Leaving the motorway at Lisert and following the trunk road to Trieste, near the ancient church of San Giovanni in Tuba (at San Giovanni di Duino) is the first site of interest to naturalists: the mouths of the river Timavo. Rising on the slopes of Monte Nevoso near the village of San Canziano, the Timavo plunges into an abyss and begins its 35 kilometres underground course. Its point of resurfacing at San Giovanni is of such beauty as to have fired the imagination to Virgil, who mentions it in the Aeneid. A few kilometres further along the road to Trieste is the district of Duino Aurisina, distinguished by Duino Castle and the clifftop Rilke Path. The Path is named after the Austrian-born Prague poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who in 1911-2 stayed at Duino Castle as the guest of the Princes of Torre e Tasso. Tradition has it that his walks along the cliffs provided him with the inspiration to write his Duino Elegies. The rocky Path runs for two kilometres in a magnificent natural setting between Duino and Sistiana, alternating wooded stretches with superb views of the sea from the top of precipitous cliffs. From Duino and Sistiana the most scenic route to Trieste is along the Coast Road, covering about 20 kilometres between the white rocks of the Carso and the sea.
Beyond Duino Aurisina is the municipality of Sgonico, covering 32 square kilometres. It comprises twelve villages, known administratively as fractions. Mention should be made of the remains of a small church on Monte San Leonardo which go back to the first Christian settlements. There is also a beautiful little 18th century church surrounded by greenery in Samatorza. Sgonico has retained a predominantly rural character which finds its most typical expression in its many farmhouse restaurants and the “osmizze”, whose origins go back to a 1784 edict of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor granting peasants the right to sell their wine and certain foods for eight days in a year.
These restaurants and osmizze, which are indicated by branches of ivy hanging by the roadside, offer opportunity of tasting and buying the area's characteristic produce. The district of Sgonico also has the Carsian Botanical GardenCarsian Botanical Garden, founded in 1964 by a group of botanists and Carso flora-lovers. It is located 18 kilometres from Trieste on the provincial road from Gabrovizza to Sgonico. This location was chosen on the strength of its natural features, which are a microcosm of the typical Carso environment – the broad basin of a sinkhole (dolina), potholes and Karst surface rock formations. Its name derives from the intent to collect and conserve the most significant species of Carso vegetation. The Carsiana thus comprises all the distinguishing features of Carso landscape – heathland, scrub and undergrowth, dolinas, rock vegetation and scree. Near Borgo Grotta Gigante is the Grotta Gigante (gigant cave), an exception in terms of Carso rock formations. Its central chamber, entirely accessible to visitors, is no less than 380 metres long, 65 metres wide and 107 metres high. At the entrance to the cave is the Speleological Museum, with an interesting series of exhibits on the history of local caving activity.
Monrupino is another tourist attraction. The summit of its hill provides a fine view of the Gulf of Trieste. The village is dominated by the fortress, which started life as a prehistoric stronghold, was then turned into a Roman fort and finally served as a bulwark against Turkish invasion. In 1512 a church was built to the Blessed Virgin of the Assumption; it has since become a sanctuary. The village is also the venue of the Carso Wedding, a four-day folk event held every other August. In nearby Rupigrande is the Carso Home, a museum in a 19th century house displaying all the architectural features typical of the rural tradition of the Carso.
The municipality of San Dorligo della Valle comprises 33 villages. In San Dorligo itself, lying close to the San Servolo plateau, is a Baroque church with a late 18th century bell-tower. Mention should also be made of the charming little church of San Martino, whose facade is a fine example of well-proportioned simplicity.
The predominating feature of this area is Val Rosandra, a valley produced by the erosion of the picturesque Rosandra stream. It flows quicly down steep slopes, forming waterfalls, deep transparent pools and some more gentle stretches. Above the stream are imposing white rock walls used by large numbers of climbers, and many paths available for walkers and hikers. At the mouth of the valley are the remains of a Roman aqueduct built to supply water to the town of Tergeste. It is a stone – and brick-built canal which carried the valley's water from Bagnoli to the centre of what is now Trieste.
In the extreme south-east of the Province, hemmed in by the Slovene border, the valley of Muggia and the Gulf of Trieste, is the municipality of Muggia, a significant tourist centre. Its territory is fronted by a 7 kilometres coastline and backed by a chain of hills – Monte Castellier, Monte San Michele and Monte d'Oro – which dominate the panorama of a large stretch of Italian territory and Istrian coastline. Its characteristic vegetation is that of the Istrian carso. Muggia still bears eloquent traces of its ancient history: a large prehistoric fortified village on Monte Castellier (Santa Barbara) and the 9th century Basilica di Muggia Vecchia on its hilltop. Together with remains of the walls guarding the settlement, the Basilica stands witness to Muggia's Roman (castrum) and medieval past. Before the year 1000 a new settlement was built on the shoreline. Its initial name was Borgolauro and it was subsequently called Muggia, derived from an ancient term meaning “coastal marsh”. In the second half of the 13th century the new town was given the status of Comune – a municipality. This period saw the construction of the Duomo and the Palazzo del Comune, which was rebuilt in the 20th century. Having passed under Venetian control in 1420, Muggia thereafter shared the history of Venice, and still retains evidence of their common interests and costums: dialect, gastronomy and Venetian-Gothic architecture. The bathing establishments in and around Muggia are shady and confortable, its campsites are spacious and well-equipped and nearby the little harbous at San Bartolomeo is an attractive location. For some years now a water sports centre has also been active at Porto San Rocco. Among the various events on the local socio-cultural calendar, pride of place goes to the pageant of the Muggia Carnival, which involves the entire town in the design of the allegorical floats and extravagant costumes on parade.
