The River Timavo - considered to be the shortest river in Italy - starts in Slovenia, flows underground from the Škocjanske jame (Cave of San Canziano) and reemerges after some two kilometers at San Giovanni di Duino. The area has been known since pre-historic times, and these springs (the so-called Risorgive), of great naturalistic and historical importance, were once held to be sacred as confirmed by the Roman stone inscription dedicated to the Nume Timavo. Here stands the church of San Giovanni in Tuba, a rare example of Gothic architecture on the Carso, dating back to the XVth century in its present form, but with much older origins as the Vth century mosaics which can be seen within can testify. In the apse, behind the altar, there can be seen the excavations which have brought to light the remains of an early-Christian basilica.
The first of the springs lies near to the church but the thick undergrowth prevents a clear view of the other two branches of the river which are also nearby. These all join together before arriving at the sea, only 2 km away. One hundred metres uphill and towards the left, is the mansio a staging post during the Imperial period and the traces of the ancient Roman road which led from Aquileia over the Carso to Trieste.
Point of interest
On the rock-face overlooking the second of the springs of the Timavo and below a monument to the fallen during the First World War which remembers the regiment Lupi di Toscana, several verses from Virgil which speak of the Carso river have been carved into the rock. According to the Latin poet in his first book of the Aeniad, there were nine branches of the Timavo, not only three: "Waves murmuring loudly from the mountains fall down towards the sea from nine mouths to flood the land".