Talk to me this time last year and I’d never have heard of Trieste, nor have any ambition to go there nor would I have thought I’d enjoy such a good time there, even if it was for the best part of 29 hours. How did I end up in Trieste anyhow? And where the fuck is it? Well as you may have guessed its linked to football and my zany dedication to the Northern Ireland football team. Trieste is a city in north east Italy. It is traditional, it is big, it has a harbour, it is picturesque and it is also almost right on the border with Slovenia. When the dates of Slovenia v. Northern Ireland (World Cup 2010 qualifier) were announced, a few of my mates were looking into flights from England to Slovenia, finding that only really one major flight was in operation, and that was the Gatwick – Ljubljana option. There are probably quite a few more options, but with being a budgeted NI fan, we often look up Ryanair, Wizzair and Easyjet flights and pick the cheapest flights, even if the airport is miles from where the match is to be played. The fixtures were released in January 2008, with the match not taking place until October 2008. But ye have to book early to get it so cheap!
Even when the Slovenia v. Northern Ireland fixture was announced as Saturday 11th October 2008, some of us looked at nearby airports to fly into. No match venue location had been decided at this point and the Slovenian FA have up to 2 months before kick off to decide the location. From past experience we expected the match to be in Ljubljana (the capital city) or in Celje (where a lot of Slovenia’s recent matches had been) and so we looked at airports near to those two, including Maribor and Ljublana airports, plus places across the borders in other countries such as the following, which were posted on the Northern Ireland fans forum “Our Wee Country”:
Croatia – Zagreb 72 miles
Austria – Graz Fri 82 miles
Italy – Venice 114 miles
Austria – Salzburg 145 miles
Austria – Linz 157 miles
Austria – Vienna 173 miles
Italy – Bologna 189 miles
Slovakia – Bratislava 190 miles
Germany – Bavaria – Munich 200 miles
Italy – Florence 225 miles
Hungary – Budapest 244 miles
Liechtenstein – Vaduz 250 miles
Italy – Milan 262 miles
Switzerland – St. Gallen 262 miles
Czech Republic – Prague 279 miles
Germany – Bavaria – Nuremberg 284 miles
Switzerland – Zürich 298 miles
Serbia – Belgrade 301 miles
Italy – Rome 304 miles
However Nolers and John Hart (2 of my Northern Ireland travelling mates from the North of England Northern Ireland Supporters Club) found some flights from Birmingham – Trieste in Italy on Ryanair.com and booked them up within days of the fixture being announced. Owen Millar from our supporters club (SOE NISC) lived in Manchester at the time and was alerted so he booked them up as well, and forwarded an e-mail to me (see how easy the internet makes life these days?). As soon as I saw the price of flights (£44 RETURN, all inclusive) I had to book them, as its just so cheap! Once I got booked, Graham Anderson soon followed and suddenly 9 months early we were all booked to go to Slovenia, via Italy. Two new countries for me in my world conquest of culture, geography, history and society. All on a budget, and all in aid of supporting my country’s football team, in essence that is often the reason for my random travelling traits.
Time passed by for those 9 months, which involved me recovering from three broken foot bones, finishing a degree at the university, having two jobs at the same time for the most part (Wightlink and Pavilion Theatre) and even moving house (Ensbury Park to Southbourne!). Then suddenly the trip to Italy could begin. I had booked us into the Affitta Camere Ghega hostel in Trieste, which was cheap and near the main train station. There were now a total of five of us doing this leg of the trip. Owen Millar had cancelled his flights and his attendance with us, by trekking off around the world and was probably in Asia or Australia by the time the trip came round. In his place was Andrew Milliken, of the Scottish Northern Ireland Supporters Club, known commonly to all as “Moby.” Someday I’ll ask him about that nickname and where the fuck it came from. I really don’t know…
A previous post on here recounts my night out in Birmingham with Graham and Lock In Lee, well that was the night before the trip to Italy and Trieste. We stayed over at Lock In Lee’s that night as he lived close to Birmingham Airport, and I could drive us there for the 6 am flight to Trieste. Check out the details on the previous night out in Birmingham in that other post, if it helps enviasge the entire week and story, which will require about another 3 or 4 blog posts to condense. Anyhow we arrived at Birmingham airport and before we knew it we were on board the Ryanair (all you can sleep) plane to Trieste. A few hours later and I had touched down in Italia for the first time ever, in the beautiful sunshine of Trieste. I had forgotten my wallet with all my cards, driving licence, euro health card and money in it. Luckily I set aside my passport which I remembered and in it I had put 100 Euros, thankd God! Here I was wearing a green SOE NISC tap and a school tie with a blue baseball cap without a tap in the land of great wine, pizza, pasta and a history of Roman Empires and Catholicism. Ciao!
