses of Trieste very special.

Before entering the castle you will see the remains of the Forum and the Basilica of the Roman era: the centerpiece of the castle, which it is now owned by the City of Trieste (its valley in 1930) It is the courtyard of the Militia, of triangular shape, with imposing ramparts at the vertices, because the castle is built on an earlier fortification. This particular shape allows a long and spectacular walk through the walkways of the walls, with a 360 degree view of the city and the sea. Inside, instead, There are two civic museums. In the basement is the Lapidary Tergestino, that collects and showcases the Roman remains.


Indiacente at the Castle, the Cathedral of San Giusto It is the fruit of the union of two houses built in the eleventh century. The style is Romanesque, although the beautiful rose window is Gothic period, then the next. Overall, the church is austere and inside you really perceive an atmosphere of reflection and prayer. The interior is made up of five naves, wooden ceiling with stars on a blue background, rebuilt in 1905. Enjoy a walk along the perimeter of the cathedral to admire the many paintings and sculptures of which is decorated this place of worship. Not to be missed: the beautiful mosaic on the bottom of the thirteenth century gold, in the apse. Finally, When you resume from the church the descent towards the city center, along via the cathedral, Turn around and admire its beauty between the front of the trees. And if you have time, take a few minutes to visit the Museum of History and Art and Orto Lapidary.

Trieste, antique street

TO SEE, Cavana

In nice walk by the Cathedral will take you back to Piazza Unità d'Italy, cross the Cavana, or the old city: a succession of narrow streets and beautiful buildings almost completely restored today. This area includes the ghetto and all the little streets leading to the hill of San Giusto. Roads where you can still celebrate the old arts and traditional crafts: bakeries and family-run bakeries, small food shops but mostly shops with junk shops and antiques: If, like me, worship poking between plates, cutlery, objects, discs, furnishings, bags, clothes and old books, This is the district for you.

Use this weekend in Trieste to buy something unique: there are so many shops where, with a little’ of attention and knowledge of the subject, you can buy magnificent pieces. Among other things, precisely in this area every third week of the month there is an Antiques Market where you can buy (but also sell privately) items and antiques. Unfortunately, I have been to Trieste in another period but, if you were lovers of bric-a-brac, do not miss.


After being tired turning the old town and the winding lanes of the Old City, surely you deserve a typical dinner. There is no better place in the Antica Trattoria Suban , must-see if you have decided to spend a weekend in Trieste, to enjoy what they eat the real Trieste. Mario Suban, and two daughters Giovanna and Federica, handle this ancient trattoria born in San Giovanni neighborhood, when these hills were no houses but only a road linking the plateau of the Karst region and the center of Trieste. The inn for four generations in the same family and has hosted illlustri characters of Italian history and not only, as Giuseppe Saragat, Sandro Pertini, Pope Woityla.

Anchored to the Orthodox tradition Trieste, Trattoria Suban not is it influenced by the calls of contemporary cuisine and proposes, improved the consistency over time, the old recipes. Between these, the famous Jota Trieste: a base of sauerkraut soup, beans and pork rinds that you eat only in Trieste. And still “palacinka”, thin pancakes with basil, the cheese strudel, the salted meat of hip tip with horseradish, the Kalandraka (a stew with potatoes from the flavored meat broth), the delicious pheasant breast and rigojanci cake, a sweet delicious Hungarian origin made up of a base of sponge cake, cream and chocolate icing. An address to mark the agenda, where you eat well at the right price.


If you want to sleep in one of the most beautiful hotels in Trieste, definitely choose the Savoia Excelsior Palace and ask for a room facing the sea. Opened in 1911, This hotel was described as the most luxurious of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is located on the waterfront, a hundred meters from Piazza Unità d'Italy and looks at the Adriatic sea: 144 rooms and suites, the hotel is in a Belle Epoque, with antique furniture but also modern pieces and, for fans, It has a magnificent collection of original furniture in Liberty and Empire style. The atmosphere is decidedly of the past: you will be immersed in an elegant but understated luxury. Prices for a double start at 200 Euros per night, breakfast included.

After a good night's sleep, enjoy an international breakfast in the bright room on the ground floor of the hotel Savoia Excelsior Palace: scrambled eggs, Bacon, frankfurters, breads of all kinds, meats and cheeses for those who love the salty, but also cakes, cookies, fruit, jams, brioche and croissants for those who prefer the sweet.


