Friday, October 06, 2023

Grand Tour for 30th Wedding Anniversary - Trieste

Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy. Tuesday/Friday 03/06-October-2023.

For the first stage of our "Grand Tour" we decided to get a head start on our route with a long first day and head for Northeast Italy, to Trieste on the border with Slovenia. A sea port with a fascinating history as it was originally part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for many centuries, and in the 20th century occupied by both the Germans and the Yugoslav partisans. It became a prosperous maritime gateway into Germany, Austria and central Europe and an important hub for literature and music [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trieste].

On an early stroll to explore the town we met 88 year old local, Rodolfo, on the Molo Audace. It was fascinating to listen to some of history of the town from a person who had lived through it. An interesting factoid was that the hole in this mooring post was created by a bullet from one of Tito's partisans fighting the fascists.

We found ourselves a brochure of walking routes, and proceeded to explore the history and buildings of central Trieste. The Canal Grande, now truncated, surrounded by impressive buildings and looking just like a Caneletto painting.

Of course we came across Roman ruins including an amphitheatre.


By a piece of serendipity we just happened to be in town while Barcolana '55, an annual regatta was taking place. There were lots of yachts in town and quayside stalls, music and general buzz along the harbour front. One of the more picturesque ships was Palinuro, the Italian navy sail training vessel - a three-masted, iron-hulled barquentine, named after Palinurus the famous helmsman of Aeneas's ship.

Even the local ice-cream shop celebrated the regatta though they reminded me more of sharks than sails.

On a bridge over the Canal Grande is a statue of James Joyce. Apparently he lived and worked in Trieste on three separate occasions . "Here he was teacher, lecturer, journalist, clerk, singing student, translator, aspiring entrepreneur (as well as ‘husband’, father, brother, and friend or acquaintance to many of the city’s economic, political and intellectual elite)." [Joyce Museum Comune di Trieste].

As you would expect in an Italian city - piazzas and cafes for relaxing and watching the world go by.

We walked up to the Castello di San Giusto along old cobbled streets - a complete contrast to the streets and buildings below...

... and across a proper drawbridge over the 15th century castle moat. 

The castle, of course, had the best viewpoint over the town and bay.

We found new beers to try. In fact seeking out local artisanal craft ales became a bit of a theme throughout this whole trip.

We had excellent meals out at Ristorante Ego and the family run Trattoria NerodiSeppia. There we discovered a grape variety that we had never heard of: Vitovska - an Italian and Slovene wine grape which is a cross between Prosecco Tondo and Malvasia Bianca Lunga.

We decide to visit the impressive Miramare Castle about 7k out of town. Instead of a taxi or bus, we walked out along the promenade the whole way.

Walking back in the heat of the afternoon the waters of the Gulf of Trieste looked too lovely to resist so Mary went in for cooling swim. The lack of a swimsuit wasn’t a problem as she was wearing leggings and a sports bra.

What do the police drive in Trieste? Lamborghini, of course! Blue and white police livery, blue lights and all. I can image the scene in the station house in the morning, "Sarge, it's my turn for the Lambo!" We subsequently learned that this car is old and no longer in active service but obviously wheeled out for festivals and special occasions.

Moored out in the harbour was Sailing Yacht "A", designed by Philippe Starck and owned by a Russian oligarch. Seized by the Italian authorities due to the war with Ukraine and moored here for about the last two years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_(sailing_yacht).

Then it was time to move on. Next stop: Padova.

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