From Trieste airport we got the bus into the centre of Trieste, past the stops of Ronchi, S. Polo, Monfalcone, S.Givanni al Timovo, Duino, Sistiana and Grignano Miramare (not all of which we stopped at). This took about an hour and was relatively cheap. The bus was quite empty, the time still not quite 10 am, and the rasping sun shone its rays over steep roads where nice views veered through the tree line now and then. On board the bus I met the beautiful Mariella, an Italian lady who worked as a security inspector at Trieste airport. I flirted my idiocy at her amidst jeers from Moby, Graham, John and Nolers. I think I was still drunk from the night before. I’d only just arrived in Italy and was already finding beauty in it. The bus journey relaxed me following a night on the tiles, and I picked up a map and checked the hostel address. When we exited the bus, I led the lads to the hostel I’d booked. We actually walked past it the first time, as its not advertised or obvious on the street, and you need to ring the bell before getting a vintage elevator to the third floor. The hostel was situated at number 3 Via Ghega Street (Quare Gaeg??) and was called Affita Camere Ghega, it cost about 20 Euros each a night. Once there I got showered and went straight to bed, well I was knackered hungover and I was happy to let the other guys head on into town. However all of us were a wee bit tired (Moby for instance had travelled to Birmingham from Scotland) and we all had some sleep. I took a few hours extra kip, before meeting the lads in a Pizza joint round the corner. The Pizza place was very small, cosy, unbusy (as did seem Trieste in general) and was called Bar Udine. I sat myself down, had clearly missed some banter from the lads and I even mustered a sip of John and Moby’s white wine. They had all eaten, and being in Italy it has to be Pizza. They really do the best in the world. No shit! They invented the fucking thing!
Moby advised me to get “The Chef’s Special” which I ordered without hesitation, even though I had no idea what was in it or what flavour it would be. I did say I hated mushrooms, but luckily there wasn’t any in it. I also ordered a Coca Cola in there as I was taking it easy from the alcohol for now. I also headed out for some fresh air at one point, as my head still hadn’t sorted itself out from the previous night in Birmingham (which was done via Bristol and Bournemouth). The pizza arrived and it WAS a Chef’s special. The photo on this post will do it justice. A gorgeous pizza base, Italian tomato puree, Mozarella cheese (with probably two other types of cheese), some pepperami and sausage, olives, peppers, topped up with a massive egg and some chips. Then I had herbs, salt and pepper on top, with a wee bit of parmesan. It was gorgeous! I ate it instantly and it was now late after noon, a darkness was befalling Trieste and we headed through the main city centre together as five, looking for a cheap night and ideas before it got really dark.
