Trieste is the capital of Italy’s northern Friuli Venezia Giulia Region and borders Slovenia. It is also known for its coffee. It is often called the “City of Coffee” because it receives one-third of the coffee from Italy.
Trieste Italy has more to offer than just a shot or two of espresso.
Things to Do and See in Trieste
These are the top ten things you should see while in this vibrant port city.
Glossary for coffee drinks at Caffe Degli Specchi. It was opened in 1839.
Learn the Language of Coffee
Before we move on to the reasons why you should visit Trieste, let’s talk a little bit about coffee. Coffee is so important in Trieste that it has its own coffee language. You don’t need to ask for an espresso. Instead, you can order “un nuero”. A macchiato here is called a “Caffe Gochato”, and a latte arrives cappuccino-sized.
The real star beverage is “capo de bicchieri”, or “capo de bi” as it’s commonly known. It’s espresso, steamed milk, and a bit of foam. It comes in a small glass and is perfectly acceptable to order any time of the day. (If you’ve ever been to Italy, you know that ordering coffee drinks that contain milk at any other time than morning will make you look like a fool).
Capo en bi is available at any of the cafes. However, the most historic and famous of these coffee shops is Caffe Degli Specchi. It was opened in 1839 right next to the main square.
Visit Piazza Unita d’Italia Square
Piazza Unita d’Italia is the main square. It has wide open spaces and is said to be Europe’s largest square facing the sea (the Adriatic). It houses most of the city’s major municipal buildings and is used as a concert venue. Examples include Green Day and Iron Maiden.
Trieste’s deep port is for cruise ships
Trieste is a port that allows cruise ships to dock. This is unusual for such a small town, so it’s a frequent stop on the route of cruise ships.
Go on a pilgrimage towards the Temple of Monte Grisa
Antonio Santin, Archbishop of Trieste had a geometric Catholic Church built in his honor after World War II. It was meant to be a war-time memorial. Because of its triangular shape, the Temple of Monte Grisa is called “Formaggio”, or “The Cheese” by locals.
The temple was inaugurated in 1966 and has been a popular pilgrimage destination for Pope John Paul II.
Try regional food at Trieste’s open-air markets
Trieste has several open-air markets where you can buy and taste regional food. You might see a salt vendor, a baker selling traditional Italian loaves that are the same size as a car tire, local honey, and biscuit sellers selling a variety of snacks designed to be enjoyed with wine.
Get up to the bar for beer
The culture is just as important as coffee. There is plenty of beer. Many bars have a wide selection of beer, perhaps because this area is so northern.
The craft beer movement that has swept the U.S. like wildfire has not been missed in Italy. Look for the fresh pasta vendor on the Canal Grande, who will have Birrificio Padus available.
Explore the Cobblestone Pathways of the Old Jewish Quarter
Valle de Mal Contone, which means “corner of evil things”, is the name of the main artery in the old Jewish quarter. These cobblestone paths are a reminder of the Nazi regime’s evil. Today, visitors can find charming trattorias, gift shops, and antique stores as well as cheerful cafes. Gelateria Marco has the best gelato around.
All’s Going Up Roses at Former Psychiatric Facility
A garden that has grown in an ex-psychiatric facility is symbolic of something beautiful. A trio of organizations have revived the San Giovanni Psychiatric Facility in Trieste and created a rose garden with 6,000 roses of 3,000 varieties.
Watch Concerts at Miramare Castle
Every spring, concerts at the Castle take place in the Throne Room at Miramare Castle. This is the elegant residence of Maximilian Habsburg of Belgium. These recitals are mainly piano and sometimes include cello, guitar, or violin. They can range from classic to modern music. The castle’s acoustics are unbeatable.
Soak up the Sun – Topless, or Not
Go to the beach! Residents and tourists alike can sunbathe on the sidewalk that runs along the main road. You can act like a local by taking off your top. You’re in Europe, after all!