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A Great 9 days in Trieste

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Oct 20th, 2011, 12:52 PM
  #1
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A Great 9 days in Trieste

My wife & I, both mid 50s, had a marvellous 9 days in Trieste (13 –22 September 2011. I want to pass on some of our lovely experiences that might be of help to other intending visitors.

Based on all our reading we were really looking forward to Trieste. And we were not disappointed. We found it a gorgeous place, the old and new reflecting its many historical influences. We had intended making some day trips to Venice but there are so many attractions around Trieste we put Venice aside for another holiday !

Other than a brief break for thunderstorms the weather was hot throughout with cloudless dawn to dusk blue skies which was very welcome after a cool summer back home. We love walking and did loads, which was one of the pleasures of the whole holiday, just ambling around in the sunshine soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the lovely architecture. We used the frequent public buses for trips to nearby attractions, tickets costing only €1.10

After a 7.20am flight from Dublin to Marco Polo we got ATVO bus to Mestre, the 12.23 train to Trieste followed by taxi (€8) to Residence San Giusto. Our top floor bilocale was very comfortable and a great base for the holiday. We sometimes availed of breakfast in the Hotel that was remarkable value at only €5.

After a fine late afternoon meal at Mase in Via S.Nicolò (opening times for most restaurants is 6-7pm) we strolled around the delightful streets of Trieste. We got our first view of Piazza dell’Unita D'Italia which we consider one of the most beautiful squares we have seen on our travels with its grand buildings, overlooking the sea. We saw it every day. It was particularly enchanting in the evening time with the sun going down and the subdued lighting on the buildings, the whole effect further enhanced by the purple lighting on the pavement.

We had coffee and dolci at the Caffè degli Specchi sitting outside in the lovely balmy evening. On the way back we saw the fabulous rose window in San Giusto Cathedral and looked forward to visiting it.

We enjoyed our regular walks to and from the seafront to the Residence along the energetic Via della Cattedrale, sometimes ably assisted by gelati from Gelato Marco !

Next morning we began our sightseeing in the historical Piazza della Cattedrale. It was fascinating to see the remnants of the Roman forum with the reconstructed columns. The tree lined path leading down to the war memorial and beyond afforded great views over the city. The cathedral is very impressive with its marvellous frescoes (which require €1 for illumination). The castle is well worth visiting, especially with the audio guide, with its fine courtyard, ramparts with panoramic views and the lapidarium with its great collection of ancient artefacts.

In the afternoon we took the ferry to Muggia. After a pleasant walk around the centre we had a very refreshing swim at the Strada per Lazzaretto which is not far from the landing area.

Next day we decided to explore a more circuitous route to Piazza Unita, turning down Via dell’Industria and following a broad sweep past the docks area and the crowded marinas to arrive at the centre. After a leisurely cappuccino at Harry’s Café (outside table) we spent a few hours at the great Revoltella Museum. We really enjoyed the fabulous paintings and sculptures set against the lavish decorations of the original palace and the modern art in the expanded areas. On the top floor of the latter, given that we were the only visitors, the attendant let us out onto the roof area from where we had clear views over the rooftops and seafront.

We spent a glorious sunny day in gorgeous Miramare Castle, stunningly overlooking the sea. We initially walked around the lovely extensive gardens and saw the little lakes with the turtles. We thought the verandah surrounding the castle very attractive with its light tan insets and plant holders. Inside we took audio guides that gave a wonderful history and description of the castle and rooms. We were intrigued to see the decorative references to Maximilian’s love of his seafaring days such as the cabin bedroom and the ceiling porthole.

Back in Trieste we had a great outdoor meal accompanied by chilled prosecco at Il Barattolo, in the lovely setting of Piazza Sant'Antonio Nuovo.

On Saturday we had tickets for the 6pm concert at the Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi. Before that we spent a enjoyable few hours having a look at the remarkable Roman column and then moving onto to the Roman amphitheatre. The Grand Canal looked so pretty in the sunshine with its fleet of tiny boats. We wondered how they could move under the low bridge to the sea. And of course we acknowledged James Joyce’s statue on Ponterosso. We had coffee and torte sacher at another of Trieste’s famous coffee houses, the Caffè Stella Polare.