The Carso, fauna and environments
For geological and biological reasons alike, the Carso plateau is of great naturalistic importance. Starting with its south-west facing coastal strip, the mild influence of the sea provides a typical Mediterranean environment, marked by endemic species such as the fringed centaurea and evergreens including holm oak, laurel and mock privet. The tops of the cliffs on the coastal strip form a brow which acts as a climatic barrier between the coastal Carso and its interior plateau. The plateau has a more continental climate, encouraging the growth of the Illyrian-Balkan plant species which go to make up wooded areas typified by Turkey oak, downy oak and common oak, accompanied by other broadleaf species such as hornbeam, flowering ash, field maple, cornel and hazel-nut. These areas are the kingdom of the roebuck, while the carnivores inhabiting them foxes, golden jackals, badgers and the occasional wildcat. The birds of prey nesting in woodland areas are the goshawk, buzzerd, sparrowhawk, longeared owl and scops owl. The felling of the ancient Carso forests, which began in prehistoric times, and the subsequent use of the cleared land for pasture has left a particurlarly uneven landscape, apparently dry and barren, which has been given the name of Carso heathland. This land is characterised by thorny bushes such as juniper, and poisonous plants such as spurge, which were given a wide berth by grazing livestock. The Carso plateau is peppered with sinkholes called dolinas, some so narrow as to be funnel-shaped, that act as traps for cold air. As a result, dolina wooland is made up for the most part of hornbeam, and the undergrowth has many species in common with that found in mountain beech-woods. The Carso is also well known for its many caves and caverns, forming a fascinating subterranean world. The largest known cave is the Grotta Skilan, whose entrance is near Basovizza. It is 378 metres deep and takes the form of a system of chambers and tunnels over six kilometres in length. Two potholes lead to underground watercourses: the Grotta di Trebiciano, near the village of the same name, and the Grotta Lazzaro Jerco, near Monrupino. The ground under the Carso is a rich in rivers and streams as its surface is devoid of them. As a result the inhabitants were compelled to built ponds, troughs and tanks to supply themselves with water. After being abandoned, many of these constructions quickly became oases, playing host to a number of aquatic plant animal species sufficient to make them the locations with the hightest biodiversity on the Carso. An environmental case apart is Val Rosandra, a deep gorge scoured in the Eocene limestone by the stream which gives the valley its name. Distinghishing its fauna is the Eurasian eagle owl, which nests on the rock walls of the valley. The Carso then, even in the limited terms of the stretch lying within the Province of Trieste, never fails to strike the visitor with the wealth of its natural phenomena, endowed by the presence of a mosaic of different environments playing host to a large number of living species, making it an exceptional and irreplaceable heritage.
History of the City
Discussing the origins of Trieste, historians sometimes set aside their customary academic rigour and cite ancient legends which tell that the city was founded by Tergeste, a friend of Jason and his Argonauts, who decided to make a landfall here. Other stories make mention of Noah, no less, and his son Japhet, who landed on these shores to create the kingdom of Japhidia on the Carso. Trieste was in fact founded by proto-Veneto tribes, as is witnessed by the prehistoric fortified settlements (defended by walls built with cut stone) constructed on San Giusto hill a number of Carso hilltops. But while – myths aside – there is clear pre-historical evidence as to the origin of the city itself, the same cannot be said of its name. There are two theories. The first has it that the Latin name Tergeste derives from Ter-egestum, meaning thrice-built, and according to the second name is formed of the Indo-European root Terg (market) and the Veneto suffix Este, meaning town or city. Be that as it many, it was the settlement's geographical position that determined its destiny. Realising the strategic importance of these lands, the Romans sent their legions to conquer it and in so doing defeated the Istri, who were allied to Carthage. Having finally achieved victory in a demanding campaign, the Romans left a number of bases on the Carso and on the hill that dominated the settlement. This was the ancient Tergeste, a Roman colony that came into being in or about 178 B.C. Though its induction into the Latin world brought about further warfare with neighbouring tribes, it also led to commercial prosperity, cultural refinement, urban development and the construction of road communications, all of which started under the reign of Octavian (about 30 B.C.) and was consolidated during the imperial period. Christianity, which reached this part of the world late in the 1st century, was subject to persecution. One of its martyrs was Giusto, who later became patron saint of Trieste. With the Barbarian invasions that followd the fall of the Western Empire, the city name under the fule of the Goths, who were subsequently drivan out by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Then, after years of conflict and confusion, the Lomabrd razed Trieste to the ground. Its reconstruction was accompanied by the formation of the Numerous tergestinus, a military body organised for civil defence. One bright feature of the dark centuries which followed was the signing in 804 of the Placito del Risano, a decree by means of which the people of Trieste and Istria attempted to protect themselves from the mayhem and violence of the times. Meanwhile, local bishops were acquiring increasing temporal power as barons under the Carolingian system, and the figure of the Chamberlain (Gastaldo, an official elected by the people or appointed by a bishop) appeared in the context of burgeoning Venetian power. The bishop-barons tried to ward off the tide of Venetian expansion, but in 1202 Doge Enrico Dandolo took Trieste and forced it to swear allegiance to Venice. With the help of the Patriarchs of Aquileia Trieste rebelled against this dominion, which gave rise to a long series of wars between Venice and the Patriarchate. Though the city was retaken by the Venetians, after the War of Chioggia Trieste finally gained recognition of its freedom. Since Venice continued to pose a threat, however, in 1382 Trieste placed itself under the protection of Duke Leopold of Austria, beginning a political relationship that was to last for more than five centuries. This was the final act of a stage in Medieval history marked by obscure intrigues such as the plot hatched by Marco Ranfo, a 14th century notable who tried to overthrow the Municipality and found a Seigniory, and the rise of a patrician class made up of 13 families, which actually ran the city for centuries. After a brief period of Spanish domination in the 16th century, and a series of disasters such as pestilence and famine, in the 18the century Trieste finally saw a new horizon. As the Habsburg Empire's natural outlet to the sea, in 1719 Trieste was accorded the status of Free Port, which marked the beginning of a long period of prosperity for the city. The lifting of customs barriers broughts large numbers of entrepreneurs and merchants from all over Europe and the Mediterranean area, which improved standards of living, stimulated urban development and gave rise to an unprecedented population increase. The reign of Empress Maria Theresa saw the foundation and growth of great shipping (Lloyd Triestino) and insurance companies (Generali, RAS) as well as new industries, all of which contributed to remarkable economic development. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries Trieste was occupied for three relatively brief periods by Napoleon's armies. In the second half of the 19th century the Italian Risorgimento stimulated the growth of irredentism in the city. This process culminated at the end of the First World War, which marked the disintegration fo the Habsburg Mitteleuropa to which Trieste had belonged for centuries, and the return of Italian rule to the city (November 3rd 1918). Following Italy's withdrawal from the Second World War on September 8th 1943, Trieste and Venezia Giulia were incorporated under the direct government of the Third Reich. But German defeat and the end of the war did not produce a solution to the area's delicate position. After a 40-day occupation by Tito's Yugoslav army in May 1945, Trieste spent no fewer than nine years under an Anglo-American military government before an international compromise was agreed to establish Italy's eastern border, which had been subject to Yugoslav territorial claims. After years of tension and uncertainty with regard to its future, Trieste was handed over to the italian government on October 26th 1954.
Squares of Trieste
On the left before Piazza della Borsa is the great square building called the Tergesteo, formerly customs headquarters and the city governor's residence. While the exterior presents simple lines (including marble statue groups representing Trade, Industry and Shipping), the interior is built to a remarkable design: a huge glassvaulted cross, deisgned by A. Buttazzoni and construted by F. Bruyn between 1840 and 1842. It also acts covered walkway between Piazza della Borsa and Piazza del Teatro. Triangular in shape, Piazza della Borsa is bounded by buildings from a range of epochs and in varying styles. The square gets its name from the Old Stock Exchange (Borsa Vecchia), now the seat of the Chamber of Commerce. It was built (1799-1806) to a design by A. Mollari. In neo-Classical style, the building has a pronaos marked out by four great Doric colums which form a large concourse. On the ground-level exterior are statues symbolising Asia, Vulcan, Europe, Africa, Mercury and America.
