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Trieste

  • Description
  • What to See
  • What to Do
  • What to Taste

The Province of Trieste is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land in southeast Friuli Venezia Giulia, between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia. This is an extraordinary destination for its historic treasures, artworks and its middle-European character. It inspired important writers such as Rilke, Joyce, and Svevo.

Off Trieste's coast is its broad Gulf, with numerous tiny bays, small harbors and breathtaking reefs; and of course Miramare Castle is accompanied by the splendid blue of the sea.

The area of Trieste is characterized by the steep karstic landscape continually revealing different, amazing and charming features. Close to the coast is a rocky moor with Mediterranean vegetation, where the Bora wind blows, while inland are hills with hollows and scrubs.

Protected areas include the Val Rosandra Nature Reserve; the Marine Reserve of Miramare, within a coastal sea landscape of sharp rocks and a wide variety of underwater flora and fauna; and the Falesie di Duino Nature Reserve, with white cliffs overhanging the sea.

In the Karstic area of Trieste, be sure to catch impressive natural wonders, including the renowned Grotta Gigante, the inlets of the River Timavo with their green and flourishing banks, or the characteristic Percedol Sinkhole, a unique valley rich in flourishing vegetation. Intriguing caves and grottoes, largely unexplored, also lie in wait.

The charm of the area resides not only in its natural traits, but also in the elegant city of Trieste, where the Habsburg influence is noticeable; the inland small towns with their longstanding traditions; and other quaint touristic draws on the coast - countless gems set within this tiny strip of land.

The first step in visiting this area is Trieste, a charming city on the sea, surrounded by the impressive Karstic plateau.
The old city center has a rich historic and artistic repertoire like the Arco Riccardo (arch), the Roman Theatre, the Cathedral of San Giusto (14th Century) with mosaic decorations and San Giusto Castle. Piazza dell'Unità d’Italia is extremely charming with its Austrian imprint. It is surrounded by neoclassical buildings, with one side of the piazza facing the sea.

Trieste is a city that speaks to the visitor with its monuments harking back to different periods, characteristic old coffee shops where lovers of literature and writers have long met, the harbor and the impressive examples of Art Nouveau architecture. The Faro della Vittoria is unmissable: it is an impressive lighthouse on the Gretta Hill, a modern monument constructed with the white rock of Orsera and dedicated to the fallen of the First World War.

The vintage Tram of Opicina lies along a rather panoramic route, and it connects the center of Trieste to Villa Opicina as it climbs the Karstic plateau along impressive inclines, allowing for spectacular views onto the gulf and the city.
And along the coast, one can admire three antique castles, located in amazing panoramic positions: the Duino Castle, surrounded by a big park with terraces and walkways; the wonderful Miramare Castle - made with the white rock of Istria - overhanging the sea, near Trieste and the Muggia Castle, in the picturesque small town of Muggia located in the Italian part of Istria, facing the sea.

Then, Muggia is a source of surprises for its visitors: the city center boasts Venetian influences, complete with calli (narrow streets) and campielli (small squares), and a majestic cathedral. Moreover, it is a renowned tourist resort, perfect for a relaxing beach holiday; Porto San Rocco is an inviting and modern touristic harbor.

Baia Sistiana is considered one of the best beaches of the area, and Duino - with rocks overhanging the sea - hosts charming destinations for beach vacations. As far as naturalistic attractions, the Grotta Gigante is well-worth a visit. It is considered the biggest hypogeal karstic cave, with many stalactites formed by the steady trickle of water over time.

A tour of the karstic inland leads to characteristic small towns the likes of Monrupino - with its fascinating fortress - and Rupingrande, with its characteristic Casa Carsica, an ethnographic museum displaying costumes, tools and typical rural furniture.

Prosecco, Samatorza, San Dorligo della Valle: these are just some of the small villages in the Karstic plateau, with their characteristic stone houses and their osmize, small and cozy restaurants ideal for tasting local wines and specialties.

The sea and the karstic landscapes of the Province of Trieste offer a wide variety of excursions in wild areas. Walking enthusiasts can follow the Sentiero di Rilke (Rilke's Path). This route dedicated to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, runs from Duino to Sistiana, touching on the spectacular reefs of the Falesie di Duino Natural Reserve and showing off some breathtaking sceneries.
  
The Karstic plateau is ideal for many activities: trekking and mountain-biking or extreme sports like free climbing, in Val Rosandra or on the cliffs of Karst. Speleology lovers can explore many caverns and Karstic caves.
Rivers and waterways are destinations for rafting, kayaking and canoeing, and courses for practicing golf and riding stables abound.

Water sports enthusiasts can practice just off the coast: think sailing or scuba-diving in the sea's clear depths to explore the wide variety of underwater flora and fauna.

The area also boasts a calendar rich in folkloric events and diverse traditions. The Carnival of Muggia features floats and costumed processions, while the Nozze Carsiche Ceremony is an historic performance of a Slovenian ritual taking place in Monrupino on the last Sunday in August (every two years).

In Trieste, exciting festivals run throughout the year: The Festival dell'Operetta (between July and August), with many international musicians; the Latin American Film Festival (in October) and the Trieste Film Festival, dedicated to Central and Eastern European Films (in January).

Sporting events are equally-important: the Barcolana or Regata d'autunno is an historic boat race in the Gulf of Trieste; meanwhile, the Bavisela or Maratona d'Europa (marathon) takes place in Trieste every first Sunday of May. And in almost every small town it is possible to taste local wines and take part in food fairs highlighting the local products.

The cuisine in Trieste Province is rich and varied, due to Austrian, Venetian and Friulian influences.
Typical dishes are: jota, a soup made with white cabbage, beans, pork and potatoes; zuf, a polenta dish; many kinds of risotto; gnochi de pan (bread dumplings) and gnochi de susini (prune dumplings).

In the seafood and shellfish category are the granseola alla Triestina (with spider crab) is rather famous.
The gastronomy of the inland karst is characterized by stronger flavors: cheese, sausages with sauerkraut and pork shank, and oven-baked ham.
Desserts (mostly deriving from Austrian and Slovenian tradition) include favorites like presnitz, a pastry filled with dried fruits; strucolo, apple strudel; the pinza, sweet pizza; and gubana, Easter bread.

The wines typical to the Karst area, such as Terrano, Malvasia and Refosco, are excellent.