The Basilica of San Silvestro in Trieste

Piazza S. Silvestro, 4, 34121 Trieste TS, Italia

Simona Bertolaso



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The Basilica of San Silvestro is the most ancient church of Trieste, dating back to the XII century. Its façade, in Romanesque style, is very simple, while the bell tower is decorated with mullioned windows. In front of what was once the main door, we find the portico, also Romanesque, surmounted by the bell tower. The bell tower was probably an ancient defence tower along the city walls and was later adorned with elegant double lancet windows during the last reconstruction.
Over the centuries many events took place in this basilica that a plaque recalls to have been "primum templum et Cathedrale" of Trieste.
Another plaque in Latin above the main door recalls the event of 1785 when, under Emperor Joseph II, the church of San Silvestro was put up for public auction at the price of 1500 florins.
Basilica of San Silvestro
On this occasion, some members of the Evangelical Community of the Helvetic confession, mostly Swiss immigrants, bought the church and restored it in a sober way, reopening it to reformed worship.
In 1927, due to damage caused by a violent earthquake, it was restored to its original fourteenth-century style. In 1928 the basilica was declared a national monument.
Since the end of 1800, the already existing Helvetic community has been joined by a Waldensian community, also reformed, giving life to a total integration of the community life even in the administrative distinction.
The organ of the Basilica of San Silvestro – of great value – has recently been completely restored and accompanies not only the worship of the community but is often one of the main instruments in the various evenings of music organized inside the Basilica.

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