The city itself felt peaceful, it didn’t appear to be crime ridden, given I felt very safe there, even dandering round on my own, and I kind of hadn’t expected that in Italy. I was wearing a 2005 Northern Ireland 125th year anniversary tap. We came to a sort of square at the crossroads which led its way up some steps to Trieste Castle. We decided to climb to the top of the steps, where a fountain and a stoned balcony seemed to overlook the city of Trieste. On the climb up, we each got our football supporters clubs flegs out for essential photos in picturesque scenery and fading daylight. The flegs of SOE NISC and NOE NISC were both on display overlooking Trieste that night. The steps to the top were steep, but it offered a great view of the city, the distant hills (where our bus had veered down to the city from the airport) and also the harbour to the side. On approaching the top a very colourful fountain shot out at us and so we decided the view was immense, the night was warm and we plumped ourselves down for a wee chat and a chill out. John Hart and I then decided it was time to get a carryout, everyone else was up for one, nobody else wanted to walk all the way back down the steps and up again with a carryout. I didn’t care about the walk, I was happy just being there. It was good exercise if anything. So off we went. The beer and wine was easy to find in a wee local shop. We realised though that we didn’t have a bottle opener or a corkscrew, or glasses so in true carryout credit crunch style, we had a wee nosey round the other shops in town. All the locals were friendly and informative.
John and I must have dashed from shop to shop that night. I even took a visit into a bar just to do a shit (and rid my body of the previous nights food and alcohol to start afresh). We contemplated buying flower pots at one point, just to drink the wine out of, as wine glasses would be too dear. Instead we opted for plastic disposable glasses which we found in the Trieste equivalent of “Boots.” In another shop we bought a bottle opener to save our teeth, and wasting beer. A corkscrew didnt matter if I recall, as we bought cartons of red wine and a screw top bottle of white wine. ON returning to the off licence after a pleasant jaunt round the city’s shops, John and I settled on bottles of large Heineken (1 Litre bottles), 2 cartons of red wine (both different) and a bottle of white wine. We also bought crisps and Coke. Including the wine glasses and bottle opener, the entire night’s carryout cost less than 25 Euros! That was between 5 of us, even ONE ROUND in a local pub would have cost the same and we had enough for a few hours drinking in there. The walk back up the steps was a wee bit tiring, but the view, the carryout and the peaceful fountain made everything OK.
I even put the carryout into the fountain to keep the beer chilled. Most of us were in t-shirts as the Italian heat hadn’t yet fell victim to night time breeze. The fountain occassionally turned green, requiring the chant “green and white fountain” from us. The red wine was going down well, even if it was cheap shit, it got me back in the mood for the alcohol. We mingled there by the fountain for a good few hours, deep in conversation about all sorts of things. There was a Scooter parked there for photo opportunities, the odd Italian dog walker or tramp, trees, a sleeping city below and a fountain which tried its best to annoy us by displaying an Irish Tricolour fleg. For the record, it was the green, white and red of the Italian fleg which was lighting up the fountain’s water, but in some photos it appeared to be green, white and orange. This all added to the humour of the situation. After a few hours, some of the carryout was still left but we decided to drink it on the way back down towards the harbour, via the Castle Walls (which were just above the fountain up the hill a wee bit) and head to a wee bar for a late night tipple. However on route, we came across the main Castle gates, a War Memorial and also many people having a party. We headed to the party at the top, at a balcony in the castle. This party was in the form of a barbecue and drinking session with Chinese people. You can’t make this sort of shit up in life…
So there we were, five Ulstermen, die hard Northern Ireland fans from three different supporters clubs, approaching Chinese people standing by a wall (which wasn’t great; or in China) asking to join them for a wee bit of craic. I can’t remember how many Chinese people were there, but I think it was 3 guys and 3 girls, led by “Luigi” (yeah right) who was doing the cooking of food while the girls seemed enthused by our appearance. We cranked open more wine and beer and they kindly gave us some food to enjoy. The city gaped up at us, as I looked down on the lit sky, lamposts and grey Italian ghosts filled the evening air. Northern Ireland fans from England and Scotland had now gatecrashed a free Chinese barbecue in Italy on route to a match in Slovenia. That’s 6 different countries in one story. The food was great – kebab sticks with pork and vegetables! Of course the Chinese were always good at cooking! We posed for some nice photos with them and even sang them a few Northern Ireland football songs. I didn’t think we were actually that loud at the time, but the local peelers (or Castle security guards) had heard us and as we chatted away to the Chinese, trying to speak their language and them ours, the peelers arrived. Two Italian Gestapo style peelers asked us for ID. As I often do in foreign countries, I declared that my passport was “back in the hostel mate.” I normally do this so as not to lose my passport or risk getting it stolen, mugged or having to pay to get it back from corrupt police in foreign countries. All the others showed their passports however and I assumed everything would be OK…
