The perfect hybrid culture

As you will know, despite Italy has a millennial background, It is an official state only since a century and a half. Before the Unity, the peninsula was only a cluster of little states that over the centuries, often changed geography and dominations.

The result is that Italian people have multi-ethnic origins derived by years of coexistence with dozens of different cultures:  probably the most interesting things about our traditions is that we took something from each foreign populations that we met in the past. Just some examples: irish red hair in Campania and Sicily; arabic buildings and music in the south; spanish speaking people in Sardegna, French and German food in the norh, different languages in each region or town… and so on. And all this characteristics that affected us centuries ago are completely rooted in our culture now.

In Trieste this is much more enhanced: it is at few miles from the borders and it has changed many flags in the last few decades (Trieste join our nation just after the Second World War, in 1954). You can see this in many different things: architecture, dialect, daily life, traditions and, most of all, cuisine.

View of the waterfront in Trieste ©Paola Kervin
View of the waterfront in Trieste | ©Paola Kervin
You can feel the greatness of Austro-Hungarian empire, the romantic atmosphere of Italy, the charm of the Slavic culture all in one single place.

But this is not the end.

Trieste is really beautiful. It is located on a small strip of land between mountains and sea.

For this reason it has a really strange weather during the year: during winter is really cold, especially when the “bora” wind is blowing hard ( It can reach 200 km/h or 124,27 mph, as in 2010 ). Just think that in certain streets they have ropes along the walls for help people to walk. On the other hand, during summer, the climate is warm and pleasant and the city is full of life, with a lot of young people, festivals, bars and pubs. You can even go to the beach.

It’s pretty hard not to fall in love with a city so eclectic and charming.

Ponte Umberto I

Canal Grande

Sponde del Canal Grande

Miramare Castle

Castello di Miramare

Unità d'Italia Square

Piazza Unità all'ora blu

Trieste and the sea

In this first article about Trieste we’re going to talk of the strong relationship between the city and the sea. It has all the features that every sea-town needs to have: it has a big harbour, piers, bathing facilities, a big canal, and, of course, a magnificent lighthouse ( “Faro della Vittoria”).We will also talk to you about one of the most important attractions: the Miramare Castle.

The first thing you will see coming to Trieste is the sea. In fact, to reach the town you have to drive along a long and winding coastal road from where you can enjoy the impressive view of the city.

When you will reach the end of this long road, you will finally be in Trieste: when you will see all the boats moored to the docks, you’ll know that you just arrived in the center of the city.

There you could see the most impressive and bright place in Trieste: Unità d’Italia Square, with its Austro-Hungarian buildings which have nothing in common with the rest of Italian art cities.

Click and broswe all photos | Unità d’Italia Square, Trieste | ©Paola Kervin
Now you are right in the heart of the city; from here you can easily explore the center by walk. Our first advice is to stop for some minutes in this incredible square to admire the great lighting. On the left-side of Unità d’Italia Square, at the foot of Palazzo Stratti, you will notice a big beautiful cafe, with dozens of outdoor tables; this piece of history, since 1839, is the “Caffè degli Specchi” (Café of Mirrors), a historic place. You can choose to take the tea sitting outside, thinking about the history of that iconic square; or you can enter inside and enjoy the pianist’s music while tasting one of the best typical desserts, as intellectuals like Svevo, Joyce, Saba, used to do a century ago. About these three writers, don’t miss the chance to meet them: you could find their statue while taking a walk through the alleys of the town.
Click and browse all photos | Lights at Unità d’Italia Square, Trieste | ©Paola Kervin
At this point, you should take a relaxing walk on the “Audace” Pier, just in front of Unità d’Italia square. Obviously, the best time is at sunset, when the sky turns pink and the city lights turn on. At the end of the pier, you’ll find a bronze wind rose, made in 1925.
Click and browse all photos | Waterfront in Trieste | ©Paola Kervin
Now it’s the moment to join the full-of-life alleys of Borgo Teresiano.

You can reach this neighborhood, built on old salt flats, walking along the Canal Grande. This is another spot you can’t miss in Trieste: the canal is full of little sailboats and it ends at the foot of the beautiful Sant’Antonio Church; you can also search James Joice, walking on one of the bridge.

Click and browse all photos | Canal Grande, Trieste | ©Paola Kervin
If you decide to visit this area in the morning, you should try the breakfast made by the Caffè Stella Polare. There we probably tasted the best croissant in our life.

Then, you could continue your exploration into the alleys next to the canal; if you walk in direction of Unità d’Italia square, you could enjoy the afternoon life in Trieste taking a drink in a bar on this little pedestrian streets or doing shopping.

Click and browse all photos People on the streets, Trieste | ©Paola Kervin
Finally, we can talk about the very best that this city can offer: the Miramare Castle. This was the old residence of Maximilian of Hapsburg-Lorena, Archduke of Austria and his wife, Charlotte, who, began to show signs of mental breakdown from which she never recovered, after Maximilian’s death. The Castle was built in 1856 at the top of the promontory of Grignano. You really must visit Miramare: you can make a tour inside (It’s still fully furnished, as if time has stopped) or explore one of the most beautiful park in Italy. Now take a look at the photos and judge by yourself.
Click and browse all photos Miramare Castle and Park, Trieste | ©Paola Kervin<

Trieste and the fish-based cuisine

Finally we can talk about one of the best thing in the world: Food! Think about the cultural mix in Trieste: can you imagine how much this affect the local cuisine?

There is so much to say, that we have to write more than one article about typical food in Trieste.

Today, we talked about the city and the sea, for this reason we’re going to tell you about fish-based cooking that you can taste in many restaurants through the entire city.

If you like light and quality food probably fish-food is the right choice. In fact, this cuisine is strictly related to the traditional Venetian cuisine, with strong taste and sometimes elaborate recipes. We suggest you to try it: the local fish is of the best quality and you can choose between a wide range of different dishes.

Here are our favorites: Pasta with scampi and squid ink; the “Brodeto”, which is a fish soup; the “Baccalà mantecato”, a mousse of salt cod; “Scampi alla busara”; and if you love onions you should try the “Sardoni in savòr”, sardines marinated with fried onions.

We’d like to suggest you two restaurants, where we really enjoy the fish. The first one, if you like traditional “trattorie”, is the “Trattoria al Pescatore”. It is a really simple restaurant, but really cozy and intimate. The staff is kind and the food is excellent. Moreover after lunch you can cross the street and relax in front of the sea or visit the castle.

The second one, instead, is for who want to try something more modern. “SaluMare” is a little restaurant, furnished as an apartment, to feel at home. It is perfect for a fast meal or an “Aperitivo” (our 6 p.m. meal, just before dinner). First you choose your food from a short menu with no more than 10 dishes (we really like the tartine with the “baccalà mantecato”), then you go directly to the counter to order. After that you can enjoy you meal at one of the high table inside, or outside.

One last thing: To match all these fish dishes, we suggest you a good local white wine like “Malvasia d’Istria”, with a low alcohol content and slightly aromatic. A very light and refreshing wine.

Trieste | ©Paola Kervin

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