Memories of Trieste

This item appears on page 39 of the April 2009 issue.

I read every issue of ITN and it seems to me that there are frequent stories about Venice and the eastern Adriatic, for example, Yvonne Horn’s feature “The Adriatic Coast — in the Wake of the Winged Lion” (Feb.’09, pg. 6), but I have yet to see a story about the northern Adriatic, specifically, Trieste.

After being assigned to Trieste in 1953, when it was a free territory governed by the US and British military, I really developed a soft spot in my heart for the city. I went back often, the last time in 2001.

Trieste deserves more recognition for its notable place in European history, and both James Joyce and Hemingway apparently enjoyed their time there.

It may never become a tourist destination, since it lacks the numerous “ruins” which seem so attractive, however it does have the ruins of a Roman amphitheater; a really fine art museum with outstanding sculptures and paintings; Piazza Unità d’Italia, which may be the second-largest piazza in Italy (St. Peter’s Square is the largest); an awesome grotto; an exciting cog rail system from the city to the surrounding plateau, and many fine hotels, restaurants and cafés.

Trieste is a reasonably short train ride from Venice, and if you decide to drive, the highways to it are first rate. During my visits, it seemed like the motor scooter capital of Europe.

Just northeast of the city is Lipica, Slovenia, home of the 425-year-old Lipica Stud Farm, internationally famous for its Lipizzaner horses. This is a really fascinating, engaging and enjoyable place to visit. There’s a riding academy for anyone who wants to take lessons.

Wintertime in Trieste can be harsh, at times. The bora wind from the Dinaric Alps blows across Trieste, frequently with a great deal of force. I remember seeing lifelines strung along the waterfront and some streets to help prevent people from being blown into the water or into the street. I also recall at least one streetcar being blown over. Spring, summer and fall are the times to visit.


Palm Coast, FL

If you have traveled to Trieste recently, let us know if it is still as Bruce remembers it.