This richly decorated church stands above Trieste’s old town and on a hill that was once the heart of the city’s medieval quarter.
The Cathedral of San Giusto (Cattedrale di San Giusto) is an architecturally impressive religious monument decorated with frescoes, mosaics and sculptures. It’s an amalgamation of two 5th-century Romanesque churches, one dedicated to San Giusto (St. Just), the city’s patron saint, and the other to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Cathedral of San Giusto sits atop San Giusto Hill surrounded by Roman-era landmarks and ruins.
Stroll around the outside of the church to appreciate its asymmetrical design and solid stone walls. Decorating the gabled façade is a large Gothic-style rose window and a series of bas-reliefs. Connected to the façade is a tall bell tower, built in the 1300s on the site of an ancient Roman temple. Look for a sculpture of San Giusto holding a martyr’s palm flanked by carvings of medieval Trieste.
Step inside to see the unification of the two Romanesque churches, brought together by adding a nave in the 14th century. The aisles to the right belong to the shrine of San Giusto while the aisles to left are part of the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Take a moment to appreciate the Byzantine-Ravenna mosaics that adorn the apses. They depict an ordained Virgin Mary, San Giusto and St. Servulus of Rome. Find other significant artifacts in the cathedral’s Chapel of the Treasure. They include a San Giusto’s reliquary urn and St. Sergius’ halberd, which today is the city symbol of Trieste.
Located on Piazza delle Cattedrale, the cathedral is about a 15-minute uphill walk from Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia. Public buses stop nearby and parking is available just outside the main entrance. While here, you can visit other historic attractions. Adjacent to the cathedral is a ruined Roman forum. Overlooking the forum is Castello di San Giusto, a 15th-century castle with magnificent city views and a museum with displays of antique art and armory.
The Cathedral of San Giusto is open daily and admission is free.