Home city to international shipping, to elegant coffee shops serving famous fine coffees, and to multilingual and multicultural people, today’s Trieste has much to offer to visitors who travel by car, by cruise ship, or by train to see a region and city with Adriatic Baltic and Mediterranean ties.
Regional capital of the Northern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, todays’ Trieste is the last metropolitan stop before the eastern Slovenian border. It is also the urban multilingual door to former Yugoslavia and to regions which were once part of the ancient eastern Roman Empire, later part of a Holy Roman Empire and finally of the Austrian Hungarian Empire.
Founded by “Istrian Veneti” people, the ancient city of Trieste, also called Tergestra or Tergestron or Triest, was built around 181 B.C. as a convenient sea port site for a people who were skilled navigators, pirates, tradespeople of Venetian, Celtic and Slavic origin skilled Liburnica ship builders.
Roman around 177 B.C and administrated under “Pax Romana” laws, Trieste flourished and thrived especially for its natural access to the Adriatic/Mediterranean Sea and for its vicinity to regions convenient to a Roman eastern expansion. By 476 A.D. the port city, and its surrounding settlements, became incorporated in the region of Friuli controlled by a Bishop of Aquilea. After fighting against the powerful Republic of Venice, signing in 1202 a forced agreement of loyalty to the Venetians, breaking the agreement in 1289, renewing the alliance with the Patriarch of Aquilea and the Count of Gorizia, the city and its surrounding areas were incorporated in 1382 in one unique territory under the Austrian Empire and administrated by the Count of Duino, an allied of Austria. For more than two centuries, the city and its inhabitants lived through many frustrating conflicts between Austria and the Republic of Venice.
In 1719, after Austria’s final and ultimate victory over the Turks (1683) and the defeat of Venice, the city of 4,000 inhabitants became a major Austrian free port under Emperor Charles VI of Hapsburg. With the activation and the expansion of the city’s port in the 18th century and a renewed support of the Austrian Hapsburg government under the Empress Maria Theresa the city was reconfirmed as being a major Austrian port metropolis open to merchants and investors who were attracted by the city’s interesting access to international shipping water ways.
By the end of the 18th century, Trieste’s census registered 200,000 inhabitants including: the Venetian investor Baron Pasquale Revolterra (1796-1869), supporter of the construction of the Suez Canal (Egypt 1869-1871) which became vital link for Trieste and for the Mediterranean ship traffic; the Syrian Christian “kedive” toll master of Egypt Antonio Cassis Faraone (1745-1805) and the famous Venetian libertine Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798).
With Austrian mandates which supported the free port of Trieste and a later Napoleonic take-over of Venice (1797, 1805-1806, 1809-1813) the port city not only become the third most important Northern Italian Austrian Hungarian city, after Vienna and Prague, but also home city to exiled Jewish, Armenian, Swiss, Great Britain, German, Istrian and Dalmatian and Italian merchants, aristocrats and skilled port laborers from Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Albania, and Turkey.
Sad fame came to Trieste in 1914 when the body of assassinated Francis Ferdinand of Hapsburg, heir to the Austrian Hungarian throne, arrived in the port city from Serbia after June 28, 1914, and before World War I exploded in Europe (1914-1918).
Since the 20th century, Trieste has been home city to insurance giants such as Assicurazioni generali (founded by Giuseppe Lazzaro Morpurgo) and Lloys Triestino (Austrian American maritime insurance company) and ship yard to the international Cosulich ship builder. The city has been also cherished travel destination to famous 20th century artists, such as Irish poet and novelist James Joyce (1882-1941), Bohemian composer conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) and Italian poet and futurist playwright Emilio Angelo Carlo Marinetti (1876-1944).
TRIESTE, PORT CITY TO ELEGANT COFFEE SHOPS AND FINE COFFEE
Trieste is not only famous in history for its international shipping and multicultural-multilingual experience but also for its coffee tradition. It is home to elegant coffee shops and a few major coffee importing-roasting and distributing businesses, such as Illy and Torrefazione Excelsior.
Italian “bars” serve every year about 6 billions “espressos” with a national consumption of 47 millions of kilograms (103.400.000 lb) of roasted beans that amount to approximately 6.7 billions of espresso cups served every year (Fipe – Federazione Italiana Pubblici Esercizi; http://www.beverfood.com). Most common espresso coffee’ varieties offered on the Italian market are: the 100% Arabica, the Arabica and Robusta blend and Decaffeinated Coffee made by removing the caffeine from the green beans. Generally Arabica coffees are more expensive than the Arabica Robusta blends. Due to Austrian Hungarian Hapsburgs’ foresight and the port city’s tax free status, more than 30% of the Italian coffee move through Trieste’s Porto Nuovo located behind the old city and the ancient port harbor and the city which embraced an active coffee import and processing industry. According to recent import statistics 1-1.5 million of bags of green coffee enter yearly the Northern Italian port city and more than 2 to 2.5 million bags of roasted and processed coffee are distributed every year throughout Italy and internationally.
