With its stately Doric columns and distinctive shell-pink color, you can’t miss the building that once served as Trieste’s headquarters of international trade.
Visit Borsa Vecchia, an elegant reminder of Trieste’s historical significance as a center of commerce and trade. The building housed the city’s first stock exchange and served as the city’s economic hub in the 19th century.
Construction on the neoclassical building began in 1802 and it opened its doors in 1805. Borsa Vecchia served as the stock exchange until 1844 and today it is home to Trieste’s Chamber of Commerce. Although the building is not usually open to the public, spend some time admiring its splendid exterior.
Borsa Vecchia was designed by Italian architect Antonio Mollari. The large portico of four Doric columns gives the building its Grecian aesthetic. Note the many statues adorning the building. Admire the gilded clock in the portico, which is flanked by the figures of Fortune and Glory. Check out the statues on ground level, which represent America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Up a level, find statues representing Vulcano and Mercury. In the upper section, see statues that represent important values for the city: “Danubio” refers to the waterway, which was essential to Trieste’s development. The “Genius of Trieste" holds a shield bearing the city’s emblem. "Minerva" hints at military prowess. "Neptune” stands as the mythological protector of sailors.
The interior of Borsa Vecchia is as brilliant as its exterior. The dome-shaped ceiling features colorful frescos painted by Giuseppe Bernardino Bison. A magnificent sundial, created in 1820, still dominates the ground floor. A ray of sunshine used to enter the perimeter wall to mark midday, which signaled the closure of the stock exchange. The sundial still accurately indicates local time today.
Find Borsa Vecchia in Piazza della Borsa. The spacious square was once such an intrinsic part of Trieste that many referred to it as “secondo salotto buono cittadino,” or the second parlor for the city’s citizens. Today, explore its many cultural attractions or simply admire the view from this classic Italian piazza.