the second good city living room
The economic center of the city throughout the 19th century. Its current architectural form dates back to mid-1749, when the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria gave impetus to the urban development of the territory by burying the salt pans to the west of the ancient walls and favoring the construction of squares and buildings. The irregular shape of the square testifies that this space represents more than others the point of contact between the medieval city and the Borgo Teresiano (Grand Canal).
The Stock Exchange Palace. Designed by architect Antonio Mollari, it was inaugurated in 1806 to house the activities of the stock market traders. In 1844 the stock exchange was moved to the Tergesteo palace and, subsequently, to the adjacent building (formerly the Dreher palace) called the new stock exchange.
It is currently the seat of the Trieste Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture. The main façade looks like a Greek Doric temple with four large columns, a tympanum at the top and, on the ground floor, a spacious portico overlooked by four aedicules where the statues are housed: “Europe” and “Africa” sculpted by Bartolomeo Ferrari, “Asia” by Domenico Banti and “America” by Antonio Bosa, the sculptor pupil of Canova. In the niches on the first floor, two statues representing Vulcan and Mercury, respectively by Banti and Ferrari, decorate the facade.
Above, on the balustrade, the four statues by Bosa depict from left to right the “Danube” (a waterway already considered fundamental for the development of traffic at the time), the “Genius of Trieste” (resting on a shield with the emblem of the city carved), “Minerva” (helmet on her head, Medusa’s head on her chest, owl on her foot, holding a shield with a medallion of Francis II in one hand and pointing to the Genius of Trieste image of the sovereign) and “Neptune”, symbol of maritime trade. Danube and Neptune, respectively at the two extreme sides of the balustrade, hold out their hands to each other with their eyes turned to the two central statues. On the tympanum, two winged figures depicting Fame and Fortune flank the central clock. Prestigious internal rooms, furnished in neoclassical style, host official ceremonies and economic conferences. In the center of the domed ceiling of the Sala Maggiore, a large fresco by Giuseppe Bernardino Bison evokes the proclamation of the Free Port of Trieste by Emperor Charles VI in 1719.
Inside the square are located: the Fountain of Neptune built in 1750 by the Bergamo sculptor Giovanni Mazzoleni and again in 1887 used by the women of the village to wash clothes, and
the column of Emperor Leopold I of Austria erected in 1660 on the occasion of the visit to the city by Emperor Leopold I of Austria, founder of the Jewish Ghetto in 1696 and father of Charles VI, promulgator of the Free Port. The column bears the inscription: “Leopoldo I Avgvsto tergestinos invisenti statvtaqve patria approbanti devota vrbis gratitvdo erexit” (A Leopoldo I Augusto, on the occasion of his visit to Trieste and the approval of the patri statutes, the devout gratitude of the city erected).
Palazzo della Borsa Nuova. Dreher Palace. It was designed in the years 1909-1910 by the Viennese architect Emil Bressler on commission from Theodor Dreher, son of the Bohemian brewer Anton. The building with 19 dining rooms, with a winter garden and a lift could accommodate 2000 people. The Grand Restaurant Dreher was considered one of the most luxurious restaurants in Europe and reported in all the guides of the early 1900s. Due to the high cost of management, Dreher sold the building to the Chamber of Commerce, which in 1926 decided to transform it into the new stock exchange, entrusting the project to the Trieste architect Gustavo Pulitzer Finali. The conversion was completed in 1928 and until the 1990s the activities of the stock exchange functioned.
Rusconi house. Eighteenth-century palace in Venetian Neo-Renaissance style on the corner between Via Cassa di Risparmio and Piazza della Borsa, also known as Casa Rusconi, a family of pharmacists based in Trieste who had commissioned it in 1860 to Giovanni Scalmanini. In 1810 in the Geistinger Library, housed in the building, Domenico Rossetti founded the Society of Minerva, one of the oldest cultural associations in Italy. In memory of the event, the statue of the artist in toga was placed in a niche in the central part of the building. The bust visible above the entrance, according to some sources, represents Alessandro Volta, according to others it is Ambrogio Rusconi, one of the founders of the Trieste Stock Exchange in 1755, portrayed while looking at it.
Steinfeld Palace (next to Casa Rusconi). Built in 1903 on a pre-existing house of the eighteenth century where, on the ground floor, there was the “International Panorama”, a room where you could use, for a fee, optical devices for the projection of moving images. In 1905, in the new building, the room called “American Cineographer” was opened, the first cinema in Trieste owned by the German Karl Böcher.
Bartoli House (Green House). The most famous liberty style house in the city of Trieste. Built by architect Max Fabiani between 1905-1906, it is also known as the Green House for the color of the cascading floral decorations on the main facade and imposed on the designer to embellish the building considered excessively avant-garde. Initially the building housed the Antonio Bartoli & Son manufacturing warehouse from which it took its name. The architecture of the building satisfied both the needs of space and visibility of the commercial activities located on the ground floor and on the first floors, and those of the residents on the upper floors. On the third floor, a large veranda housed the winter garden of the “Restaurant Golberger”, a café-restaurant frequented by strictly observant Jews who remained in the commercial area even during their lunch break. The café was closed in the 1930s.
Casa della Portizza (named after the androna that connects piazza della Borsa with via Beccherie, former Jewish ghetto). The Empire-style house could date back to the late eighteenth century or the early nineteenth century. The Portizza underpass in Piazza della Borsa corresponds to one of the gates in the city walls, which opened onto the “Piccolo” or “del Vino” Canal, the smaller of the two navigable canals that served the salt pans and where they proceeded cargo boats. The Canal Piccolo has been completely buried.On the Portizza you can see an almost omnipresent architectural element in the city: a stone face placed in the key of the arch of the door, with features often similar to the building’s client and with the function, perhaps, discourage the bad guys. The “panduri”, named after fearsome Hungarian warriors who for centuries defended the territory from the Turks. Panduri were also called the Croatian border soldiers, enlisted in the Habsburg army starting in 1740.