The top of the pediment bears sculptures representing the Genius of Trieste, Neptune, Minerva and the Danube. The bas-reliefs symbolising Trade, Shipping, Industry and Plenty are by A. Bosa, who was also responsible, with his son, for the historical scenes decorating the grand central salon. Seen from the front of the Old Stock Exchange, to the right is Palazzo Dreher (The New Stock Exchange), whose sumptuously curving facade gives it a striking presence in the square. In contrast with its richly decorated exterior is a soberly functional interior (1929), designed by the architect Geiringer after the style of G. Pulitzer Finali who, with the Stuard studio, formed the modern Trieste style of the time, especially in naval architecture.
Palazzo Dreher stands at the beginning of Via Cassa di Risparmio, at No. 10 of which i sthe seat of the bank of the same name, designed in 16th century style by E. Nordio. Opposite Palzzo Dreher is the Renaissance-style Casa Rusconi, designed by G. Scalmanini. The third floor of the building houses the fashion and style of Anita Pittoni, an innovator in textile designs since the end of the 1920s. In the opposite corner, at the junction of Corso Italia and Via Roma, is the Palazzina Romano, a sober specimen of 18th-century architecture restored by G. Polli in 1919 and 1920. Opposite the Old Stock Exchange the green building of the Casa Bartoli (1905, designed by M. Fabiani) informs us of a direct contact with the Wagnerschule, to which Fabiani belonged. Housing shops and flats, the Casa is distinguished by broad glass surfaces and a graffiti decoraion bearing witness to the local variation of Art Nouveau.
On the right of Corso Italia from Piazza della Borsa begins the Piacentini complex (1935-1939), which stands as the most striking architectural manifestation of the urban planning associated with the large-scale demolition of the old city in the 1930s. Cutting an imposing figure in the area's architectural fabric, this building has a long central arcade decorated, as are its entrances, with frescoes by Carlo Sbisà, an artist who combined echoes of the Renaissance with the contemporary spirit through a personal reinvention.
The triangle marked out by the buildings described here contains a column surmounted by a bronze statue of Habsburg Emperor Leopold I, erected to commemorate his visit to Trieste. This area is at the centre of the district known as the Borgo Teresiano, named after Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa, the driving force behind its construction. Built over the first half of the 19th century on land previously given over to salt works, it displays a rigid grid-iron pattern characterised by right-angled crossroads. As a global model of urban planning, its design phase contained detailed definitions of all the rules and architectural features of the buildings which would compose it, the objective being a “new town” meeting all the requirements of a modern commercial centre. The buildings had to have three storeys: storehouses on the ground floor, living quarters on the first and offices on the second. Each building was to have an inner courtyard, used as a garden or for the cultivation of vegetables. The many canals in the Borgo were designed for the transportation of goods right to the heart of the city. The only one of these left today is the Canale Grande, partially filled in, which still provides a striking centre-piece for a large rectangular area running from the neo-Classical facade of the Church of Sant'Antonio Nuovo to the waterfront. Between the two is the Serb Orthodox church of San Spiridione, bearing witness to the long-standing peaceful coexistence of a range of faiths in Trieste. Piazza del Ponterosso is also distinguished by the Mazzoleni fountain (1753), which supplied water from a specially-built aqueduct to the new urban development. Several buildings are worthy of mention. Palazzo Gopcevich (1850, designed by G. Berlam) stands out for its neo-Renaissance style. The building designed by Buttazzoni (1837), occupying numbers 1 and 2 of that square, houses the Fondazione Giovanni Scaramangà di Altomonte, where historic local documents are conserved. Among the few surviving historic cafès (Caffè degli Specchi, Caffè San Marco, Caffè Tommaseo), in Piazza Sant'Antonio stands the old Caffè Stella Polare. On Via Ponchielli is the Baroque Casa Czeike (1770, designed by Bubolini), where the simple lines of the building stand in contrast to the imposing arched entrance supporting a large balcony.
From Piazza del Ponterosso Via Santa Caterina leads into Piazza della Repubblica, whre two buildings stand opposite each other. These are local head office of the Banca Commerciale Italiana (1909, E. Nordio), and the head office of the RAS insurance company (Riunione Adriatica di Sicurità, E. and A. Berlam, 1913). The latter has a sumptuous entrance hall featuring a mosaic floor and a polychrome marble copy (sculpted by G. Marin) of the Roman “fountain of the lions” discovered when the building's foundations were being dug. The square is also distinguished by Casa Smolars (R. Depaoli, 1906-07) with its vibrant Art Nouveau lines. Further up Via Mazzini from the square is the junction with Via Imbriani, along which is the Morpurgo Museum. Along Via Carducci, between Piazza Goldoni and Piazza Garibaldi is the covered market (C. jona, 1935), one of the finest examples of the modernist architecture in which Trieste abounds, since it was an important architectural workshop in the interwar years. Worthy of note are the curved lines and spiral form of the many-windowed central tower.
Just off the right of Via Carducci in the direction of the station is the beginning of Viale XX Settembre (formerly Viale dell'Axquedotto). It was given to the city (1807-8) by Domenico Rossetti, who wished to endow its inhabitants with a tree-lined avenue where they could stroll. This pedestrian thoroughfare is flanked by buildings of discreet elegance housing flats, offices and shops. It also boasts many bars, cinemas and a theatre, and offers a pleasant environment for walkers to linger on a summer evening at the tables placed outside between the long rows of trees (over a kilometre), which also provide plentiful shade. Parallel to the Viale is Via Battisti and the Caffè San Marco. This cafè is on the same block as the Synagogue, which faces Piazza Giotti. From there, Via Zanetti leads to Via Coroneo, alongside which is the severe and imposing Palace of Justice (E. and U. Nordio, 1913-1934). Its facade is designed on two levels. The second features an Ionic colonnade which is in turn surmounted by an attic with statues of jurists sculpted by Asco and Mascherini.
The facade faces Foro Ulpiano, which leads down to Piazza Oberdan, an area that underwent radical transformation in the 1930s. Extensive demolition made way for a number of buildings designed to house prestigious bodies and institutions, making Piazza Oberdan the modern heart of the city. An imposing architectural figure is cut by the Casa del Combattente, featuring a slender belltower based on arches and horizontal volumes which appear to echo the metaphysical world of De Chirico, and by the old RAS building, also endowed with an attic but echoing above all the influence of Piacentini. Its refined atrium is the result of collaboration between the architect Umberto Nordio, Felicita Frai, Achille Funi and Ugo Carà to produce an admirable synthesis of design, mosaic, fresco, and sculpture. Piazza Oberdan is also the city terminus of the “Tram de Opcina”, a funicular tramway which since 1902 has connected the city centre with Opicina on the Carso uplands, winding its course a steep panoramic route. Just off the square in Via Filzi is the former Hotel Regina (1902-4, designed by Max Fabiani), an elegant building of brick and stone now home to the Faculty of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators, and close by at No. 12 in Via Ghega is the Palazzo Rittmeyer, housing the Conservatorio Statale G. Tartini.
