10 unmissable places for those who visit Trieste: it's a romantic and lively city, with a multicultural soul, ancient and modern at the same time.

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Like any frontier city, Trieste has an undisputed charm and bears the evidence of a complex and interesting history. While not often enough on the main tourism routes for those who visit Italy, the city is certainly worth at least a few days stay. It's definitely a place to be discovered at a leisurely pace, in fact you can easily visit it on foot. Many of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other, in pedestrian areas, and the public transport network is very efficient.

Here are the top 10 destination on Trieste you just can't miss.

1 - The city center

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In the heart of Trieste there are some wonderful nineteenth-century buildings and the largest European square overlooking the sea, Piazza Unità d'Italia, with the Molo Audace and the promenade that the citizens call the Rive. From here, with a pleasant walk, you can reach the Lanterna, the ancient lighthouse. The Old Town is also part of the historic center, together with what was once the Jewish Ghetto. It's a maze of alleys climbing up to the Colle di San Giusto, in which to stroll, stopping from time to time to see the awesome artisan workshops, the small bars and the vintage shops.

2 - San Giusto Hill

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From the top of this hill you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view over the rooftops of Trieste, but not only that. Here is one of the three city's castles, which bears the same name as the hill. In the ancient fortress there is a small museum, but also Michez and Jachez, the two statues that originally marked the hours on the Town Hall clock tower. Over the years the statues have been replaced, but the original ones have been restored and are now jealously preserved as the town's mascot.  

3 - San Giusto Cathedral

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This church, which is the most important religious building in Trieste, certainly deserves a visit. Its construction dates back to the 14th century and incorporates two older pre-existing churches. In its austere gray stone facade various marble finds from the Roman age have been inserted, while the bell tower houses five enormous bronze bells. Inside, the magnificent Byzantine mosaics, the work of masters from Venice and Constantinople, are surely a sight to behold.

4 - Miramare Castle

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Going back toward the sea you'll reach one of the most popular destinations for those visiting Trieste. It's the Miramare Castle, which is located just outside the center and was once the private residence of Maximilian of Habsburg. Built on the promontory of Grignano, the building is surrounded by a beautiful park that also includes a recently restored Italian garden, which alone would be worth a visit. Built in eclectic style, the Miramare castle still retains its elegant, original furnishings.

5 - Duino Castle

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The third castle of Trieste is the farthest from the center, it is about 20 km away, but offers a truly splendid view of the gulf. It's a massive construction, the first plant of which dates back to the 14th century, when it was built on the ruins of a Roman outpost. On the terraces sloping down to the sea, famous people walked, including Elizabeth of Austria, the famous princess Sissi. Inside, moreover, along with historical relics and works of art, you can admire a beautiful spiral staircase by Palladio.

6 - Revoltella Museum

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Trieste is a city full of museums of different kinds, and the Revoltella Museum, designed by the famous architect Carlo Scarpa, is among the most interesting. The collections inside offer an unmissable journey through art, from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day. Spread over six floors, the galleries host masterpieces of painting and sculpture by artists such as De Nittis or Morelli, up to Fontana, passing through some important members of the Viennese Secession. Basically intact, with the original nineteenth-century furnishings, the apartments of Baron Revoltella, the original owner of the building, are also worth visiting. Finally, two important libraries are part of the museum as well: the ancient one, which includes the legacy of Baron Revoltella, and the modern one, which can be consulted by the public. 

7 - The cafes

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Trieste owns hits fame, among other things, to the Bora. If you happen to come across the terrible wind that from time to time lashes the city's streets and buildings, opt for a stop in one of the famous cafes in the center, the ones where Joyce, Svevo, Saba and all the other intellectuals who have once animated the cultural life of Trieste over the decades used to go. Many of these places have remained basically intact over the decades and offer now a fascinating experience, as well as a blast from the past. Furniture, mirrors, stained glass windows, stuccoes, everything has remained almost unchanged, even the taste of the delicious sacher torte, a legacy of the Austrian rule, but still very popular in the area. 

8 - Risiere of San Sabba

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A sad reminder of the Nazi stay on Triestine soil, the Risiera di San Sabba is another very important testimony of recent history. It was once the only prison camp in Italy, later used as a refugee camp during the exodus from Istria, soon after the war. For several decades it has been transformed into a National Monument and then into a museum. Today it houses a memorial, several photographic exhibitions, lectures, and it also offers educational activities for young people. It's located just outside the center and is easily accessible by public transport or even on foot.

9 - Grotta Gigante

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A few kilometers from Trieste there is a cave that is giant in name and in fact. Inside there is a room 280 meters long and 114 meters high, which is indeed the largest natural room in the world, also included in the Guinness Book of Records. The cave dates back to at least one million years ago and has three entrances, two of which constitute the entrance and exit of the tourist route. It's an authentic spectacle of nature, enhanced by a modern and eco-sustainable lighting system. The visitor center also houses an interesting science museum and some outdoor spaces, where you can safely practice climbing and other activities.

10 - Trieste's Karst

Nature lovers cannot miss the vast plateau that surrounds Trieste. The Karst is made up of valleys and bathing streams, several trekking paths, rock faces much appreciated by sportsmen, and also sinkholes and caves of different sizes. It's a truly unique place, with breathtaking views and cliffs overlooking the sea.

However, human presence has also left traces of historical events, as in the case of the trenches dug by the Austro-Hungarian army, of the Napoleonic road, of the ammunition depots. Anyway, this is also the place where Ladin, Germanic and Slavic culture meet. In fact, there are many small settlements where you can learn about typical local products, customs and folk festivals. 

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