At the beginning of Cavana, the Museum of Oriental Art is housed in a historic 18th century building, the Palazzetto Leo, which dates back to 1747 and built by the architect Giovanni Fusconi.
The Leos had settled in Trieste in 1155 and in the 1600s they became barons of the Holy Roman Empire. Between 1772 and 1773 it hosted Giacomo Casanova. Pietro Leo de Loewensberg died in 1814 and the family became extinct. At the beginning of the 20th century, Count Laval Nugent, heir to Baron de Zanchi, already owner of the second and third floors, bought the whole building and in 1954 it was donated to the Municipality of Trieste.
The Museum of Oriental Art was inaugurated on March 8, 2001 and houses collections of oriental art, travel memories, weapons, musical instruments and various kinds of artifacts from all over the Asian area, in particular the story of relations between Trieste and the East through the Suez Canal started in the 18th century, the interesting nucleus of Gandhara sculptures, embroidered Chinese silk fabrics,
porcelain from the Song period,
sculptures and objects related to Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism,
Japanese porcelain, collection of Ukiyo-e prints, works by great masters of Japanese art including Hiroshige and Hokusai with the famous Wave.
It is the apartment of a rich family of the Trieste entrepreneurial bourgeoisie of the 1800s who collected works of art and precious furnishings with refined taste.
The house represents a wonderful example of the princely style and opulence that characterized the families of the Trieste upper middle class.
In 1870 the sisters Emma and Fanny Mondolfo, married to the Morpurgo brothers, bought the building with number 839, now via Imbriani 5, and the adjacent one number 840, now via Mazzini 42. These ancient buildings were demolished, in 1875 the architect Giovanni Berlam designed a palace of elegant and sober neo-Renaissance forms. Giacomo and Fanny Morpurgo with their children Mario and Matilde,
in 1878, went to occupy the apartment located on the entire second floor, while Carlo Marco and Emma Morpurgo chose the one corresponding to the first floor
On Emma’s death the house passed entirely to her sister, who in 1938 made a deed of donation in favor of the children. Upon their death, both left their respective properties to the Municipality of Trieste. Mario Morpurgo in his will, drawn up in 1941, assigned the Municipality of Trieste as the heir of all its substance, in addition to the art collections, all the furniture and furnishings and all his assets were destined to create an intangible fund with the name Mario Morpurgo de Nilma. The still existing foundation aims to help needy people, with preference for those who have fallen, born and resident in Trieste.
The apartment on the second floor, with its furniture almost intact, became the Morpurgo Civic Museum and the one on the first floor was in 1950 used as a Museum of the Risorgimento and that of the History of the Homeland. A precious collection of eighteenth-century majolica,
vases from Savona, majolica from Faenza and Castelli l’Abruzzo, Japanese tableware, Bohemian glass and complete table sets in French Pillivuit porcelain with monogram, woodcuts and engravings by great artists such as Jacques Callot, Gérard Edelink, Pierre Drevet, Giandomenico Tiepolo, Francesco Bartolozzi, Jean Balvay, Max Klinger and Félix Vallotton and the gallery of sixty pictures, drawings and paintings
among these the oldest ones executed by artists from Luca Giordano’s circle, make the visit an experience unique life of a bourgeois family of the 1800s
Palazzo Tergesteo is a few steps from Piazza Borsa and Piazza Unità. Palazzo Tergesteo was built on the site of the Dogana Vecchia on the initiative of a group of shareholders, the “Società del Tergesteo”.
It was built in just two years on a project by the architect Francesco Bruyne and inaugurated on the evening of August 24, 1842. It cost about two million Austrian lire and was one of the last palaces in Trieste built in the neoclassical style. The building is spread over four floors above ground in addition to the ground floor and mezzanine and consists of four buildings separated by a gallery, located on the ground floor,
in the shape of a Greek cross and inspired by the Galleria de Cristoforis in Milan, covered gabled with metal frame.
The entrances to the building are located on the four sides of the building: there are four entrances to the gallery, two mirrored places, one main on Piazza della Borsa, and one on Piazza Verdi, and two others on via del Teatro and via Einaudi.
The two marble sculptural groups that dominate the main facades were added later. The one on the facade facing Piazza della Borsa, by Pietro Zandomeneghi, depicts the goddess of the sea Tethys, standing on a shell pulled by four horses and holding a baby in her arms and on the right Mercury, god of commerce. The sculpture represents the city of Trieste driven by the fortunes that come from the sea, but also from trade and the nascent industry.
The second sculptural group on the rear facade towards the Verdi Theater, by Antonio Bianchi, represents Neptune and Mercury with allegories of geography and history.
