Piazza Unità d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square) is the main square of Trieste. The rectangular piazza, located at the foot of the San Giusto Hill, opens on one side onto the Gulf of Trieste. With an area of 12,280 square meters, it is considered the largest seafront square in Europe.
In ancient times, the square was called Piazza San Pietro, after the name of a church located there. Starting with 1863, the square was called Piazza Grande. During the Austrian period, the name of the square was changed to Piazza Francesco Giuseppe, after the name of the Emperor Franz Joseph.
Only in 1918, the square took the name of Piazza Unità, when Trieste was annexed to Italy. In 1955, when the city returned to Italy after the dissolution of the Free Territory of Trieste, it took its current name, Piazza Unità d’Italia.
Over the centuries, the square was remodeled several times. Its current appearance comes from the complete renovation made between 2001 and 2005, when all the surrounding buildings were restored.
On this occasion, the pavement was replaced with sandstone blocks, the Fountain of the Four Continents (Fontana dei Quattro Continenti) was positioned in front of the main entrance of Palazzo del Municipio, and on the sea side a lighting system with blue LEDs was installed, to emphasize the connection with the sea.
In the southeastern part of the square, there is Palazzo del Municipio, the Town Hall of the city, built in 1875 by the architect Giuseppe Bruni.
To the south of the square, we can find Palazzo Pitteri, built in 1780 by the architect Ulderico Moro. Next, to the west, there is the Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta, built in 1873 by the engineer Eugenio Geiringer and architect Giovanni Righetti.
To the northwest, we have Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino, built in 1884 by the architect Heinrich von Ferstel for the shipping company Lloyd Triestino di Navigazione, now seat of the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
To the north, there is Palazzo della Luogotenenza Austriaca (Palace of the Austrian Lieutenancy), built in 1905 by the architect Emil Artmann, now the seat of the Prefecture. Next, to the east, we have Palazzo Stratti, built in 1839 by the architect Antonio Buttazzoni, and the adjacent Palazzo Modello, built in 1871 by the architect Giuseppe Bruni.
In front of the Palazzo del Municipio, there is the monumental Fountain of the Four Continents, built between 1751 and 1754 by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Mazzoleni. In front of the Palazzo Pitteri, there is the column of Charles VI of Habsburg, and on the sea side of the square are two flag bearers.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza Unità d’Italia is located about 1 kilometer away from the Trieste Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is Riva Caduti per l’Italianita di Trieste, about 20 meters away, on the northern part of the square, on the bus Lines 08, 09, 10, 11, 24 and 30.