We enjoyed the concert, consisting of Mozart and Brahms pieces, in the very ornate setting. Thankfully the theatre was fully air conditioned so very pleasant. Afterwards we dined at Ristorante Vulcania on the seafront.

Sunday morning we took the delightful trip to Opicina on the quaint tram. We attempted a walk beyond the village but all routes quickly led to busy main roads. So we adjourned to Caffe ‘Vatta and had a pleasant midday snack. Afterwards we walked back along the track to the lookout point with fabulous views.

We are very interested in the history of the places we visit so that afternoon we took Bus 10 to
Civico Museo della Risiera di San Sabba. We purchased the informative explanatory booklet for €1. We found the museum and exhibits very moving giving a detailed picture of the horrors of that time. The sculptures portrayed well the intensity of the place especially the one symbolising smoke from the crematorium.
During our visit the thunderstorm began which we thought was fitting for such a place.

Next morning we made our way to the James Joyce Museum but disappointedly it was closed for renovations. But the staff very kindly let us in (may have something to do with being from Dublin !) and played the visitor DVD of Joyce in Trieste. It was fascinating to see the black and white grainy photos and cinefilm of 100 years ago and to discover how much Joyce loved his time in the cultured city.

In the afternoon the rain stopped so we took a trip to the marvellous Duino Castle (Bus 44). We had a great view of the old ruined castle jutting out into the Gulf. Preparations for an event that evening were busily underway with film crews etc but no restrictions on the visitors. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the new castle including the library, grotto and the impressive musical heritage. We were intrigued to see the family trees showing the interweaving of European royal and titled families over nearly a millennium.

That evening we had a lovely meal in the pleasant modern contemporary surroundings of Modi. It was the only time we dined indoors; the staff told us they had just reopened on 5 September due to lack of outside space during hot July & August; 30oC in mid-September probably not expected.

On Tuesday the warm sunshine had returned so we went to the fabulous Grotto Gigante (Bus 42). There were only 2 Italians & ourselves on the tour, which lasted well over an hour, so we got lots of information including how ideal it is for scientific experiments and opportunities for questions. Given the small group we moved very unhurriedly through the splendours of the vast cave gallery with its wonderful natural formations exquisitely illuminated with soft lighting.

On our last day we enjoyed walking around before having coffee and dolci at Harry’s Café. The dolci was the gorgeous ceva that we didn’t see elsewhere (and couldn’t find on the Internet). We thought it might be a house speciality.

Our last attraction was the resplendent Victory Lighthouse that we walked to, even though we were strongly advised to take a bus, but it’s only about 4 kilometres from the centre. We climbed the stairs to the top in time to see the great sunset over the sea and city.
After a leisurely walk back to town we had our last dinner at Navigando on the seafront.

On going home day we got the 5.50am Bus 1 to the station, the comfortable and speedy 6.35am Frecciabianca train to Mestre, then to the airport and back home without any delays.

We had a wonderful time in Trieste and I highly recommend it !
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Oct 20th, 2011, 01:30 PM
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I so enjoyed your lovely and informative trip report, Permia. I use to have a long time Italian friend that lived in Mestre but sadly she moved away. So many people, at least here in the states, don't seem to be aware of Mestre yet I know four different people who had at least one family member born and raised in Mestre. Thank you for sharing your beautiful trip.
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Oct 20th, 2011, 01:38 PM
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another lovely place that I haven't been to yet.

sometimes reading trip reports is just torture.

thanks, Permia!
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Oct 20th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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Thanks for your unusual destination trip report. I'm curious if there was any difference between Trieste and the rest of Italy. I have always been curious about Trieste. Did you notice any Influence from the Austrians or maybe Slovenians (food, ambiance, language)? Passegiata, siesta, pasta pasta pasta just like the rest of Italy? What were the positive impressions you got from spending 9 days there?
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Oct 20th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Another Trieste lover! So rare -- and it is a pity more people don't go. It is easy to get there from Venice, and the wine country close by is fabulous, plus there are lovely beach towns. I would go back for the coffee alone. Can you describe this dessert "ceva"?