Il palazzo fu sede della Borsa triestina dal 1844 al 1928 e del Lloyd Austriaco dal 1857 al 1883 e divenne il luogo più rappresentativo di commercio e di ritrovo della Trieste ottocentesca.
Many famous people frequent the Tergesteo including the Trieste writer Italo Svevo, who used the gallery as a background for his novel, “Zeno’s Consciousness”.
During the Second World War and the years of the occupation the Palace suffered numerous damages and in 1957 the architect Alessandro Psacaropulo intervened on the gallery, replacing the original sloping roof with a glass-concrete structure. In 2009, careful restoration work brought the Tergesteo Palace back to the splendor of the Habsburg era and the heart of the intervention was the reconstruction of the Gallery in its original nineteenth-century version.
Inside the Gallery, an original wall clock, not working, marks the time and day when the deed of incorporation of the Tergesteo Joint-Stock Company was signed and from 1863.
Towards Piazza Verdi there was Caffè Tergesteo, one of the historic cafes of Trieste, characterized by stained glass windows depicting episodes from Trieste’s history, a meeting place for the cultural elite of the time and also very popular with the Trieste poet Umberto Saba. “Caffè Tergesteo … you reconcile the Italian and the Slavic, late at night, along your billiard table”.
Duino Castle is located in the municipality of Duino-Aurisina, a few kilometers from Trieste. In 1389, to replace the Castelvecchio dating back to the 10th century still visible on the spur of the rock overlooking the sea, Ugone di Duino, captain of Trieste, ordered the construction of a Castle which was built on the ruins of a Roman outpost incorporating a tower of the 16th century.
Owned for over 420 years by the Della Torre di Valsassina family first and then by the princes della Torre and Tasso, the history of the family is linked to the management of postal services which was exercised by the family, from 1400 onwards, for more than 350 years. in several European countries, including Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands.
The Castle during the First World War suffered extensive damage and was largely rebuilt. Since 1600, many important personalities both in the political and artistic worlds have been hosted in the castle of the princes including: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Franz Listz, Paul Valery, the empress Sissi and the archduke Francesco Ferdinando.
The Prague poet Reiner Maria Rilke, in a period of his life, was a guest of Princess Maria della Torre and Tasso to whom he dedicated the “Duino Elegies” that had been conceived and started during the long walks that the poet used to take around the Castle . In homage to the poet it was inaugurated in 1987 ”
The Rilke path “, a 2-kilometer panoramic walk at the edge of the karst ridge overlooking the sea that connects the towns of Duino and Sistiana. During the route there are some war posts open to the sea. From the manor you can enjoy a wonderful view on the steep rocky walls overlooking the sea.
The Castle has a magnificent park with 21,000 flowers in regular rotation. romantic avenues full of statues and archaeological finds,
and from the wonderful terraces and from the terraces you can enjoy a wonderful view of the sea.
The Castle during the First World War suffered extensive damage and was largely rebuilt. Under the park of the Castle, at a depth of 18 meters, there is a bunker built during the Second World War in the rock. Today it can be visited and has been transformed into a mini-museum with period relics exhibited in a large room of 400 square meters.
The Victory Lighthouse was born from an idea of the Trieste architect Arduino Berlam who, after the defeat of Caporetto and the battle of the Piave, wanted to design an imposing work whose functions included the commemoration of the sailors who fell in the First World War and the guide for the night navigation in the Gulf of Trieste.
The works began in 1923 and the inauguration took place on May 24, 1927 in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III.
The Lighthouse was built on the Poggio di Gretta site, 60 meters above sea level and with a large base that incorporates the round
bastion of the former Austrian Fort Kressich, completed in 1854. One of the most important defense structures in the gulf and in the city, built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1854, remained efficient for almost thirty years. 12 long 48-pound, 5 short 48-pound, 10 24-pound, and 20 8-pound guns, a gallery with musket slots, a moat, a drawbridge, wide and deep dungeons and the connection to Barcola, all this constituted the Kressich Fort. The 68.85 meters high structure is clad in Orsera stone in the upper part and in Gabria karst stone in the lower part.
At the top of the column, the coffa, decorated with scales, supported by a capital and built in Naples, contains the bronze and crystal cage of the lantern.
