Visit Europe's Largest Waterfront Square In This Italian City

Italy is known for its incredible cuisine, world-renowned museums, beautiful beaches, and fascinating history. From big cities like Rome and Milan to charming towns like Sorrento and Portofino, the country's diverse and scenic landscape is a must-see for any traveler to Europe. Offering everything a tourist could want, Italy is also home to Europe's largest waterfront square.

Trieste is located 90 miles east of Venice and is the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Its main square, Piazza Unità d'Italia, was built during the Austria-Hungary rule and, luckily for tourists, it's easy to get to. From Trieste Centrale Station, visitors can catch the Line 30 bus that takes approximately seven minutes, opt for a one-minute taxi ride, or enjoy a ten-minute stroll. 

Either way, a trip to Piazza Unità d'Italia is worth the minimal effort. It's a popular place for a morning coffee or an evening cocktail while watching the sunset on the Adriatic Sea. Piazza Unità d'Italia also offers jaw-dropping architecture, a unique setting for events (Green Day and Iron Maiden both performed here), and a wealth of history as a landing spot for everyone from tourists to royalty. So practice your Italian — it's time to go to Trieste, Italy.

What to expect at Piazza Unità d'Italia

Piazza Unità d'Italia is the largest seafront square in Europe and overlooks the Gulf of Trieste in the Adriatic Sea. The views from Piazza Unità d'Italia water's edge are just as impressive as the historic buildings that border the square's three remaining sides. 

The Viennese-style architecture of the Palazzo del Governo, built between 1901 and 1905, showcases a covered balcony with Murano glass mosaics. The Palazzo del Municipio is the city's elegant municipal building and features a clock tower in its center. One of the square's most prominent features is the Fontana dei Quattro Continenti (Fountain of the Four Continents). Constructed in the mid-1700s, the giant statue symbolizes the four then-known parts of the globe: Europe, America, Africa, and Asia.

While numerous cafes and restaurants exist in Piazza Unità d'Italia, Caffè degli Specchi is one of the most popular meeting places for tourists and visitors alike. Open since 1839, it specializes in coffee and chocolate. Any visitor to Piazza Unità d'Italia should step back in time with a visit to this historic café.

More must-see attractions in Trieste

Piazza Unità d'Italia is one of Trieste's main attractions, but while visiting this seaside city, there's much more to see. Trieste is one of many fantastic European cities for history buffs, and one of its highlights is the 15th-century castle, Castello di San Giusto, which sits on the hillside above Trieste. The views overlooking the city are spectacular, and the onsite museum featuring historic weapons and a peek into the castle's past is a wonderful way to learn more about the region. 

The nearby Cathedral of San Guisto is impressive, with beautiful mosaics, sculptures, and sacred historical treasures, like the urn of Saint Justus. And the picturesque 1920s Vittoria Lighthouse is also a stop worth taking. It's open on weekends, where visitors are treated to gorgeous water views from the first terrace.

Tourists in Trieste should also check out Miramare Castle. Built in the mid-1800s, the beautiful white historical residence on the bright blue Gulf of Trieste is quite the site. Inside, peek at the original interior décor, and outside, stroll through the 54-acre Park of Miramare. Avid walkers will love the under-five-mile walk from Trieste to Miramare Castle along the coastline.