Illy’s interest and commercial adventure begun in 1933 when an Austrian Hungarian business man by the name of Ferenc Illy, born in Romania, set up a coffee and cocoa business in Trieste. In 1935, the same Ferenc Illy invented and added an automatic coffee machine to his coffee marketing strategy and decided to focus principally on fine coffees and roasting of beans as well as distribution. After three generations of Illys, Illy coffee, in partnership with giants such Coca Cola, is sold worldwide and especially in 140 countries.
Excelsior’s Caffe’ Torrefazione coffee business opened in Trieste in 1954 when Armando Gianfre’, son of Luigi, coffee merchant in Conegliano, Veneto, moved back to his native home town of Trieste and opened the Torrefazione Excelsior to sell his special coffee brand. When Armando retired in 2006 the Triestine coffee roasting business passed to his son Roberto who with his family still runs the coffee company today.
TRIESTE’S COFFEE GLOSSARY – DONT ORDER AN ESPRESSO…BUT A:
NERO = Trieste’s espresso
DOPPIO = Trieste’s double espresso
NERO in B = Trieste’s espresso in a small glass
AFFOGATO = Trieste’s coffee served with a scoop of ice cream (usually vanilla or hazelnut icecream)
CAPO = Trieste’s cappuccino
CAPO in B = Trieste’s cappuccino in a small glass
CAFFE’ AMERICANO = Trieste’s espresso (also called Nero) served with hot water on the side
MAROCCHINO in B = Trieste’s cappuccino with chocolate served in a small glass
GOCCIATO also called GOCCIA = Trieste’s coffee stained with a little milk
CAFFELATTE CON LA SCHIUMA = Trieste’s cappuccino
MACCHIATO = Espresso served with cold milk on the side
MELANGE, also called CAFFELATTE VIENNESE = Viennese style Cappuccino
WHERE TO ORDER A FINE CUP OF COFFEE IN THE CITY OF TRIESTE
LIBRERIA E ANTICO CAFFE’ SAN MARCO (Caffetteria, Libreria, Ristorante, Pasticceria), Via Cesare Battisti 18, Trieste; Tel + 39 + 040 0641724 or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or http://www.caffesanmarcotrieste.eu
CAFFE’TOMMASEO (active since 1830), Piazza Tommaseo 4 C, Trieste; + 39 + 040 362666 or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.caffetommaseo.it (serves Illy brand coffee)
CAFFE’ GELATERIA PIPOLO, Viale Miramare, 127, (Barcola) Trieste; + 39 + 040 411984 (serves only Excelsior brand coffee)
IN SHORT – COFFEE HISTORY
Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia in the 3rd century A.D. when Kaldi, a young sheep herder noticed that his goats were prancing after feeding on coffee beans. Coffee beans were first used as food and later as a drink. Coffee drinking culture spread fairly quickly throughout the Arabian regions and reached Yemen about 1000 A.D. It moved to Turkey in the 1500s. In the early XVII century, smugglers took “seven seeds” of coffee beans to Java and the coffee drinks were described by the English traveler William Biddulph in 1609. Venetian merchants took coffee to Venice in 1615. By 1637 coffee drinking was fashionable among professors and students at the University of Oxford and after 1645 coffee shops were open for business throughout Italy. In the 1660’s coffee brewing and drinking culture reached France and Holland and in 1679 coffee was served in the German ports of Hamburg and Bremen and in the German city of Hannover. In the Austrian capital of Vienna, the first coffee shop was opened in 1684 after the Turkish defeat. Coffee first reached North America and New York with the Dutch and the English in 1696. Coffee and coffee drinks reached Spanish American New Spain only in the 1800’s when Hispanic American regions begun cultivating the coffee plants (Trager 109, 113, 140; Dunmire 282; Ensminger 210; Maier-Bruck 526).
Today nearly one third of the world coffee production is grown in Brazil; following Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Ethipia, Uganda, Philippines, El Salvator, Guatemala and other Asian and African countries. Major varieties of coffee, besides Arabica and Robusta, are now Arabusta, Liberica, Excelsa, Mauritiania, Racenase, Stenophylla, Congencis, Dewevrei, Neo Arnolkdiana, Abekeutoe, and Dybowski.