All we were doing was enjoying some alcohol and food in the grounds of Trieste Castle on an evening…oh yeah a Wednesday evening and we were also singing…Anyhow the peelers made us stand and wait for a few minutes, before they told the Chinese to put the barbecue out, which “Luigi” did. The party was over. It was short, sweet and surreal but I enjoyed it! They never even asked me further for my passport and headed off into the night, leaving us all free to head back to a normal night in Trieste. Or as normal as wandering Northern Ireland football fans (GAWA – Green and white army) can get. On the steep hils down to the city a few things happened. John Hart took a piss, Moby opened the boot of a car (it was a mini – images of “The Italian Job” shot into my brain for a brief second). Everything was so random, as we found further steps leading past two bars which Nolers and Graham decided looked “shite” so we didn’t go in. We had easily finished our carryout by now, even the crisps and Coke, so it was time to wander by the square, harbour and find a wee bar. Trieste at this point looked gorgeous. You wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else, with anybody else. These are fun times. We took some night time picturesque photos of the square all lit up, probably their “City Hall” equivalent, we also found St. Anthony’s Canal. This canal was Trieste’s only one, and was an attempt to look like Venice. It worked for a brief second. Many of the beer tents had shut for the night, but we enjoyed walking past the harbour and boat parties which we didn’t invite ourselves into, before I saw the word “BIERERIE” on the other side of the street. “Guys lets go till the bar!” I was now the lively one, having been written off and needing Coca Cola in the mid afternoon!
On the way there I passed a theatre. I got my photo took by the theatre (I work in a theatre in England, and have done since October 2007 – the prestigious Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre) as I love stuff like that. Then on entering the bar, it was an incredible friendly little almost American style bar. It reminded me part time of a bar called Mick E. Finns in downtown Toronto. The barmaids were all attractive, and we got our orders in quickly, knowing it would be dear but that one quick beer would be the plan. I opted for “La Nero” which was a local dark beer like Guinness, while the guys all bought the local lager. Their choice was better given that they came with large tankards, which could easily be removed from the bar in begs. My beer was nice though as were the pretty barmaids, one of whom took a photo of us all in there. Moby also got his mobile phone out at this point and we had a good sing song of the traditional “Killaloe” in there (Google the song if ye don’t know it – I used to hear it loads while in the BB in Northern Ireland). Soon though we had left there, complete with 4 stolen tankards (for the price of beer, ye need te get something back from your money!!). We headed along the main harbour promenade and back to the hostel to leave bags off. It was gone midnight by now, and there weren’t many people about. I wanted to stay up longer and party all night, we just needed to find a better bar, a wee bit cheaper and livelier.
We got back to the hostel and Graham decide to call it a night while the rest of us wanted to stay out. We had trouble with the keys getting in to the hostel, but while this commotion happenned I had already sussed out the “open” Bar Inpunto on the opposite side of the street. I thought we’d need to be quick though, as they may be shutting soon. Left the bags off and headed into Bar Inpunto where lovely lively barmaids Gabriella (from Romania) and her ma provided us with 4 Euro pints of Lager. We sat by the window in there in a tidy wee bar with doors open and classic 90s music tunes pumping from the music video channel. Nolers and I danced up to “All that she wants is another baby” by Ace of Base changing the words to “All that we want is a David Healy” The banter was crackin in there, John Hart was pished and dancin by the window, Moby was over the edge and me and Nolers were enjoying the mix of music alcohol and randomness. At this point I called Gabriella and her ma over for a photo, where they jumped on top of me and Moby (photo up there somewhere) and indeed young Gabriella gave me a quick squeeze in the balls, probably because I was cheeky and stroked her bum “by accident” as she sat down. I’d probably have married her right there right then to be honest. She was a pretty friendly young thing. We moved onto Mojito cocktails at this stage, and Gabriella even gave me a FREE Sambuca shot. The Mojitos went down a treat – just what we needed! We sat sipping cocktails in a dead dead Trieste as Thursday sunrise neared and last orders was called, our madness was over for now and we returned home, around 4 am, as Graham recalled the next morning.