The City of the Music and Theatre
Trieste boasts an established tradition in music in general, but equally long-standing is its passion for all types of theatre production, confirmed every year by the remarkable number of tickets sold in proportion to the population. Many public and private institutions organise programmes of concerts and performances in the city's theatres, churches, museums and other venues, some of which are open-air. The main centre of production is the Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, which stages performances in the splendid Verdi Theatre and the smaller Sala Tripcovich. In two centuries of history the Teatro Nuovo, opened on April 21st 1801 with Giovanni Simone Mayr's opera Ginevra di Scozia and subsequently renamed the Teatro Grande, has played host, among other things, to the premieres of Giuseppe Verdi's operas Il Corsaro and Stiffelio, in 1848 and 1850 respectively. A few days after Verdi's death in 1901 the local authorities decided to rename the theatre after him, making it the first in the world to be so named. The Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, which comprises a symphony orchestra, choir, corps de ballet and chamber music groups, now offers a wide range of operas, light operas, ballets and symphonic and chamber music concerts. The opera and ballet season lasts from November to May, presenting eight operas and three classical and modern ballet productions. From mid-June to mid-August the Fondazione holds the International Festival of Light Opera. The only one of its kind in Italy, it takes pride of pace in the Fondazione and the city alike. The works staged are Viennese, Italian, French and Spanish. The symphonic seasons, in May, September and October, present double performances of ten or so concerts featuring internationally renowned conductors and soloists. Sunday mornings also feature “aperitif” concerts with the Theatre's instrumental groups or other chamber music ensembles. Another important musical institution is the Società dei Concerti, a private non-profit-making body in activity for over 70 years which organises chamber music recitals from November to April evenings at the Politeama Rossetti. Chamber music concerts are also staged at the Auditorium of the Museo Revoltella, where at the various times of the year a number of bodies organise short seasons mainly featuring young concert artists and international prizewinning musicians. Devotional music is presented by the Cappella Civica in San Giusto Cathedral during Sunday mass and on other Catholic festivities. The Cappella also organises concerts during Advent and Lent, and in September assists in the organisation of an organ music festival. In no way does Trieste neglect contemporary music. Every November the Associazione “Musica Libera” organises the Festival Luigi Nono. And an important contribution to the city's music scene is the free summer evening concerts performed by the woodwinds of the Civica Orchestra di Fiati outside the Harbourmaster's Office on the seafront, in addition to their annual concert of January 6th. A chamber music season is also offerede by the Slovene Music School, the Glasbena Matica, presenting a selection of musicians from Slav countries. Concerts by many Italian singer-songwriters are held at the Politeama Rossetti and the Sala Tripcovich, as well as in the capacious venues of the Palazzo dello Sport and the Nereo Rocco football stadium. The Teatro Miela acts as a special venue for alternative types of music: electronic, ethnic, funky, jazz, mystic, pop, tribal – the most eclectic and innovative forms performed by musicians from all over the world. A rich selection of drama is also produced by the city's three public theatre companies. The Teatro Stabile del Friuli Venezia Giulia (Repertory Theatre), based at the Politeama Rossetti, plays host between October and May to a varied selection of its own and guest productions, with works ranging from the great Greek classics to 20th-century plays, in addition to musicals, modern dance and the big spectacles of the new musical theatre. Interesting contemporary drama productions are also performed in the compact spaces of the new Sala Bartoli. The Repertory company of the Teatro Stabile la Contrada, based at the Teatro Cristallo, specialises in comedy theatre, with a number of productions in local dialect. The Slovene Repertory Theatre – Slovensko Stalno Gledalisce, founded in 1903 – is part of the Offspring Project, an association of European minority theatres. From December to April it presents a varied programme of drama productions, acted for the most part in Slovene. Every summer the Roman amphitheatre, a number of squares, the waterfront and other city spaces are transformed into new stages of various sizes for the presentation of all kinds of music, theatre and dance productions ranging from the most traditional and popular to the alternative and avant-garde.
The City of Books
Twentieth-century Trieste produced writers and poets of international standing and renown. A series of circumstances made the city a special vantage point for the observation and analysis of the problems of contemporary amn – his losses and his torments- and their consequent translation into psycological sensitivity and poetic expression. Trieste has always generated individuals in search of their raison d'etre. Here, identity has to constructed personally because the one an individual is born with does not include the certainty of belonging to a territory with its own rules and traditions. Scipio Slataper, the brevity of whose life deprived the city of a crystalline intellect, as well as a writer who had pinpointed the peculiarities of his birthplace, wrote, “Trieste is a place of transition – geographical, historical, cultural and commercial – that is to say a place of struggle. Everything in Trieste is dual or triple, starting with the flora and finishing with ethnicity”. Analytical and introspective research run through the work of Svevo and Saba alike. The very names of these writers make up a sort of manifesto. Italo Svevo was the nom de plume of Ettore Schmitz, a Jew of German origin who chose a name that would reflect his belonging to two cultures (“Svevo” is the Italian for “Schwabian”). Umberto Saba, son of Ugo abramo Poli and Rachele Coen, decided on a pseudonym in honour of his beloved nursemaid Beppa Sabaz. Scipio is a most italian – in fact a Latin – name which went with the Slovene surname Slataper. None of them was well received by the critics of the time – they were different from their Italian contemporaries in terms of both content and form. They all had to wait for domestic recognition. Italo Svevo was born in Trieste on December 19th 1861 and died following a road accident on September 13th 1928. He gained critical acclaim abroad before being accepted in Italy, partly as a result of the “spurious” quality of his language, which made the limpidity of his narrative difficult to appreciate. Only well after publication did A life, Senility and The Coscience of Zeno, to name only the most successful of his works, find the place they deserve in the 20th-century literary firmament. Scipio Slataper was born in Trieste on July 14th 1888 and died on December 3rd 1915 on the Italian front line at Podgora. His My Carso analyses Trieste's relationship with its Slovene hinterland and the cultural peculiarities deriving from it. Umberto Saba was born in Trieste on March 9th 1883 and died in Gorizia on August 25th 1957. His poetry, whose finest expressions is Il Canzoniere, draws heavily on his own life experience in the formulation of an introspection which verges on psychoanalysis. The baton of this analysis, and an awareness that a configuration of ungovernably changing factors may always call human destiny into question, especially for a border people, was taken up in the second half of the century by Fulvio Tomizza, who died in Trieste in 1999. He was born on January 26th 1935 in Materada, in Istria – once Austrian, then Italian, subsequently Yugoslav and now in Croatia. He brought his lucid awareness to the torment of the people who have lived in these lands. Materada, The Girl from Petrovia and The Acacia Wood, indeed his work as a whole, stand as an attempt to find dialogue going beyond ethnic, social and politi cal differences.
