Piazza Unità d’Italia
Piazza Unità d’Italia, Trieste’s “sitting room”, is Europe’s largest square overlooking the sea. Originally, it was called Piazza San Pietro, then Piazza Grande. It was named Piazza Unità when Trieste was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy after 1918. In 1955, when Trieste was annexed to Italy again with the dissolution of the free territory of Trieste, the square took its current name.
Between 2001 and 2005 it was completely renovated and the buildings overlooking it were renovated as well. The stone paving was replaced by thin sandstone slabs, the Fountain of the Four Continents was placed in its original position opposite the Town Hall’s main entrance and, on the sea side, a blue led lighting system was set up in remembrance of the ancient small sheltered harbour, filled in between 1858 and 1863.
Looking at the square from the sea side, from left to right, the square is overlooked by the following buildings: the palace of the Austrian lieutenancy, now the seat of the Prefecture, characterized by mosaics that now depict the coat of arms of the House of Savoy that replace the original ones, which depicted the Austro-Hungarian imperial coat of arms; then Palazzo Stratti, where the historic café Caffè degli Specchi is situated; Palazzo Modello; the Town Hall, the tower of which is topped by two bronze figures, “Mikeze e Jakeze”, that strike the hours; Palazzo Pitteri, the oldest building in the square, Palazzo Vanoli, which houses a prestigious hotel, and the palace of the Austrian Lloyd shipping company, then Lloyd Triestino, and now the seat of the Region.