In downtown Trieste we visited Michele at the International Talent Support (“ITS”) offices. ITS is a fashion talent search, focused on new and cutting edge clothing designers, accessories designers, and photographers. The ITS team works year round to seek out, assist and promote their young designers and artists, a demanding task that culminates in an annual fashion show at the former fishmongers building on the sea of Trieste. ITS alumni include Aitor Thorp, Kathryn Renee Beker, Johann Kappel Andersen, Tomoko Tokuda and others!
There are many wonderful fashion icons on their judging panels, including Marie Claire editors, designers for Christian Dior and Diesel, and Maria Luisa! Michele showed us the one-of-a-kind fashion pieces. It was like visting a private museum!
Afterwards we had lunch at a restaurant by Michele’s office called Casablanca which was a perfect Italian lunch: light with all the right flavor proportions. Afterwards, we had wine and cappuccino. The bill was about $10 each. So different from New York!!
Of course we enjoyed shopping in Trieste, which has many antique shops specializing in silver and watches. The antique shops line every street, especially the alleys behind Piazza Unita. The proprietors of all the shops are usually older Triestinos who are knowledgeable about their products and quite friendly. One reason Trieste has so many antiques is that a lot of people get the stuff from other people’s attics. Apartments have been forgotten and abondoned for years and sometimes generations, hiding treasures until some resourceful family member or renovators climbs to the attic. My husband bought an antique IWC watch.
I discovered a store called Carpe Diem where I bought two vintage designer handbags and vintage sunglasses. Triestinos are very into fashion and don’t like wearing last year’s trends, so you can find amazing barely-used designer items at bargain prices. Carpe Diem had Chanel bags, Chloe, Prada, Pucci … you name it! On our next visit we want to buy the handmade leather luggage that we saw at a shop near Carpe Diem, and I want to buy handmade leather boots!
While in Trieste, you can also visit the biggest tourist cave in the world! A very close friend of mine was a guide there. The Grotta Gigante (Giant Cave) about 9 miles (15 kilometers) north of Trieste is the world’s largest tourist cave. Its main room is over 160 feet (100 meters) high, almost three times as long, and about 100 feet (65 meters) wide. It’s big enough to contain Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, the largest religious building in the world. The lighting of the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites (remember these words from middle school?) is spectacular. You’ll find a Speleological Museum at the entrance to the cave. There are an estimated 1500 caves in the Trieste area.
Another little adventure to be had is behind the bar Da Marino. There we hiked up past the Roman ampitheater to another castle, San Guisto. It offers beautiful vistas of the city and the sea.
Another night we had dinner at “Chimera di Bacco”! Everything is purple and white and the Italian dishes are delectable!
The bar Da Marino serves our favorite Triestino wine, Fragolino, a type of sweet white wine. Da Marino is a cavernous wine bar which has always been my favorite bar in Trieste. It’s located in the alley behind Piazza Unita. Just ask a local and they’ll direct you there. In addition to regional wines, Da Marino serves wonderful meats, cheeses, and pastas. From Thursdays through the weekends the guests spill onto the adjacent alley where they can enjoy the seemingly endless varities of wines, meat and cheeses.
And of course all over Trieste you can find aperativos – the free snacks at the bar that are gourmet, rich, and could substitute for a full meal if you don’t start to feel embarrassed taking so many servings! We left Trieste for three days to stay in Venice, where we stayed in Dorsoduro and loved it for its local feel and all the universities. We also took side trips to Salzburg for the “Sound of Music” tour and to visit Mozart’s childhood homes. We also took a long sidetrip to Munich. I’ll leave those for another post. 🙂