The Civic Museums of Trieste are made up of a series of museums of different types, conserving records of local history and culture. With documents telling of the city's past, objects which belonged to far-sighted collectors, exemplifying the tastes and styles of an epoch, architectural constructions bearing witness to particular historical moments and the popular imagination of an age, together they stand as an important body of material for acquiring a knowledge of the city. The Civic Museum of History and Art is located in Via della Cattedrale. Established in the 19th century with the aim of collecting local historical and cultural material, it houses archaeological objects from prehistoric and protohistoric times, an Egyptian collection, a collection of Greek vases and rooms given over to Ancient Rome. Annexed to the Museum is the Stone Monument Garden, whose natural greenery is an ideal setting for the cultural events held there on summer evenings. It houses Roman epigraphs, monuments and sculptures and a tiny neo-Classical temple with a cenotaph dedicated to Winckelmann. The Captain's Garden conserves medieval and modern sculptures, plinths and inscriptions. In the nearby Castle of San Giusto is the Castle Civic Museum, housing a rich display of weapons obtained from private collections in the early 20th century. In the restored interior of the Lalio Bastion, April 4th 2001 saw the opening of the new Lapidario Tergestino, containing inscriptions, sculptures, bas-reliefs and architectural remains from Roman times. Since 1930 the Castle has been owned by the City Council, which has fitted it out as a tourist attraction and uses it for cultural events, shows and exhibitions. The Castle occupies a particularly privileged position from a panoramic point of view. The hill on which it stands gives a fine all-round view of the city and the surrounding area. The Sartorio Civic Museum and the Morpurgo Civic Museum are named after prestigious local families who left their homes and furnishings to the City Council, which uses them to present images of the daily life of the hold Triestine bourgeoisie. The Sartorio is located in the 18th-century villa belonging to the family, which originally hailed from San Remo. On the first floor the entire interior design of the house is conserved intact: furniture, pictures, drawings, books, rugs, ornaments and other objects. The second floor houses a precious collection of drawings by Giambattista Tiepolo. There is also the Rusconi-Opuich Collection – about 2.500 pieces: paintings, drawings, prints, jewellery, fans, fabrics, objects in silver and pewter – and the Stavropulos Art Collection. A Greek-born captain of industry, collector and patron of the arts who lived in Trieste and Budapest, Socrates Stavropulos donated to the city his collection of paintings and sculptures ranging from antiquity to the 20th century. The Sartorio also boasts a collection of 18th-century Italian majolica, presented together with specimens of local and English production. The Morpurgo is sited in the apartment of a rich 19th-century family prominent in the local entrepeneurial class. Located on the second floor of a building in Via Imbriani designed in 1875 by Giovanni Berlam, it was bequeathed to the City Council in 1943 by Mario Morpurgo de Nilma, a refined collector. It is a magnificent example of a sumptuous bourgeois residence; the interior spaces, all original, represent a range of styles typical of the second half of the 19th century. On the first floor of the same building is the Carlo Schmidl Foundation Theatrical Museum, formed from the legacy left by the music publisher after which it is named and supplemente by the archives of the Teatro Verdi and a number of other 19th- and 20th- century theatres and theatre companies. In terms of the documents and publications contained in it, in Italy it is secobd only to the museum of La Scala in Milan. It bears witness to the musical life of Trieste and its theatres from 1801 the present day with posters, programmes, photographs, prints, medals, pictures, drawings, designs, musical instruments, memorabilia, archive material and signed manuscripts. A wealth of material is also contained in the specialised music and entertainment library, and the photograph and media libraries. The same building also houses the Civic Museum of Homeland History, which conserves documents, relics, paintings and prints telling of local folklore. In Piazza Oberdan is the Museum of the Risorgimento, housed in a purpose-built construction designed by Umberto Nordio in 1934 and decorated with frescoes by Carlo Sbisà. It displays documents, photographs, uniforms, memorabilia and paintings related to the events and people who shaped the local Risorgimento, from the upheavals of 1848 to the First World War. On the building's exterior is a memorial chapel dedictaed to Guglielmo Oberdan (a Triestine patriot hanged for an attempt on the life of Emperor Franz Josef in 1882) with a martyr's cell and a monument sculpted by Attilio Selva.
Commemorating the tragic events of the Second World War is the Risiera di San Sabba, a rice-husking factory used after September 1943 as a prison, a transit camp for deportees destined for Germany and Poland, a depot for confiscated property and a detention and death campo of hostages, partisans, political prisoners and Jews. On April 4th 1944 it was fitted with a working gas oven.
In 1965 the Risiera was declared a National Monument by Decree of the President of the Republic and ten years later was rebuilt to a plan by Romano Boico, so becoming the Civic Museum of the Risiera di San Sabba. Also in the chain of city museums is the Diego de Henriquez Civic Museum of War for Peace, based on the collection of the Triestine scholar (1909-1974) after whom it is named. In addition to the ordnance and light arms on display is a huge library and a military, civilian and cartographic archive. It also has sections specialising in telecommunications, sound reproduction, seals, philately, military uniforms and headgear, prints, pictures and medals and a particularly broad-ranging photographic archive. The recently opened Civic Museum of Oriental Art is the first in Friuli Venezia Giulia specifically devoted to this subject. Its collections and objects include Chinese and Japanese porcelain, a rich collection of Japanese silographs, travel memoirs, weapons, musical instruments and ethno-anthropological articles from all over the Asian continent, especially, China and Japan. Also part of the Civic Museum network is the Mitteleuropa Post and Telegraph Museum, opened in 1997 in the central Post Office building (designed by F. Setz). It displays records of the “postal culture” of the Region and the neighbouring countries in the central European area.
The Hill of San Giusto
The city of Trieste is dominated by the Hill of San Giusto. The large square in front of the Cathedral at the top of the hill was the centre of its political, social and cultural life from protohistorical and Roman times. Roman civic buildings nave left many and significant remains: the porticoed square of the Forum, of which only the flagstones and two rows of cypresses remain, and the 2nd-century rectangular colonnaded civil basilica, originally twostoreyed with two apses facing each other, the northern one containing the Tribunal and the southern the Curia. Inside the belltower are other Roman remains which have been indentified as belonging to a colonnaded construction (80 A.D.) with two forebuildings and a central stairway which possibly led into the main temple dedicated to the Capitoline Triad. In the 5th century an early Christian basilica was built on the ruins of this temple, and then replaced in the 9th and 12th centuries by two parallel churches, which in the 14th century were joined to form what we know as the Cathedral of San Giusto, patron saint of the city. To the right of the Cathedral is the small 13th-century church of San Michele al Carnale, alongside which is the entrance to the Civic Museum of History and Art and the Stone Monument Garden.
