Trieste: San Giusto and the Capitoline Hill

This is an excerpt from the book “Trieste and Friuli”. by Enrico Massetti. Get the ebook for the complete content.

Trieste San Giusto – Photo © Renato Esti

Over a Roman propylaeum, which may have been the entrance to a memorial monument called ‘Tempio Capitolino’, a pyramid was found. With the symbols of the capitoline triad (Jupiter, Juno and Minerva) and a part of it was kept to build a large cultural room in the 6th century.

Today this room consists only of a mosaic on the floor which shows the limits of the paleochristian and was destroyed a few years after it was opened for worship by the lombard invaders.

Between the 9th and the 11th century, two basilicas were built over these ruins. The first was dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and the second to Saint Giusto.

The latter had originally a central plan but was eventually made longer. In the 14th century the basilicas were joined together destroying the side-aisles to create one large aisle.

A simple facade was built asymmetrically with an elegant Gothic rose window dominating the structure.

The facade and the bell tower were decorated using local Roman stones.

Inside the basilica many things are worth seeing such as mosaics on the apse of the Lady of the Assumption and San Giusto by artists from Veneto dated XII-XIII century.

The little church of Saint John (old baptistery), dated 3rd century, is on the left. On the right, near the entrance to the museum, is Saint Michael of Carnale. These two churches complete the medieval impression of the yard.

On the square can be found the altar to remember the consecration and dismissal of weapons of the third Army. The column with the halberd and the memorial to the fallen soldiers of WWI.

During the 1930’s some remains were found from the Roman Forum with its civil basilica. The basilica had been constructed with two floors with columns and two apses.

After restoration the Castle of San Giusto was emphasized more. It has a long history because it was built on the remains of previous castles. Its construction took almost two centuries. Inside the castle one can find the central part, ordered by Federico III (1470-71), the round bastion (Venetian style 1508-1509), the Hoyos-lalio bastion (1553-61), the Pomis or floral bastion (1630).

All these structures represent the evolution in the centuries of defense buildings.

San Giusto – Photo © Blue_Valentine

Today the castle has many rooms open to the public, such as the Caprin chamber. In the castle of San Giusto there is a civic museum with old weapons and it is also a place where exhibits and open air shows are held. Walking along the terraces of the castle one can see a lovely view of the city, the sea and the hills. The Parco della Rimembranza (Rememberance Park) was built to honor the memory of those who died in WWI. One can not miss a visit to this simple natural oasis of peace.

From the square of the Cathedral one can enter through the iron gate to the Orto Lapidario (garden). It was built in 1834 by Domenico Rossetti over the previous cemetery of San Giusto which was moved to another location at the end of the 18th century. Here are preserved Roman and Medieval ruins found in Trieste and the rest of the region. The Cenotafio (cenotaph) is dedicated to the archeologist Giovanni Winckelmann, father of Neoclassicism, who died in Trieste in 1769.

Where to stay in Trieste

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This is an excerpt from the book “Trieste and Friuli”. Get the ebook for the complete content.