You've written very beautifully about the pretty city. I hope you won't mind my adding that there are especially beautiful, unusual and important mosaics in the cathedral of San Giusto

http://mosaicartsource.wordpress.com...trieste-italy/


If you do go back, there are lots more historic caffes and pastry shops (including Joyce's favorite, Pirona), fascinating art galleries and antique stores, plus the great Synagogue of Treiste, perhaps Italy's most architecturally splendid and in one of Trieste's most enjoyable pedestrianized neighborhoods of leafy streets, lined with outdoor caffes.

http://www.jewishitaly.org/detail.asp?ID=77

Equally impressive is the colorful and ornate Serbian Orthodox church of San Spiridione

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...interior_4.jpg










Food in Trieste is just fantastic and of extraordinary variety, with influences from Italian, Austrian, Greek, Jewish and Balkan traditions.

I think a lot visitors
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Oct 20th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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sorry! My finger hit the send button to see. I wanted to end by saying that I think a lot of visitors to the area will really appreciate your report, as I did.
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Oct 20th, 2011, 01:58 PM
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Sounds like a great trip. I hadn't realized there was that much to do in Trieste. I am considering stopping there along with parts of Slovenia and Croatia next summer. Do you have any photos of your trip online?
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Oct 20th, 2011, 02:01 PM
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DAX,

I don't want to substitute for Permia's answer, but Trieste and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is one of Italy's most vibrant, forward looking, and independent regional cultures, the product of many non-Italian influences, yet it has much of the best of italy at the same time. It has incredible coffee, for instance, plus marvelous seafood pastas, but it also has corned beef and horseradish, cinnnamon as one of its flavors, and a terrific combination of modern cleanliness and commercialism (most stores don't close in the afternoon) and a wonderful cosmpolitan caffe scene. It has Venetian style, Barcelona trendiness, a lot of youthfulness, both beer and wine. It's just a unique place.
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Oct 20th, 2011, 06:00 PM
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Zeppole : Thanks for your great input, Trieste sounds like a good destination for me, although I have actually been considering Torino and Piemonte for my next trip to Italy. The question in mind is whether I should switch to Trieste & Friuli, would you choose them over Torino & Alba etc? I can even combine Trieste with Alto Adige(Asolo) and maybe even Sudtirol.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 01:59 AM
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DAX,

Those are really tough choices. Some of it depends on what time of year you are traveling. The Piemonte is at its peak in autumn (the later in autumn, the better). I think Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is better at other times of year. (I don't think either place is advisable for winter). If you want the Sudtirol -- which is spectacular -- you need to travel in good summer weather.

Except for fabulous coffee, Torino and Trieste are very different places. Torino is much, much richer in terms of historic attractions and entertainments, and its amazing foods and wines are French influenced, while Trieste is a real riot of influences. Torino's abundant sophistication is very much that of an industrial European city of polish, while the port of Trieste strikes out on its own, with its own very complicated history and contemporary aspirations. It's a true border space with very cosmopolitan ideas about what the future of Europe will be. You find that all over Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. In some ways, it turns its back on Italy, while Torino was -- as you know -- the first capital of the united Italy and still pushes an ideal picture of "Italy" and "Italian made" out to the world (today's Slow Food movement originates in Piemonte).

If you are a wine buff, the wines of Torino are also polished and hence a bit more predictable. In Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, they really jump out at you for their personality. They are not harsh or raw (except for a few around Trieste). But they are quite complex, as is the food.

I don't know how long you'll be traveling, but it is possible to combine a trip to Piemonte with a visit to either Liguria or to the Alps, depending on your time frame. Likewise, from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, it is possible to visit the Dolomiti.

If you've never read this, you might find it helpful

http://www.fodors.com/news/story_2870.html

By the way, there is currently a regular noon flight from Genova to Trieste, and vice versa. The flight isn't expensive and it takes about an hour. It is possible to reach Genova in about 2 hours by train from Torino, so if you had two weeks, you could spend one week in Piemonte and one in Friuli-Venezia-Guilia. There may also be flights from Torino or Milan to Trieste.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 03:03 AM
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Nice report have spent a fair amount of time in Trieste

On the way to Croatia some nice areas but fairly standard

city with some Austrian resort influence cannot hold a candle

to magical www.venice-tourism.com best prettiest safest no

car walking city in the world for me... History and Art there

are truly amazing on and off the beaten tourist pathways.

