While in between one of our small group tours to Croatia, The Traveling Professor took the opportunity for a short break in Trieste, Italy. It lies just on the Croatian/Slovenia border. Although originally settled by the Romans, it was ruled primarily by Austria until the end of World War I. It is definitely Italian, but most of the architecture is Hapsburg style, except those buildings replaced by the Fascist era of Mussolini.
Trieste has the largest sea side piazza directly exposed to the sea in Europe, giving it striking views. It has a large canal, Roman ruins, Although the architecture is definitely Austrian/Hapsburg style, it is Italy all the way. The food is much better (and cheaper) than what can be found in touristy Rome, Florence or Venice. The crowds are more than comfortable. It was always easy to get a seat at any restaurant, cafe or bar with any view that we wanted. Our favorite activity during the day was to sit on the grand piazza, have a cocktail like an Aperol Spritz or a Hugo cocktail (at 4 euros each), be treated to snacks like olives, chips, bruschetta and sun dried tomatoes served gratis. We watched the world go by as people strolled up and down the streets and along the piazza.
When in Rome, Florence and Venice, there is always the crush of tourists. Not in Trieste. We enjoyed the families promenading down the street with their babies in strollers. It is very much a family-oriented city, a REAL Italian city.
Trieste has much history including it being the home of James Joyce. He lived there for 15 years. It was always Italian but under Hapsburg rule until after World War I. The Ellis Island scene from "The Godfather" was filmed in the Old Fish Market. Trieste Cathedral has stunning examples of mosaics rivaling those of St. Mark's in Venice, without the crowds.
The food and drink was a delight at a fraction of the cost of Rome, Florence, and Venice. Plenty of seafood, pasta, pizza and all your Italian favorites.
What a treat it was to experience the real Italy in Trieste. See my photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DvayLWDB5LFzMFUG7
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