Graham and I were up early the next morning and checked out of the hostel much before the others. The sun was gaping down wonderfully and we headed at first to the train station to book our trains to Bled. The train station was just across from the hostel really, and it was where we had arrived the previous day so it should have been easy to find and book. We got into the train station and they spoke good English. We asked if they did trains to Bled, in Slovenia. The answer was “NO” and that is where we had booked to stay that night (just Graham and I mind you, the other 3 were off to Ljubljana). When we realised we couldn’t get to Bled direct or even with a train/bus change we then just decided to book the next train to Ljubljana and text the other 3 to get on the same one. We would then work out the Ljubljana – Bled route later on that day, hoping there were still trains! We both bought our tickets for the next “train” to Ljubljana, which wasn’t due to leave until 2 pm. At this stage it was still 10 am and we wanted a breakfast/lunch. Graham had a large bag and he left this at the station luggage compartment while we went walking round town. I always just carry hand luggage on trips like this, something I’ve learned from travelling and the many trips I’ve been on – it saves time, money and hassle. All you need is your essentials! We now had our tickets (I think they were about 11 Euros each – a bargain when you consider it takes a few hours and crosses the border into Slovenia) but had about 3 hours to kill. We walked by the harbour and St. Anthony’s Canal again, which leads out to the main harbour under the road. We walked back up to the Castle via a Catholic Church, which I visited, photographed and admired despite my Protestant heritage. I pick up souvenirs everywhere I go and the Church was “Parrochia s. Maria Maggiore” at number 6 Via Del College, Trieste as the newsletter said. Once at the Castle we relived the night before – the barbecue, the Chinese people, the peelers, the view. The view was amazing by day and we looked down on a now busy working city. A great city!
Our walk also took us to the top of the fountain where we again enjoyed the views and found ourselves almost knowing our way round the city. We had only been there one day! We walked back down the steps past the fountain and to the main square where we wanted some coffee, food and to find postcards and stamps. In the little newsagent we found our postcards and stamps, and headed to the corner cafe to eat and drink. I opted again for a mini pizza, and Graham had a similar sort of thing, an Italian bread roll I think. We each had a cup of strong Italian coffee as well and wrote our postcards. We chilled the fuck out from the world there, informing the others to get the same “train” ticket as us and meet us at the station at 2 pm. Graham and I talked about life, jobs, family and everything not even related to football for once, as we enjoyed the peaceful Italian sunshine. Great moment. The busy square also featured traffic police, who were dictating the roads like human traffic lights. It was some experience. We both knew time in Trieste was running out though, and headed on down the main streets on route to the “train” station. We had found a post box for our postcards and some water.
Before leaving Trieste though I thought it would be nice to do it a farewell with a beer, so me and Graham popped into Bar Inpunto again (Graham had missed this the night before as he went to bed early) for a quick farewell beer to Trieste. In there I had another dark local beer and we sat on the lazy lounge seats which were like a “mezzanine deck” in the bar, they looked down on the bar. At this point we realised we had better get to the “train” station find the others and head on our way to Slovenia…When we got to the “train” station Graham collected his bag, and I had happened to notice that what I thought was a “train” station was actually a bus station! No shit, we hadn’t seen any trains that morning, and had assumed they were through the doors and barriers and therefore on the other side. Then when I saw a queue of passengers going through the doors, I noticed a bus centre in behind, and this was actually a bus station adjacent to the train station! So our tickets were actually for a bus to Ljubljana, even though we had asked for a train and even though the guy didn’t tell us it was actually a bus. I’m assuming that there weren’t actually any direct trains to Ljubljana so therefore he put us on a bus! At least Graham and I had a ticket for a 2 pm transfer from Trieste to Ljubljana, whether it was by train or bus, we were booked on it. The others seemed to not be around, which I found odd, why would they get a different train/bus to us? Low and behold I had a load of text messages and missed calls from Nolers and Moby, who were at the TRAIN station looking for a non-existent train to Ljubljana! What a mess, but alls well that ends well, I explained that we were bow booked on a bus and that it would leave in 10 minutes,.
