Trieste, Imperial and Austere Beauty


We need to go around all the Adriatic sea to the bottom on the map of Italy to get to Trieste, capital of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is not certainly Venice and not one of the most preferred tourist destinations, it is rather austere, carring out the reputation of the decadent city, with an imperial architecture that can possibly seem too pompous, but here the life is more relaxed, there is order, there is the sea, there is the Slavic and Austrian influence and an unexpected cafe culture, elegant, with high ceilings and art-nouveau, clearly Viennese inspiration. 

Trieste is the city that gave birth to two monuments of Italian literature, such as Umberto Saba and Italo Svevo, and has exerted a special fascination for artists, writers and intellectuals from all over Europe, who have chosen it not only as the protagonist of their works, but often also as their residence. This is the case of James Joyce who, at the Berlitz School in via San Nicolò, taught English and knew Svevo, stopping in the town "thoughtful and shy", as Saba called it in one of his poems.


1. TAKE PART OF THE TOWN LIFE WALKING IN PIAZZA UNITÀ. Beautiful during the day, becomes wonderful in the evening, with illuminated buildings and the blue lights on the floor. In front of the piazza, begins the Molo Audace, a stone arm of 246 meters into the sea.

2. VISIT THE CASTLE OF MIRAMARE, built by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg. Overlooking the Gulf of Trieste and it is surrounded by a lush park full of precious botanic species, where people of Trieste like to go in free time.

3. VISIT THE REVOLTELLA MUSEUM, which houses the Gallery of Modern Art of the city. Worth a visit for the architecture and the collections: a roundup of the art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from Guttuso to Carra, from De Chirico to Morandi.

4. VISIT THE SAN BABBA RICE MILL, a large establishment for husking rice, which in 1943, the Nazis turned into a prison camp. Today it is a museum (free admission) explaining what was going on within its walls.

5. MAKE A PANORAMIC TRIP WITH THE TRAM OF OPICINA, which for 110 years rattles with its old blue cars the center of Trieste and climbs to a height of 348 meters on the Carso hills overlooking the city. Many spots open along the route that runs through the greenest part of Trieste.

6. DIVING IN MEMORY OF TIME AWAY IN GOURMET CAFFÈ PASTICCERIA PIRONA (Via Dante Alighieri, 2), local historian paradise of Austro-Hungarian confectionery tradition that, among its regulars, boasts the writer James Joyce, who lived for a period in the same street.

7. SIT IN ONE OF HISTORICAL COFFEE OF THE CITY, architecturally beautiful, full of charm which has always been the site of meetings between intellectuals. The names? The centenary Caffè San Marco, the Caffè degli Specchi  in Piazza Unità d’Italia, and Caffè Tommaseo, the oldest of the city, decorated with mirrors from Belgium and works of the painter Gatteri.

8. STOP FOR A GOURMET SANDWICH OR THE LEGENDARY TRADITIONAL BUFFET DA PEPI (via della Casa di Risparmi, 3). This is a form of typical restaurant in Trieste, a cross between a bar, restaurant and cafeteria specialized in meats cooked in the boiler, or a big pot often set in the counter. Definitely try the piatto misto.

9. HAVE A DRINK AT GRAN MALABAR (Piazza S. Giovanni, 6), always crowded wine bar with over 500 different wines of the Carso and Collio and with a more than enviable choice of meats and cheeses.

10. HAVE DINNER IN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT "ANTIPASTOTECA DI MARE ALLA VOLIGA" (via della Fornace, 1), known for its true and delicious Trieste cuisine and excellent value for money. From absolutely try the soups and grilled fish.