A Day in Trieste

Sometimes the wind takes us far away, drives us to distant places that we have only heard of. Talking about wind and travel, however, we immediately think of the city of Trieste, which in the common imagination has always been linked to the bora, the wind that blows through its streets and often makes itself the protagonist of city life. According to a saying from Trieste, it is said that “the Bora is born in Dalmatia, goes wild in Trieste, and dies in Venice.” The famous north-eastern wind blows with greater intensity during the winter and gives an appreciable respite to citizens and visitors during the spring and summer, which in fact are the best months to visit the city and enjoy what is a a truly unique border town of its own kind. It is influenced by many different spirits and architecture and there are plenty of signs of this history left behind over the centuries.

Trieste combines the charm of an austere Central European capital with a mix of culture, architectural styles, and gastronomic traditions of which only a city overlooking the sea can boast. A city of a cosmopolitan nature, which thanks to its position has assumed the role of a crossroads between different languages has become a fundamental passage between different nations, communicating geographically but distant for a thousand other reasons. From Trieste you can pass through to reach Croatia with its beautiful beaches taken by storm in the summer period, passing through the short stretch of Slovenia with which it borders. It is the gateway to Eastern Europe, which extends to the east to the Hungarian, Serb, and Bosnian lands. Trieste, while under the domination of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, still preserves the presence of numerous historical monuments and sumptuous castles and palaces of majestic preciousness that are able to leave even the most experienced of tourists visiting the city open-mouthed.

Piazza Unità

This is the largest square overlooking the sea in all of Europe. It’s a dreamy place which fills the heart at every glance and is a source of great affection for the citizens of Trieste. Initially called Piazza San Pietro, its name changed to Piazza Grande during the years of Austrian domination and was finally handed over to us with the name with which it is known today throughout the world, in the wake of the celebration of Italian Unity. Inside the square, our gaze is directed towards some buildings of historical interest, while we turn our backs to the sea.

In front of us stands the Prefecture’s building that was once the seat of the Austrian Lieutenancy, Palazzo Stratti where the famous Caffé degli Specchi is located and above all Palazzo Pitteri, the oldest in the square, where today our holiday rental apartments are located. For both short and long term, you can stay in a privileged position living in the heart of the city centre. As we said earlier, the square overlooks the sea and our walk takes us almost magically to the Molo Audace, which leads us to walk along the waters of the Adriatic Sea for a romantic break from the frenzy of the historic city center.

The Miramare Castle

Carducci loved to define it as a love nest built in vain within his poems. Built in 1850 for Francis Maximilian of Habsburg, the original project provided that it would become the residence of the archduke and his consort. The Castle, on an architectural level, has an eclectic style that incorporates medieval, Renaissance, and even Gothic elements for a sight that will surely leave you speechless. The royal garden also includes a great variety of plants and in its 22 hectares it is possible to lay eyes on different specimens of flora from all over the world.

The Miramare Castle can be visited today, as well as the apartments of the archduke and his wife that have remained unharmed and are still in the form in which they were built and designed. The ground floor, originally intended as a noble residence, still has its original period furnishings. The upper floor, on the other hand, was transformed and inhabited for 7 years by Duke Amedeo d’Aosta, who modernized its aesthetics to be more in line with the taste of the time.

Historic cafés

Everyone from Trieste has visited these cafés, at least as far as great writers and intellectuals of the time are concerned. We’re talking about Svevo, Saba, Stendhal and the pillars of literature like James Joyce who came here to breathe the atmosphere of great artistic ferment that was bubbling in Trieste. Even today it is possible to enter the same rooms where artists used to spend their days, guided only by the free exchange of ideas and opinions.

Many of these cafés are located in the central areas that are easy to reach. One above all is the famous Café degli Specchi in Piazza Unità, which is paired with the still more ancient Café Tommaseo that opened its doors in 1830. The first, located in a totally privileged position, overlooks the Piazza and welcomes us with its characteristic chairs with red seats. The second, instead, is located in Piazza Tommaseo and offers confectionery specialties that will delight all those who want to enjoy a memorable break.

The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Cathedral of San Giusto

These 2 locations are places whose image is firmly carved in the history of the city. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is the only Baroque style building in the city of Trieste. Built by the Jesuits in the middle of 1660, it can be visited free of charge and contains an image of the Madonna della Salute, particularly dear to Trieste’s inhabitants after the last cholera epidemic that struck the city in 1849. On the hill overlooking the city instead stands the Cathedral of San Giusto, which is also the patron saint of the city. It contains precious mosaics inside and it is possible to climb to the top of the bell tower to observe the panorama of the city from an elevated position. The cathedral’s plaque celebrates the bombing of 1813 against Napoleon’s troops and some remnants of war are still visible today on the bell tower’s wall. Inside the cathedral there are 5 naves with some frescoes and next to the main building is the Baptistery.

These are just some suggestions for visiting the city of Trieste, a trip amonst contaminations of language, art and culture, for a completely original mix that has no equal with any other city in Italy ...