John, Nolers and Moby burst through the doors of the bus station, bought their tickets and even had time to buy some food and a carryout before boarding the excellent wee bus. Once on the bus, Moby had his trademark exaggerated sized green shades on, I put my tinsel green wig on and cranked up the old iPod as we said our farewells to the untouristy but beautfiul city of Trieste (for now, I’d be back in a few days to leave it again, via the airport). We had a carryout of Italian beer on board the “party bus” and I enjoyed the scenery and the long climb up the ancient hills of Italy overlooking Trieste, the mediterranean and possibly Croatia as we prepared ourselves for the next leg of the trip. The party bus stopped a few times, and I had to endure jokes from the others about how we were onboard a bus when I told them all it was a train! In fact I enjoyed the mistake and the way that in foreign countries (where you cant speak their language) mistakes and events like this make the journey unique, the comedy greater and the overall enjoyment of a day on planet earth all the greater. The bus station at Trieste reminded me of the train station at Minsk in Belarus, where I waited for 3 hours on my own for a train to Bobruisk in 2007. Being a foreigner in a city like Trieste is nice.
So within an hour we had crossed the border into Slovenia, a product of the former Yugoslavia. The bus took us via a few stops to Ljubljana in just a few hours. From Ljubljana, Graham and I would then chase around for the nearest bus/train to Bled, while the others would hang around in Ljubljana and we’d see them the next day. I’ll continue the blog at some stage in future posts with my trip to Bled, Ljubljana and Maribor, but for now I’ll conclude the Trieste piece thus (imagine it a few days later):
From Ljubljana we got a bus back to Trieste airport direct. The bus was subdued, the atmosphere relaxed. Having watched Northern Ireland lose yet another away match, it wss time to go home. On arrival at Trieste Airport I enjoyed my last glimpses of a quality city (if a bit boring to the partying adventurous traveller) and enjoyed chatting to fellow Norn Iron fans at the airport including Ulster Jim, Gordy and Ally from Portadown. On going through the security on the way to the flight, I noticed the simply beautiful Mariella all dressed up in her uniform as a security “chick” and checking passports and bags. As I approached she said “Jonny Scott Blair – returning to Birmingham” I was astounded, but then realised she had a database and was probably ready for me. She’s probably not used to random travellers chatting to her on an early morning bus, and those that do get remembered. It was nice to be remembered. She didn’t frisk me (gutted) and had the best smile to lead me out of Italy. Later on before boarding the plane I managed to take a cheeky distant photo of Mariella for my memory. She also stopped me in the departure lounge where I gladly volunteered to have my bag searched. She didn’t really search it, she just asked me if I enjoyed Italy, if I remembered the Italian phrases she had told me on the bus and then checked my passport again. I had enjoyed Italy, I hadn’t remembered the phrases, but I was very happy to be staring into Mariella’s eyes for the last time before saying Ciao! to Italy. We’ll never meet again and it will be onto the new adventure with another Northern Irish smile. You cannot dream these trips up. They really happenned and I was there. 29 hours in Trieste were over.
What was it? – 5 Northern Ireland fans staying in Trieste for 29 hours on route to an away match in Slovenia
When was it? – 8th – 9th October 2008
Who was there? – Jonny Blair and Graham Anderson (SOE NISC), Nial Coulter and John Hart (NOE NISC), Andrew Milliken (Scottish NISC)
Where to stay? – Affitta Camere Ghega Hostel, Trieste:
(Hostel: Affitta Camere Ghega
Address: Via Ghega 3 ,Trieste 34132, Italy
Telephone: (+39) 3407042896
100 meters far from Central Railway Station, Airport Bus Terminal and Bus Station)
Where to Eat – Bar Udine, Via Ghega (and once in there order a “Chef’s Special”
Where we drank – Carryout by fountain, Bar Udine, Biererie by harbour, Bar Inpunto, Serenimissima Bar (Trieste Airport)
What we drank – Red wine, Heineken, White Wine, Amstel, La Nero, Coca Cola, Coffee.
