Trieste, Italy | A City by the Sea

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We are enjoying our slow travel through Central Europe, where we are weaving back-and-forth, crisscrossing the final borders in Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy; and we hope you are too.  On this trek, we have discovered a melting pot of cultures, dialects, and Art Nouveau elegance, and all in one stop, as we arrive at the heart-shaped Istria peninsula at the Gulf of Trieste, Italy. (tree-estItalian tree-es-te)

Today the largest part of the Istrian territory belongs to Croatia, small slivers belong to Slovenia, and minuscule parts to Italy. It blends the cultures of Austria and Italy with the culture and heritage of Croatia seamlessly. Most people are bilingual, so road signs and places are shown in Italian and Croatian. Istria is a premier holiday destination in Croatia.

Istria is Croatia’s largest peninsula and has hundreds of kilometers of stunning coastline, allowing us to cross into the Gulf of Trieste, Italy easily.  Some say Trieste is Italy’s most cosmopolitan city where it reminisces of the glory days of the Habsburg influence dubbing it “the little Vienna on the Sea”.  That’s the perfect portrayal, since Trieste belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy for 400 years, and became one of the greatest powers of Europe with its international seaport in the Mediterranean. 

Trieste, Italy  @google image
Trieste is often overlooked by tourists who are making their way to more well-known Italian cities like Venice, sitting a meager 100 miles to the west.  But Trieste is a bustling city with cultural attractions, museums, and refined Viennese-style coffee houses. Most famously, Trieste is headquarters to the Italian coffee brand illy, created by Francisco Illy in 1933. The city is intimately aligned as the world center of coffee, and nowadays with the Università del Caffè, offering an International Master’s degree in Coffee Science and Economics. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world.

Trieste is the perfect home base for us to get our first glimpse of the white-washed Castello di Miramare Castle and the endless blue skies.  It dangles on a shard of rocky outcrop teetering over the Adriatic Sea. It’s anything but a typical Italian museum; it’s an eclectic mix of Victorian, Gothic, and German architecture placed in northern Italy.   

Castello di Miramare Castle @google image

Here we discover yet another sad historic legend, one that reveals the story of the castle owners, Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, the Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian Imperial Navy based in Trieste, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Charlotte of Belgium. They built Miramare Castle as a family sanctuary, all decorated with treasures from his seafaring life to the exotic Far East, and the Mexican Empire, where he was Emperor.  But their love story ends tragically with Maximilian’s execution in 1864, driving Charlotte to complete madness.  The ancient fable discloses how Empress Charlotte is said to be wandering the property calling for Maximilian to this day. Every country and city we have visited in Central Europe revealed many curious legends, fables, and magical folklore just waiting to be exposed.

Sadly, we didn’t get to spend enough time in Trieste but we could see it’s a fabulous vacation destination. It’s small but not overrun with tourists, mostly European holidaymakers on summer vacation.  It’s a great escape from the crowds of tourists of Venice and easily accessible by rail, road, and summertime ferries. Its offerings are plentiful, beautiful beaches and resorts, fresh seafood, white truffles, wild asparagus, olive oils, and delectable wines all produced by the perfect Mediterranean climate.

Central Europe has been an ideal travel and educational experience filled with beautiful sights, breathtaking moments, and postcard-perfect destinations.  

Continue your armchair travels with us we arrive in Venice, Italy, and laugh at how our luggage went mysteriously missing for five hours.

*2018 travels

Visiting Trieste

Visiting Istria

How to order coffee only In Trieste

Transportation Trieste to Venice

J. Christina is the author and owner of Scribbles and Smiles. Through our blog, we share stories of the wonderful discoveries we have made on our European travels. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Where Mr. Christie is right on board with their travel jaunts around the world sharing in their blogging endeavor - hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina.

After many years of intrepid travel, we thoughtfully opened our treasure-trove of European travelogues, artfully sharing with a worldwide audience. Intentionally sharing the joie de vivre through our words and images, so others can travel vicariously. 

You can sign-up to receive email updates via her blog, and you can also find Scribbles and Smiles on social media. 

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