So hope you make it there soon but super report thanks.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 04:44 AM
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Thanks for a really nice report. I hadn't considered Trieste as a possible trip destination, but it sounds really lovely and interesting (and tasty!) I'll definitely be adding it to my list. Thanks!
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Oct 21st, 2011, 10:49 AM
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We are currently making plans for a spring trip to Venice and the Veneto; could Trieste be considered a day trip by train from Venice? I would think it would barely do it justice, but like so many places, I also would like to spend some time there. Any thoughts?

Forgive me for the piggy-back, I enjoyed reading about your trip.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 11:31 AM
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Thanks so much for all your kind comments. It was a pleasure writing it, reliving the visit.

Your great additions zeppole, including to DAX, made us feel like rushing straight back to Trieste and Italy! I concur with everything you say. Trieste really is a hidden gem on the Adriatic.

Since coming home I got 2 books from our local library. One is ‘Trieste And The Meaning Of Nowhere’ by the well known (at least on this side of the pond) British (travel) writer Jan Morris. The other is a recommendation from a friend about Joyce’s time in Trieste called ‘The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste, 1904-1920’ by John McCourt. Looking forward to reading both.

Turning to dolci Ceva. I took this down from the Italian menu “Ceva: Torta di ricotta al forno su pasta frolla con uva passa al rum” which I think paraphrases to – ‘Cake of ricotta cheese on a baked shortbread pastry with raisins infused with rum.’ As delicious as it sounds!

Isabel, I’m hoping to upload some photos. I took many hundreds and am compiling a best-of selection. Will return with a link when it happens.

Socaltraveler. The frequent rains from Venice to Trieste normally take between 1.5 and 2 hours, depending on the type. Getting an early one to Trieste and a late return would certainly give you an experience of Trieste. The train station is just a short walk along the seafront to the lovely Piazza dell’Unita D'Italia where you could partake in the cafés (Caffè degli Specchi, Harry’s Cafe). The Grand Canal and Ponterosso are nearby. A short walk uphill from the Piazza dell’Unita is Piazza della Cattedrale with the great cathedral and castle with its museum. If you like art, the fabulous Revoltella Museum is only a couple hundred meters from Piazza dell’Unita. In fact many of the attractions, restaurants, cafes are close to Piazza dell’Unita. And of course just walking around admiring the streetscapes and architecture would I think be a treat.

Hope this helps.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 11:43 AM
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socaltraveler,

You can get the trip down to under 2 hours from Venice using fast trains. The risk with that kind of a day trip is that are there such a short time you say "huh?" I think such a trip would work best as a mad, glam whiz into town to have a lunch at someplace like Buffet da Pepi, for a real change of pace from Venice.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/travel/20Bite.html


Then plan on a stroll to an historic caffe for a coffee, to bakery to buy sweets to eat on your way home. Somewhere in there you might consider a taxi ride up to San Giusto to see the lovely mosaics, or if the Synagogue is open, that would be another highlight of Trieste. But it would be better to zip and take just a peek than try to check off several points of interest in just a few hours, as if it were someplace like Verona. I think the appeal of Trieste for those who like it is its character more than its sights. It is not an art city nor a scenic destination like most other popular tourist destinations. It's a kind of romantic Casablanca of the north, a sort of in-between place of transit and immigrants and competing ambitions, fueled by a lot of great coffee.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Permia, I ordered the Jan Morris book on Amazon immediately after reading your report!
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Oct 21st, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Permia and I were posting at the same time

Permia,

Ceva sounds good. I wonder if these recipe would hold you over until you got back to Trieste

http://www.nickstellino.com/recipes_display.asp?ind=692

or maybe this?

http://prouditaliancook.blogspot.com...ish-braid.html
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Oct 21st, 2011, 11:53 AM
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PS, Socaltraveler,

In the link that I gave you to the review of Buffet de Pepi, the writer asserts that Trieste's roots are more entwined with Middle Europe than Rome, but that's inaccurate historically. Trieste is down to its toes the ancient Roman port of Tergeste, and had the writer lifted his head from his plate of pork and horseradish, he could have taken a short walk to see the Roman theater and forum still there.
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Oct 21st, 2011, 12:06 PM
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Excellent, zeppole. I think both would be a very tasty standby for ceva!
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Mar 6th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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Can you please comment further on Residence San Giusto. How did you feel about the location? And the quality of the room? Was it one of their apartments?

Thanks!
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