What to see and do – Nice pink theatre (Salatripcovich), St. Anthony’s Canal (a little touch of Venice), Trieste Harbour (gorgeous Mediterranean), a bus journey overlooking the town – great views, trip to the Castle – great views, carryout by the fountain – great place to mingle and enjoy the views and fading night lights of Trieste, nice restaurants by the main square for those on bigger budgets.
How to get there – Fly Ryanair to Trieste then get the Aeroporto FVG to Trieste Central
Other Websites –
Church – http://www.santamariamaggiore.191.it
SOENISC info – http://www.soenisc.com/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl?b-2344/m-1221573795/
Key Song – All that she wants is another baby – Ace of Base
Strange Currencies – Euros (gone are them there Liras…)
Nationalities met – Italian, Slovenian, Chinese, Northern Irish, Romania.
Trieste (Italian: Trieste; Slovene and Croatian: Trst; German: Triest) is a city and port in northeastern Italy very near to the Slovenian border, to the North, East and South. Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. With a population of 208,614 (2007) it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trieste province.
Triest flourished as part of Austria, from 1382 (the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867) until 1918 when it was one of the few seaports in what was one of the Great Powers of Europe. It was among the most prosperous Mediterranean seaports as well as a capital of literature and music. However, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Trieste’s annexation to Italy after World War I led to a decline of its economic and cultural importance.
Trieste is famous for having two clubs participating in the championships of two different nations at the same time, during the time of the Free Territory of Trieste. Triestina played in the Serie A. Although it faced retrocession after the first season after the second world war, the FIGC changed the rules to keep it in, as it was seen as important to keep a club of the city in the Italian league, while Yugoslavia had its eye on the city. The next season the club played its best seaon with a 3rd place finish, Meanwhile, Yugoslavia put money in Ponziana, a small team in Trieste, which under a new name, Amatori, played in the Yugoslavian league for a number of years.
Triestina went broke in the nineties, but now plays in the Serie B.
Castle of Miramare
The Castle was built between 1856 and 1860 from a project by Carl Junker working under Archduke Maximilian.
The Castle gardens provide a setting of outstanding beauty with a variety of trees, chosen by and planted on the orders of Maximilian, that today make a remarkable collection.
Features of particular attraction in the gardens include two ponds, one noted for its swans and the other for lotus flowers, the Castle annexe (“Castelletto”), a nearby a bronze statue of Maximilian, and a small chapel where is kept a cross made from the remains of the “Novara”, the flagship on which Maximilian, brother of Emperor Franz Josef, set sail to become Emperor of Mexico. During the existence of the Free Territory of Trieste, the castle served as headquarters for the United States Army’s TRUST force.
Castle of San Giusto
Designed on the remains of previous castles on the site, it took almost two centuries to build. The stages of the development of the Castle’s defensive structures are marked by the central part built under Frederick III (1470-1), the round Venetian bastion (1508-9), the Hoyos-Lalio bastion and the Pomis, or “Bastione fiorito” dated 1630.
The Castle – in which several rooms, including the Sala Caprin, are open to the public – houses a Museum displaying historical weapons and is regularly used for the staging of exhibitions, events and, in the summer, open-air shows. A walk on the Castle ramparts and bastions gives a complete panorama of the city of Trieste, its hills and the sea.
The Cathedral of San Giusto.
The Serb-Orthodox Temple of Holy Trinity and St. Spiridio (1869). The building adopts the Greek-Cross plan with five cupolas in the Byzantine tradition.
Basilica of San Silvestro (11th century)
Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (1682)
Church of San Nicolò dei Greci (1787). This church by the architect Matteo Pertsch (181, with bell-towers on both sides of the facade, follows the Austrian late baroque style.
Israelite Temple of Trieste (1912)