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Trieste – Part II

December 23, 2010

My fiance (now husband) and I were fortunate enough to have a friend who lives in Trieste and who was available to do a two-week apartment swap.  Our friend Federico took over our apartment in New York and we took his beautiful attic apartment in Piazza Cavana in Trieste’s old city.  This area houses beautiful old buildings, criss-crossed by cobble-stone streets.  In the old days, the sea used to come all the way up to the east end of the piazza, touching the building’s seaward walls.  Today that building houses an adorable blue music school with a little cafe.  (FYI, the first part of the Trieste post, including hotel info, is here).

Piazza di Cavana is an idyllic square with cobblestone streets. The surrounding streets are filled with locals walking through the square and going
about their business.  There are very few tourists in Trieste except
during Barcolana, an international sailing competition.  In fact Barcolana is the largest gathering of sailboats of any sailing event in the world.  It’s a must see at some point!  It occurs every fall during the second weekend of October. 
We didn’t hear a word of English the entire length of our stay! The streets of downtown Trieste are brimming over with cute little shops, coffee shops and bars.  Each morning we would have freshly-baked breakfast pastries and
cappuccinos, as well as freshly-squeezed orange juice, at the little
coffee shop downstairs.
We loved the fish and wines at Salumare, and the hot chocolate at Chocolat for a little ginger and chocolate afternoon boost. You can choose whichever flavor you want in your hot chocolate, or enjoy traditional plain.  Italian hot chocolate is much thicker and richer than in the U.S.

One day my husband and I visited Castello di Miramare.  Prince Maximillian of the Hapsburg dynasty was a navy captain who built the castle for his wife, and designed it to feel like a ship, with nave-like windows, curved wooden ceilings, and windows hovering above the sea, with only the moving sea and a bit of the coast in view.  Even from the balconies it’s as if you’re on a ship.

Tragically Maximilian never got to live in this castle with his beloved Carlotta. Maximilian was named Emperor of Mexico and sent to Mexico City, where he was killed.

Another day we hiked along Rilke’s Trail above the Adriatic to Castello de Duino.  Rilke was once an artist in residence at the castle and was inspired to pen the Duino Elegies.  To get to Rilke’s trail, take the bus towards Monfalcone from the bus stop across from the Trieste train station. 

We walked along this trail, along the sea, to the castle .  Already the walk was gorgeous and breathtaking.  It was a treat that at the end was a castle!

Castello di Duino currently houses Europe’s largest collection of ancient violins and violas.  We loved seeing these beautiful instruments, each one a piece of art.  Some of them had renaissance paintings hanging beside them, and in the painting was the same antique instrument that we were viewing!

We also drove up the hill one night to a family’s house and had wine and a delicious pasta and meat meal with friends.  A real Triestino treat.
If you don’t have friends in Trieste you can still eat at a family’s home by visiting an OSMIZA! The name osmiza comes from “osem” which means 8, since during Austrian empire they were regulated by law that way: they could open only eight days a year. 

In August there is also a festival called “nozze carsiche” (carsic weddings) when in the countryside every celebrates and all osmize are open!

For more of Trieste, click here and here.

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