Trieste’s magnificent Piazza Unità d'Italia (Unity of Italy Square, also known as Piazza Grande), facing the Adriatic Sea, is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. This large open space—the largest seafront square in Europe—lined with sumptuous 19th- and 20th-century palaces and historic cafés, is the very heart of the city.
The palaces around Trieste’s main square now house City Hall, the headquarters of the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and the prefecture. There are also a number of literary cafés on the square—most famously the Caffè degli Specchi, dating from 1839 and a favorite haunt of Joyce, Kafka, and Italo Svevo—and the elegant 18th-century Fountain of the Four Continents in the center.
For an in-depth exploration of the square, join a private tour to discover Trieste that also hits nearby highlights like the Castle of San Giusto and Miramare Castle (Castello di Miramare).
Things to Know Before You Go
- The center of Trieste is compact, but be sure to wear comfortable shoes if joining a walking tour.
- Since the square is closed to traffic, it's a relaxing spot for a stroll with kids.
- As one of the main ports for coffee imports in Europe, Trieste has a strong coffee culture, and the square is crowded with vibrant cafés.
- Piazza Unità d'Italia is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Trieste is located in northern Italy, just across the border from Slovenia, and makes an easy day trip from Venice. Centrally located Piazza Unita d'Italia is a short walk from the train station.
When to Get There
The best time of day to visit the square is after sunset, when it twinkles with lights and offers lovely views over the Gulf of Trieste. The square hosts a pretty Christmas market in December.
The Square as Concert Hall
Piazza Unità d'Italia has been a venue for a number of large rock concerts, including international acts like Iron Maiden and Green Day as well as Italian stars including Franco Battiato.