The Cathedral square is distinguished by the 16th-century column which since 1844 has benn surmounted by a melon and a halberd, the symbols of Trieste, the bulk of the Altar to the 3rd Army (1929) and the imposing First World War Memorial (1935, designed by A. Selva). On a broad green slope below the summit of the hill the city's war dead are also commemorated in the Park of Remembrance. San Giusto hill can be toured by means of a circular route. Starting from Piazza della Cattedrale, Via San Giusto and Via T. Grossi lead around the perimeter of the Castle to the fountain belonging to the Scalinata dei Giganti (Giant's Staircase, designed by R. and A. Berlam). To the left of this is the Parco della Rimembranza, which leads to Via Capitolina and the top of the hill, on which stands the Castle of San Giusto. The walkways on the Castle walls provide splendid views of the whole of the city.
Religious Buildings and Worship
Anybody observing Trieste from the air will be struck by its rich architectural fabric formed by red and brown roofs, high blue domes, slender and soaring belltowers. On interpretation of Trieste is suggested by the variety of styles, faiths and religions that have marked the city since the beginning of its development. The Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox and Protestant faiths all have their own symbolic buildings because it is here that their members have met, worked and lived in harmony, manifesting, the city's multiethnic and multicultural imprint made possible by the far-sighted political, economic and religious policies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The itinerary proposed here starts from the original nucleus of the city at the Cathedral of San Giusto and proceeds down the Capitoline Hill to the medieval Church of San Silvestro. From there, passing by the Roman amphitheatre and through Piazza dell'Unità, it reaches the seafront and the churches of San Nicolò, San Spiridione and Sant'Antonio Nuovo. Its final leg includes the Lutheran Evangelical Church and concludes with the Synagogue in Piazza Giotti.
The waterfront of Trieste stands as an imaginary interface between the Mediterranean and Mitteleuropa. To a visitor arriving from the scenic road, it provides a backdrop for an entry to the city whose visual impact reflects the peculiar identity of a place on the cusp between the Mediterranean and central Europe. The predominant colours are those produced by the fusion of the grey-blue of the buildings and the orange of the timeless sunsets that have so often benn at work through the palettes of local artists. The waterfront is a showpiece for the architectural and urbanistic factors the define the style of the city as it has developed over time, and represents the fulcrum of the creativity of a present-day development paln which sets out to reinterpret the urban fabric with a view to the city's future prospects. The prominent buildings in Piazza della Libertà are the neo-Greek Palazzo Economo (designed by Scalmanini), housing the Superintendency of Fine Arts with the Gallery of Ancient Art on the second floor, and the neo-Renaissance Trieste Central railway station (Flattich, 1878), distinguished by the broad and well-proportioned dimensions of its entrance hall. On the seaward side of the square is the entrance to the Old Port, a kind of city within the city, which is now being redesigned for a thoroughgoing conversion.
Leaving the square along Corso Cavour, No.13 on the left is the building of the Banca d'Italia. Adjacent to that is the Head Office of Assicurazioni Generali (1886, designed by Geiringer Zabeo) which, together with RAS, is one of the city's big international insurance companies. A few steps further on is the brick building known as the Red Skyscraper, (1926-1928) designed by A. Berlam. American influences predominate over European themes in this building; it stands as a sort of unfinished skyscraper with the fascination of work in progress. Opposite, on the seaward side, is the old seaplane dock (designed by R. Pollack, 1931), bearing witness to the desire of the time to reinvent Trieste as a modern city by means of a link between maritime and air transport. Like many constructins of its time, it combines rationalist criteria with Classically-based decorations (exemplified by the telamon and caryatid surmounting the portal), achieving a strking affect. Proceeding away from the station, on the left is the area occupied by the Canale Grande, which used to reach inland as far as the Church of Sant'Antonio Taumaturgo (Sant'Antonio Nuovo) and allowed the docking of ships full of cargo from the Orient. It is no coincidence that by the entrance to the canal stands the refined shape of Palazzo Carciotti (designed by M. Pertsch, 1802), which was at home, offices and warehouse of the Greek merchant after which it is named. The beauty of this building lies not only in its proportions but above all, like many examples of local architecture, in its facade, whose ashlared socle supports six grooved lonic columns surmounted by a balcony the same number of statues. At the summit of the building is a copper dome with an eagle. The entrance hall is embellished with statues by Antonio Bosa and the hall on the piano nobile displys works by G.B. Bison. Further along on the left is the old Hotel de la Ville (designed by G. Degasperi, 1839), for decades the city's most important hotel, the Greek Orthodox Church of San Nicolò (1787, facade by M. Pertsch, 1821) and the Caffè Tommaseo. These three buildings are redolent of a cosmopolitan 19th-century Trieste in which trade was rapidly into wealth which allowed the satisfaction of a number of appetites, from the modern to the strictly cultural. This mixture was symbolised by Trieste's coffee houses, of which there was a great many. They were venues for meeting, reading and talking. In a way, they were an indoor equivalent both to the city squares, a place where the community could express itself on everyday issues, and what would now be termed a “virtual square” - they were the forerunners of the Internet and on-line communication.
A few steps further along on the landward side of the waterfront is the building housing the Giuseppe Verdi Opera Theatre, opened on April 21st 1801. Its sober neo-Classical facade, designed by Pertsch, recalls Milan's La Scala, designed by Pertsch's teacher Piermarini. The interior is the work of Gianantonio Selva, who also designed the Fenice theatre in Venice. Excellent acoustics have always been a distinctive feature of the theatre for which Verdi wrote Stiffelio. An inscription on the former Hotel de la Ville records that Verdi stayed in Trieste for that express purpose. The Verdi theatre has recently benn given a thoroughgoing restructuring by the architect Dino Tamburini.
Between 1999 and 2001 Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia was transformed by French architect Bernard Huet with a sensitivy rooted in his love for Enlightenment-inspired neo-Classical culture. This feeling gave him a particular insight into the culture which as early as 1870 saw the Piazza radically redesigned by architect Giuseppe Bruni. Linking the Borgo Giuseppino with the Borgo Teresiano, Piazza Unità is distinguished by its great size, the fact that it opens into the sea and the eclectic series of buildings on its three sides. Facing the sea is the City Hall (G. Bruni, 1875), displaying Renaissance, mannerist and Baroque themes. On the left (to somebody facing inland) is Government House (E. Hartmann, 1905) with its gilded mosaic wall decorations, the severely monumental Palazzo Stratti (A. Buttazzoni, 1839) and Palazzo Modello, another work by Bruni.