Almost opposite the hotel Savoia Excelsior Palace, waterfront, It is the Municipal Aquarium Marine Science Museum, within an Art Nouveau building (with a delicious tower) which dates back to 1933. The Marine Aquarium Trieste (written without the letter 'c', because the derivation is from the Latin word 'aquarium') It is one of the oldest in the world: the water in the tanks is taken directly from the sea at the base of the pier and is pushed to 20 meters high in the clock tower, filtered and pumped down into the tanks. So the fish swim in the same water of the Gulf of Trieste.

Also for this, if the sea water is cloudy, also that the tanks will be less clear than usual. Upstairs, There is also a reptile and amphibian, European lizards and poisonous snakes. After the visit, take a trip to Eataly Trieste, adjacent to the aquarium and housed in the wine warehouse dating back to 1902, one of the last open Eataly entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti along the boot.


For a break (both fresh and salt water), try another one of the historic cafes of Trieste. The coffee here are not just places where you order to drink or eat but are also places where people meet, in atmospheres with a retro twist. Those older have changed very little over the years: furnishings, stucco, long counters, are they original. The Coffee Tommaseo: It is the oldest café in Trieste, opened in 1830, in the tradition of Viennese coffee.

People come here for breakfast, for a cup of tea with a slice of the Austrian manner sachertorte, or for an elegant, well-constructed cocktail before dinner, thanks to an interesting cocktail menu. Among the most famous, Spritz Tommaseo (6 euro, Amaro Tergestino, Ginger Ale and Prosecco wine) and Tegroni (6,5 euros, compound of tequila, Cynar, Vermouth rosso e angostura bitter). The coffee is working to expand the supply of catering.


If you spend a weekend in Trieste, I recommend you take a look at the city market as well. Certain, you can't say that the Trieste Covered Market is the beating heart of the city's food shopping. but I'm used to always go in civic markets of the cities I visit, because that is where I believe that we measure the more true of a city atmosphere: here at the Trieste market there are small producers and must be able to find the right product.

In the central Via Carducci, in a building dating back to 1936, Today definitely deserves better exploitation, you can find meat, fish and vegetables from the common fields of the Trieste province. On a cold and rainy January, I managed to find different types of radicchio, including the Tardivo Radicchio of Treviso IGP, the beautiful Rosa Treviso, the variegated Castelfranco radicchio and red chard (large turnips that you eat boiled).


Another lunch break from true to Trieste Buffet da Roby, small room not far from the seafront and the Red Bridge, where the statue of James Joyce, very close to the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Spyridon. In this restaurant, less touristy and less crowded than Buffet da Pepi, it is to savor the classic breaded sardines, potatoes in tecia, meatballs, ham baked in a crust of warm bread served with Horseradish and mustard and the strudel classic apples or cranberries. The atmosphere is rustic but cozy and warm, with frescoes of ancient plant of Trieste and a discrete selection of craft beers and wines dell'Altopiano del Carso. Prices range between 20 and 30 Euros for a lunch.


Extra virgin olive oil Dop Tergeste, Karst plateau of cheeses including the famous “Tabor” or the “Jamar”, the ham of the Carso, The Giuliani and Slovenian wines, i wurstel, the famous ham from Trieste, got it working the whole pork leg with its bone, and then with a smoke of beech wood shavings. If, at the end of your weekend in Trieste, you want to take home a quality food and wine souvenir, the right place to buy a typical product is the Ancient Urbanek, Via delle Torri.


Did they know that Trieste is the Italian coffee capital. In this port, the first ships of coffee charges from the Ottoman ports of Smyrna and Alexandria came in the eighteenth century. Then, declared a free port by the Habsburgs made the capital Julian the main port of the Empire of Austria. The city fell into line to the large amount of coffee that passed, opening the first coffee roasting and experimenting, first in Italy, the mixture of coffee. In 1891, He was born the association Caffè Trieste, from 1965, celebrates every year the International Coffee Day. Not only, in 1904 came the bag of coffee.

Today, Friuli Venezia Giulia has set up, in Trieste, the Coffee Industrial District and the Julian capital is held “TriestEspresso Expo”, the most important business fair espresso coffee. A testimony of this long tradition are the historic cafés, Scattered throughout the city center. But if on your weekend in Trieste you want to start from a café in modern style, Via delle Torri, right in front of the Antica Bottega del Gusto, find the’Osteria Coffee. A small space in which, along with bagels stuffed, handmade tortillas, vegetable extracts and fresh fruit, you can taste a careful selection of coffee blends and single origin coffee, even organic, from around the world. The extraction methods ranging from classic to modern V60 expressed or Siphon. And the coffee Osteria is also specialized in takeaway coffee. One idea that the owner Manuel Bossi has decided to go ahead since the opening of the local in November 2017. Coming in Trieste This is a milestone for true connoisseurs.