On top of the dome there is the statue of Victory, 7.20 meters high, by the Trieste sculptor Giovanni Mayer, built in copper and weighing 7 quintals, forged in Giacomo Srebot’s workshop in Via Donato Bramante, a gift from the Trieste shipowners The peculiarity of the statue was that despite being made of metal it was able to be elastic under the gusts of the bora and that is to move its wings. In fact, its builder had inserted inside the statue a steel rod with a diameter of 20 centimeters equipped with a strong sleeve at the height of the chest and armed with spiral rotating metal arms and on the latter he fixed the statue which then came equipped with a support core with a long and sturdy foot fixed in the masonry.In this way the external pressure due to the strong wind was compensated by the movement of the internal tie rods.Srebot had established that every fifty years it was necessary to intervene inside the statue to regulate the wings and allow a balanced movement of the entire system. Trieste says that a few years ago an old man who claimed to be a collaborator of Srebot and who had come to regulate the internal system of the statue presented himself to the lighthouse keepers. The guardians thought he was crazy and turned him away …. Who knows …
At the base of the lighthouse, above the pedestal, is the statue of the unknown sailor (8.60 meters high) by Giovanni Mayer, made by master stonemason Regolo Salandini with the use of 100 tons of stone from Vrsar and, under the statue ,
the anchor of the destroyer Audace is posted, the first Italian warship that, on November 3, 1918, reached the port of Trieste, mooring at Molo San Carlo, since then called Molo Audace. The anchor was donated on February 3, 1924 by Admiral Thaon de Revel and the plaque reads “Made before any other sacred by the waters of the gem redeemed on November 3, 1918”. Next to the anchor were two shells from the guns of the Austrian battleship Viribus Unitis which are now placed alongside the entrance. In total, the Victory Lighthouse cost 5,265,000 Lire.
The monument is dedicated to the sailors who fell in the First World War, as testified by the sentence of the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio on the base “SHINE AND REMEMBER THE FALLEN ON THE SEA MCMXV – MCMXVIII”.
In 1820, a 12-meter-long sundial was built on the floor in front of the ground floor of the Palazzo della Borsa, which was used to synchronize the marine clocks of the large ocean-going ships arriving in Trieste.
Through a hole made in a slit on the main facade of the Palazzo della Borsa, the sun’s rays penetrate until they reach the Sundial and thus the elliptical image of the Sun is formed at noon. it is recalled by a circle in white Aurisina stone bearing the name of the manufacturer of the Sundial, the Friulian watchmaker Antonio Sebastianutti and the date of the autumn equinox of 1820, 23 September.
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.
The construction of the Arch of Riccardo probably dates back to the middle of the 1st century BC. and it has a height of 7.20 meters, width of 5.30 meters, depth of 2 meters and a plant motif in the archway.
The Arch is located on an ancient Roman road and it is assumed that it was a gate of the city walls of Tergeste, the Roman Trieste founded by Octavian Augustus, or the entrance to a sacred area dedicated to the Magna Mater. Even during the Middle Ages, the Arco di Riccardo retains the function of a door within a wider defense wall system.
There are several legends about the origin of the name. According to some, the choice was made in honor of King Richard the Lionheart held prisoner in Trieste on his return from the Holy Land. According to others, it derives from the deformation of the name King Charlemagne at the time of Frankish domination in Trieste between 787 and 788 or from the dialectal deformation of the Latin word “cardo maximus”, the name of one of the two main streets of Roman cities (the another is the “decumano maximus”).
At the foot of the San Giusto hill, by the sea, the Romans between the 1st-2nd century AD. built a large theater capable of holding between 3500 and 6000 spectators who, on the gratins built using the natural slope of the hill, attended outdoor entertainment shows: tragedies, comedies and some finds of helmets, it also seems to fights between gladiators.
The theater dates back to the 1st-2nd century AD. The act of foundation of the theater is documented by two tombstones, where word was made of the gift and dedication by the Tergestino knight Quinto Petronio Modesto, procurator of the Emperor Trajan and a character linked to the theater of the time.
With the passing of the centuries the theater was devastated, together with the Capitoline basilica and other public buildings, by the Lombard hordes and was gradually stripped of its architecture and buried by residential buildings.
In 1814 the architect Pietro Nobile, also guided by the name of the place “Rena vecia” (Old Arena), had drawn up a report on the hidden theater which was then proved to be correct during the excavations of 1937-38, years of the demolition of a part of the old city, where the amphitheater was unearthed.
During the excavation of the pit of the proscenium some statues came to light: one of a female figure 111 cm high, missing the head and other parts of the body, identified as a statue of Hygieia due to the presence of a snake descending from the left shoulder;
a bearded statue of Asclepius (118 cm), wrapped in the mantle and uncovered the upper part of the bust; the statue of the goddess Athena, 125 cm high, headless like that of Apollo, 102 cm high and Silenus (98 cm long), lying on a panther skin and resting on a stylized rock base and fragmentary pieces of the statue of Aphrodite including the head and cloak. Many other finds of archaeological interest came to light that are now visible at the Civic Museum of History and Art and at the Tergestino Lapidarium.