On the right is the imposing building formerly the head office of Lloyd Triestino and now the seat of the Regional government of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Its Austrian architect, Heinrich von Ferstel (1883) decided on a Renasisance design. Worthy of note are the fountains decorated with statues by Giuseppe Pokorny and Ugo Hardtl – at night the square is bathed in their reflected fllodlighting. On the same side is the tasteful and eclectic former Palazzo Vanoli (1873), now Gran Hotel Duchi d'Aosta, and Classically influenced Palazzo Pitteri (U. Moro, 1780), the only building still to have survived the 1870 reworking. Stretching into the sea shortly before Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia is the Molo Audace. A walk to the end of this pier provides a fine view of many of the buildings lining the waterfront. Beyond Piazza Unità is the massive Savoia Excelsior Hotel (L. Fiedler, 1912), taking the form of a majestic jewel casket redolent of the extravagant days of the “white ship” hotels. Opposite, on the seaward side, is the Stazione Marittima, designed (1928) by Giacomo Zammatio and Umberto Nordio; the latter was a local architect known for his combination of functionalism with the modernist idiom. The seaward side beyond the Stazione Marittima narrows down at the level of the old Fish Market (1913, designed by Polli), shortly to be reopened as a multi-functional exhibition centre. The building combines functional requirements with an imaginative Art Nouveau design dominated by steel and concrete. Opposite this one the landward side is a row of tidy neo-Classical-style buildings used mostly for residential accomodation. They include houses by Valentino Valle, Buttazzoni's Palazzo Vucetich and the Sartorio houses by Degasperi and Pertsch (see the view of the central waterfront). Among the many streets running at right angles to the waterfront between Piazza dell'unità d'Italia and the charming Piazza Venezia is the shady retreat of Piazza Hortis. One building on this square is home to three institutes: the Attilio Hortis Civic Library, containing no fewer than 400.000 documents, used daily as a workplace by Italo Svevo, the Svevo Museum and the Civic Museum of Natural History. On the waterfront at Riva Grumula No.4 is the Casa Stabile, designed by Max Fabiani in quintessential Viennese Jugendstil; an outstanding feature is the curved windowed balcony on the corner. Opposite is one of Italy's oldest sailing clubs, the Yacht Club Adriatico, adjacent to two other clubs, the Società Triestina della Vela and the Marina San Giusto. To the left is the Lazzaretto San Carlo (also known as the Lazzaretto Vecchio – Old Lazar House), now housing the Museum of the Sea, and at the junction with Riva Traiana stands the Campo Marzio railway station (R. Seelig, 1907), an elegant Art Nouveau construction with an oriental air. Opposite are the crowded moorings of the Sacchetta Marina.
Nearby are the Ausonia and Lanterna bathing establishments. The former is an example of the facilities built in the 1920s and 30s to popularise the practice of sport, and the latter is distinguished by rules imposing a rigid separation between male and female patrons.
The area of La Sacchetta is demarcated by the Venezia, Sartorio and Fratelli Bandiera piers, of which the last is distinguished by a splendid specimen of neo-Classical purism – the Vecchia Lanterna lighthouse (M.Pertsch,1833).
The Revoltella Museum
The Revoltella Museum is a major art gallery brought into being by the development of an institute founded in 1872 at the behest of Baron Pasquale Revoltella (1795-1869), who left his home and art collection to the city of Trieste in his Will.
Together with the building and its contents, he endowed the museum with a substantial income which enabled his legacy to be built up as the years passed, thus producing a noteworthy art collection in a relatively short time. By the end of the 19th century is comprised the work of celebrated Italian painters such as Hayez, Morelli, Favretto, Nono and Palizzi, in addition to that of many foreign artists. Over the last century the Museum has enjoyed further development, becoming a cultural institution of ever-increasing prestige and a major reference point for modern and contemporary art. Not only does it boast the biggest names in 20th-century Italian art, including Casorati, Sironi, Carrà, Morandi, De Chirico, Manzù, Marini, Fontana and Burri, it has staged a series of exhibitions whose top-level academic content has made a significant contribution to enhancing appreciation of the art of the last two centuries. The Museum has also been able to axpand through the purchase of the nearby Palazzo Brunner, which was thoroughly restructured between 1968 and 1991 (the realisation of Carlo Scarpa's design underwent several suspensions) to give it new facilities for the exhibition of modern art. The Revoltella now occupies a huge complex of three buildings making up an entire block bounded by Piazza Venezia, Via Diaz, Via Cadorna and Via San Giorgio. The third building – Palazzina Basevi, whose entrance is on Via San Giorgio – houses the Museum's management and administrative offices. Palazzo Revoltella, built in 1858 to a design by Friedrich Hitzig and lived in by Pasquale Revoltella until his death in 1869, has three floors joined by a huge spiral staircase, and conserves almost all the original furnishings and works of the Revoltella collection. The second floor gives access to the gallery of modern art, which displays a selection of over 200 19th- and 20th-century paintings.
The City of Science
Modern-day Trieste may be said to be a fullblown scientific capital. In the period following the Second World War a concerted effort was made to launch the city as an important centre for the production of scientific knowledge for the benefit of developing countries but also, and significantly, the countries of central and eastern Europe. Starting from the premise that the most advanced science was essential to bring the Third World out of underdevelopment, in 1964 the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) was founded under the directorship of Professor Abdus Salam, a Pakistani who 15 years later was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. The Centre is supported by two UN agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNESCO, but the bulk of its financing is provided by the Italian government. It has contributed to the advanced training of about 60.000 scientists, most of whom are from developing countries. Subsequent years saw the foundation of the International High School for Advanced Studies (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati – SISSA), providing Englishtaught doctorate courses with an international staff and student body which has earned itself a reputation for scientific excellence.
The great strides made in molecular genetics in the 1970s led to the idea of establishing a centre of excellence for research and training in genetic engineering and biotechnology with the aim of tackling the main problems besetting the Third World (food, health and economic development).
The International Centre of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) thus came into being in 1987. It is an autonomous international body whose head office and one of two laboratories are in Trieste (the other laboratory is in New Delhi). This centre, also financed mainly by the Italian government, plays host to 150 researchers and is another body to have earned a reputation for the quality of its scintific work. In the same years the Italian government also decided on Trieste as the location for a new national Synchrotron Light Laboratory dedicated to the production ox X-rays for the study of material structures and biomolecules. The founder and first President of ELETTRA, as it is now called, was Professor Carlo Rubbia, who also won a Nobel Prize for Physics in that period. Together with the ICGEB and a range of other research bodies, ELETTRA is located in the AREA Science Park, the biggest facility of its kind in Italy. The local scientific panorama is completed by a range of long-established such as the University, the Astronomical Observatory of the National Institute of Astrophysics, the National Institute and Experimental Geophysics, the National Research Council Institute of Marine Science, the Marine Biology Laboratory and the interactive museum facility named Science Centre – Immaginario Scientifico. This complex of research institutions, some of which enojy great international standing, give Trieste the well-earned reputation as a capital of science.