If you love sweets, Trieste offers some traditional dishes that are worth trying in bars, in bakeries and, Maybe, bring at home. You can't end your weekend in Trieste without having tried some traditional sweets. At the cafe-bakery Viezzoli, in the city centre (via Savings Bank 7), You can find these products. We are talking of Trieste clamp, potica and presnitz. The gripper is a very easy to prepare sweet bread, originally produced during Easter and today you can find throughout the year. You can enjoy it yourself or accompany it with chocolate cream, in its most comprehensive version. The potica is a soft sweet with a filling of raisins and dried fruit (nuts, pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts). The presnitz is a swirl of puff pastry filled with nuts and raisins. Its shape resembles the crown of Christ.

Hotel Excelsior Trieste, restaurant


The atmosphere of the Ristorante Savoy It is definitely international. Housed in the luxurious Excelsior Palace, this place on the beachfront finds inspiration in the kitchen of Andrea Stoppari, Trieste chef, that in his gastronomic project works with Eataly and offers simple, well-balanced seafood. The idea is to offer a high quality service at low prices. The tasting menu, both land and sea, They consist of four courses and cost 45 Euros. Special attention is reserved to the needs of gluten intolerance and for vegetarians and vegans. To the paper, prices of Savoy restaurant ranging from 12 euro to 15 euro for starters, 11 to 17 euro for the first, 19 to 21 euro for meat and fish. The wines are also served by the glass. If you want to enjoy a romantic dinner on your weekend in Trieste, This is the place.

We had the fish tasting menu and we tasted the roasted shrimp with a scoop of guacamole, braised escarole and pomegranate sauce, served with bread, buns and bread sticks prepared daily by the kitchen brigade. Among the main courses we sampled the linguine with garlic Afeltra Resia (Slow food), Tergeste Dop oil, chili and clams. Among the second, We tasted a hearty fried turbot fillet, in rice crust, with vegetable tempura and béarnaise sauce. Last but not least,, a fresh yoghurt mousse with sauce of berries, a selection of ice creams and sorbets (amazing what pink grapefruit) made by the chef.

TO SEE: Castle of Miramare

If you are a romantic people all the way, the right place for you is the Miramare Castle. On your weekend in Trieste you must definitely find time to visit it. This beautiful building was built in 1855 at the behest of Maximilian I of Habsburg (brother of Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria) and his wife Charlotte of Belgium. Structure, overlooking the sea, It is surrounded by a park which is a nature reserve of WWF, with greenhouses and elegant fountains, even today it retains virtually intact both in the architecture of their furnishings, which are original.

Opposite the castle, a small marina made of white Istrian stone, where Maximilian I left for Mexico, where he was crowned king but where, After only three years, also he met his death at the hands of Republican rebels. The Museum of Miramare Castle the apartments includes both private and those of representation. The Salt Maximilian I of Habsburg evoke the military ships, in fact resemble the cabins. And a library with 7,000 volumes is also, a delightful sitting room Chinese style inside the tower. In the castle, you can also visit the apartments where he lived Amedeo di Savoia, Duca d'Aosta.

At Miramare Castle you can easily be reached by public bus of the modern and efficient service Trieste Transportation, or even walking, traveling around the city's waterfront, but also cycling, in a beautiful walk nine kilometers from Piazza unification of Italy, through the Barcola pinewood, which in summer it is very crowded with sunbathers and tourists.


Before you complete your weekend in Trieste and leave this pearl of the Mediterranean with the’Mitteleuropean soul, indulge in one last sin of gluttony. A hot chocolate with whipped cream in Caffè San Marco that, among the historical buildings in Trieste, It is perhaps the one that still shows its inextricable link with the Italian culture. The Caffè San Marco, with the date of opening (1914) highlighting in the input port, today is a literary cafe.

Inside, besides the large hall in Art Nouveau style for drinking, to eat, talk or read a newspaper, there is also a very fine library with books arthouse and extensive bibliography on the culture and traditions Giuliani. Here, you can read a book and drink a hot chocolate with cream and enjoy one of the pastries. Always attended by intellectuals, in the past Umberto Saba and Italo Svevo, still the Caffè San Marco has not lost its charm and is always a must for a cultural and gastronomic tour of Trieste.


You've already seen these recipes?


elisabetta 27 April 2018 - 08:36

Great suggestion.

Ada Parisi 27 April 2018 - 08:50

Thank you, you're already in Trieste?


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