Until the mid-nineteenth century Barcola had mainly been a settlement of fishermen and in 1826 it had 418 inhabitants when the people of Trieste began to build their summer residences in the hamlet.
Upstream of the small port of Cedas, in the autumn of 1887, during excavations for the development of the area, the architectural remains of a large Roman maritime villa came to light. Due to building speculation many of the finds were buried forever while some precious mosaics and a marble statue depicting an athlete were preserved and exhibited in the Tergestino lapidary at the Castle of San Giusto. The Villa ran along the seashore and was divided into a representative area and a residential area, a garden area and some structures open to the sea that connected to thermal and service areas. From the recovery and study of some fragments of bricks bearing the seal of a large family of the Roman aristocracy, the “Crispini”, the Villa perhaps belonged to Calvia Crispinilla, a figure of the power elite in Rome, probably an entrepreneur who he flaunted luxury and power. The whole area later became the property of the Conti family and currently the Janesich family.The villa was especially dear to Giusto Conti for the particular healthiness that he attributed to the place, which remained unscathed from the infection during the cholera epidemics that raged in Trieste in 1836, 1849 and 1855. Further upstream from Barcola, the dominical house of the Burlo, the oldest building in Barcola, with a loggia with round arches in Renaissance architectural style. According to the historian Kandler, during one or more summers of the three-year period 1448-1450, the bishop of Trieste Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became pope in 1458 with the name of Pius II, was a guest in the house of the Burlo.
Inside the riviera is the Giuliani manor house on the side of which there is still a cylindrical building, tapered upwards, with two floors plus the ground floor, crowned by a wooden balcony and with a “hut” roof in tiles that has, above the entrance door, a small marble coat of arms bearing the date 1719 and the letters F: L: D: M: C :. Some thought that the building had been a military turret intended to defend against enemies coming from the sea or land, others that the tower was a lookout post for tuna fishing and, finally, the most probable hypothesis is that the ‘building had been a granary or a mill.
Behind the Giuliani house there was the Villa of the Prandi counts where on 2 September 1790 Ferdinand IV of Bourbon was hosted, the king of the Two Sicilies, who, traveling from Naples to Vienna, wanted to see “the fun of fishing in Barcola” where he went away. sea. The Prandi possessions were very extensive and reached the sea. Giacomo Prandi (1740-1822) dedicated himself to the wine trade and opened a fish processing plant in Barcola, accumulating great wealth. He built the villa in via San Michele, in the historic center of the city, bought the former Franciscan convent in Grignano which for decades was the family’s summer residence and built a large villa in Barcola which was then sold in 1914 to the “Barone Carlo Foundation. and Baroness Cecilia di Rittmeyer “for an asylum for poor blind people in Trieste.
Behind the church there is still the villa of the countess Regina Nugent. The house with the architectural style of a small castle bears the name of the owner engraved on the door jambs, while the gate is surmounted by a count’s crown and the date of erection 1881. Lavai Nugent, Earl of Westmeath, is buried in the Barcola cemetery. commander of the order of Maria Teresa, one of the heroes of the Austrian army of the Napoleonic era and very important for the liberation of these lands from the French, in fact, in 1813 he signed the surrender agreement of the French asseragliatisi in the castle of San Giusto. Margherita Nugent, Regina’s granddaughter, donated the Leo building and the adjacent former church of San Sebastiano in the historic center of Trieste to the Municipality of Trieste.
After the inauguration of the Trieste-Vienna railway line in July 1857, the imposing railway viaduct was built, which has twenty arches, 270 meters long, with a maximum height from the road surface of 21 m. of Viale Miramare. In the last decade of the nineteenth century many villas were built that transformed Barcola from an agricultural and fishing village into a resort capable of attracting international nobility such as the Venetian-style “Casa Mreule”,
and the “Jakic House” known as the Onion Villa which was built in 1896 by Anton Jakic, a former Dalmatian priest, although rumor has it that he was a spy for the Tsar. Sold by the owner in 1904, it became a popular dating and gambling house for a time.
The “Castelletto Cesare”, in neo-Gothic style, was commissioned by Alessandro Cesare di Salvore in 1890, after his family had obtained the concession of the beach and where,
subsequently, he had built the Excelsior bathhouse and the hotel of the same name currently transformed into private apartments. In June 1904 the headquarters of the new “Società Canottieri Nettuno” was inaugurated. Barcola underwent an important change between the 1950s and 1960s with the construction of the large Barcola Tourist Hotel, intended as a luxury residence for American officers during the Allied Military Government, and with the burial between the Rittmeyer Institute and the seafront, of a large stretch of sea on which the Pineta di Barcola was built in 1958
The work of Duilio Cosma, at the time director of the Public Plantations of the Municipality of Trieste and founder of the Italian Association of Park and Garden Directors, was then bitterly contested by public opinion and today is one of the most loved places by Trieste. La Pineta is a green lung overlooking the gulf that, between maritime pines and holm oaks, leads from the small port of the same name to the Park and Miramare Castle.
Inside the pine forest in 1963 a large fountain called “luminous” was built due to the splashes of water of different colors.
The “Nuotatrice” is the bronze statue made by Ugo Carà in 1986 and placed near the fountain of Barcola in the pine forest overlooking the sea.