From the eastern end of the Coast Road into Trieste the eye is drawn to the tip of a headland on which stands the Castle of Miramare. The Castle and its gardens were built at the behest of Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg, brother of Emperor Franz Josef. Born in Vienna in 1832, Maximilian came to Trieste for the first time in 1850. Four years later, appointed Rear Admiral in the Austro-Hungarian Navy, he decided to settle in the city. He decided on the promontory of Miramare as the site for his residence and appointed Carl Junker to take charge of the construction of a castle there (1856), giving him detailed instructions as to its design. It was built on eclectic lines: medieval influences are evident in its rounded arches, alongside neo-Gothic themes visible in a number of peaked arch features. With his young wife Charlotte of Belgium, Maximilian took up residence in the Castle in 1860. Four years later the couple set sail for Mexico, whose throne had been offered to Maximilian in an attempt to end the civil war that was raging in the country. The enterprise met a tragic end, however, when he was captured and shot at Quèretaro in 1867. Charlotte, who had returned to Miramare a few months earlier, was so devastated by the news that the balance of her mind was disturbed. She withdrew to the Castelletto in the Castle gardens and then moved back to Belgium, where she eventually died in 1927. The couple lived in the Castle for just four years. The ground floor is given over to the imperial couple's apartments. The interior, completed in 1860, reflects the fashion of the time as expressed by designers Franz and Julius Hofmann in the execution of their patron's wishes. The tour begins with Maximilian's bedroom, known as the cabin, and the Novara study, which reproduce the design of shipboard cabins in the Austrian Navy. The last room in his apartment is the library, some of whose 7.000 volumes are on display to the public – the rest are in storage. This is followed by the apartment used by Charlotte, who is depicted in a portrait by Jean Portaels (1857) hanging in the turret room. Also on display there is the piano on which she would play. After the bedroom and dressing room is a room exhibiting pairs of water-colours illustrating the building of the Castle and photographs taken from Maximilian's album. The Chapel and the Wind Rose Room conclude the tour of the ground floor, which was the only one lived in by the couple. The staircase of honour, whose view of the Gulf of Trieste encompasses part of Trieste and Duino, leads to the first floor with a number of rooms restructured in the 1930s accomodate Duke Amedeo d'Aosta and his family. Furnished in rationalist style, the rooms have been preserved with their original contents.
Given over to guests staying at the Castle, the first floor was completed in about 1870 and designed in the neo-Renaissance and neo-Baroque styles fashionable at the time of the Second Empire. From the landing begins a series of reception rooms, including the Sovereigns'Room, the Audience Room, the Oriental Salons, the Historic Room and the Throne Room.
The view from the driveway in front of the Castle gives and idea of the extent of the gardens, which cover no fewer than 22 hectares. One of Maximilian's aims in purchasing the promontory was to turn its rocky Carso terrain into a green area.
Various improvement schemes have turned the site into a garden rich in rare and exotic plants and trees. It also has a number of buildings with a variety of functions. At the main entrance are the Stables, now used for exhibitions; near the Grignano exit is the Castelletto, lived in by Charlotte after 1866 and now the Visitor's Centre of the Miramare Marine Nature Reserve.
Trieste's cuisine is closely tied to its history. Like all forms of culture, its gastronomic culture is the product of the combitnation of the traditions brought by the nationalities that have contributed to the formation of the city's social fabric since the 18th century.
Despite Trieste's development from a village to a great trading centre, all these influences continue to coexist as distinct features of the local cuisine. A clear distinction can be drawn between the maritime cuisine of Istrian and Venetian origin and that of the hinterland, from the Slav and Austro-Hungarian tradition. Both culinary traditions are rather basic, but can boast this simplicity as one of their biggest strenghts.
The local maritime cuisine revolves above all around the quality of the fish and simple cooking methods which bring its taste to the fore. The main attractions of the fish restaurants and trattorias, especially those on the waterfront, are seafood startes and risottos, shellfish salads, crab salds, adn the best Istrian fish baked or grilled. Special mention should be made of the many small fish native to the Mediterranean, particularly sardines (of various sizes), for which a festival is held every August with tons of sardines - fried, in breadcrumbs or as rollmops - being served from kiosks on the seafront. But just a few kilometres inland, on the plateau of the Carso, lies a culinary world which is completely different, one which first courses reign supreme – potato, bread and plum gnocchi (dumplings), pasticcio and crespelle (filled pasta envelopes), potato and spinach rolls, all is substantial roast meat, goulash and game sauces. One dish that must be tried is jota – a thick soup made from sauerkraut, potatoes and beans. Its distinctive taste means that most people either love it or hate it.
The influence of the Habsburg reign in these dishes is obvious – as the the Empire, Trieste had no choice bu to supplement its menus with Hungarian, Czech, Austrian and Slav dishes, amalgamating the foods and flavours of central Europe with those of the Balkans. These flavours are also found in local bakeries: apple or ricotta strudel and palacinke (sweet crespelle filled with jam or nut paste) appear in almost menus, presnitz (a fusion ofpuff-pastry and currants, raisins, chocolate and liqueur) is a permanent fixture at Christmas and Easter, while fave (soft almond sweetcakes) and Easter pinza (sweet leavened spongecake) are of Venetian origin. No culinary exploration of Trieste would be complete without a trip to what is considered one of the city's emblems – a buffet. As soons as you walk in you are enveloped by the intense smell of sauerkraut, the natural companion for Vienna sausage, fat sausage, spiced sausage, boiled pork, tongue, belly of pork – no part of a pig is left out of the “boiler”, slowly cooking before being served piping hot with grated horse-radish. But pride of place in any self-respecting buffet goes to hot baked ham – lean leg of pork on the bone, kneaded to softness, cooked for up to 12 hours and served hot in a bread roll or on its own as a snack. Many buffets have made a name for themeselves over the years, in some cases supplanting coffee houses as a place to mett and talk business and politics. As far as wine is concerned, a wide range of renowned names from Friuli and the nearby Collio area are readily available, but great efforts are being expended to develop two local wines – Terrano, a sharp, vigorous red ideally suited to Carso cuisine and praised by the Romans, and Malvasia Istriana, a dry, light and slightly aromatic white originating from ancient Greece. And a selective growing procedure has recently been started on Vitovska, an indigenous strain with a highly promising future.
Thanks Agenzia di Informazione e di Accoglienza Turistica di Trieste for texts kindly permit and for some of published photos.
The other photos, made by Ufficio Immagini, are published by kindly permit of Archivio Generale of Comune di Trieste