THE INTERNATIONAL PORT OF TRIESTE
Located in the heart of Europe at the intersection between Baltic Adriatic and Mediterranean shipping routes, Trieste is an international hub for overland and sea shipping. In the early 18th century with Charles VI of Austria Hapsburg mandates the city’s port became a free port. In 1869, after the opening of the Suez, Trieste became also instrumental for more shipping routes which have expanded its global commercial importance. In 1960 the shipping traffic of the port was also expanded with the opening of the Trans-Alpine Pipeline and a huge container terminal. Today’s port is also a major network corridor for goods and people reaching Central and Eastern Europe as well Asia, America, Africa and Australia. More than 160 trains link the port city of Trieste with its trade and manufacturing areas, throughout North-East and Central-Southern Italy and Central and Eastern European countries such as Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Turkey. With a port depth of water of about 18 meters, the port stretches out to about 2.3 millions square meters with freezers, underground storage areas, docks, rail road tracks has an internal rail network (about 70 km of tracks) which connect national and international rail roads that serve directly either train stations or motorways. According to Trieste’s port authority statistics, shipping from the port of Trieste can save today 5 sailing days from Europe to East Asia over North European ports which translates into a financial saving of several million of dollars a year in freight and fuel costs. The port serves a “Baltic Adriatic [Shipping] Corridor” which opens to 19 different regions in 5 Member States (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Italy) and a “Mediterranean Corridor” which opens to Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary with two major European rail routes. Today’s terminals on site are managed and operated under Italian law 84/94 and receive cargo containers loaded with fruits and vegetables (Terminal Frutta Trieste S.p.A), grains (Grandi Molini Italiani S.p.A), metals, engines, steel, chemical products, timber, dry and liquid bulk, crude oil (S.I.O.T S.p.A and Shell Italia S.p.A) and derivative products and coffee (Pecorini Silocaf S.r.l – Terminal Polo Caffe’, radice Molo VII no.11) besides administrating a passenger terminal (Pier IU and Maritime Station – Trieste Terminal Passeggeri).
MUSEO CIVICO DEL MARE – MARITIME MUSEUM OF TRIESTE, Via di Campo Marzio 5, Trieste; Tel 39 + 040 304 885 or contact at http://www.museodelmaretrieste.it – Bus stops: 8, 9, 15
This small but very interesting museum documents the establishment of Trieste’ shipping industry. It showcases of models of ancient, medieval and more recent ships including a model of the American Mayflower. The exhibitions include models and maps as well as construction plans for steamers, old maps which show the evolution in size and importance of Trieste’s port including Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless radio technology collection. For visitors who like to fish very interesting are also the various displays showing ancient and less ancient fishing and shellfish cultivation methods and models for educational purposes.
WHERE TO BUY OR EAT SEAFOOD AND FISH AROUND AND IN THE CITY OF TRIESTE
SALUMARE – Il Laboratorio del Pesce, Via di Cavana 13a,34124 Trieste; Tel + 39 + 040 3229743 or contact at email@example.com
PESCHERIA A. CARBONI, Via del Coroneo, 12, 34100 Trieste; Tel + 39 + 040 372 8555
RECIPE – POTATO OCTOPUS SALAD
The secret to a delicious potato octopus salad is using fresh ingredients, peeled, diced potatoes not overcooked and a freshly caught octopus. Related to the small squid and to the cuttlefish, the octopus can be either found hidden in crevices or cracks of coastal sea rocks or throughout sandy tidal pools of coastal saltwater lagoons. Based on where it is harvested its body color ranges from beige-gray to orange brown purple. It has a ball shaped head, bulging eyes and sucker lined tentacles which can grab whatever they sense.
I fresh octopus (preferably no larger than 2 lbs – 1 kg), cleaned*, boiled for 40-45 minutes* and rinsed in cold water, diced or cubed
2 cups of green beans, trimmed, cooked
2 medium size potatoes, boiled in their jackets for 5-8 minutes, peeled, and diced
2 ribs of celery, trimmed, sliced thin
2 sprigs of stemless parsley, minced
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 cup pitted olives (black or green as preferred)
2-3 oz (about 70 gr.) arugula greens (also called rucola), cleaned, salad ready
2-3 ox (about 70 gr.) spring mix or lattughino mix, cleaned, salad ready
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 1/2 tbsp)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra Virgin Olive oil
In a salad bowl, mix all ingredients except the arugola and the spring mix, drizzle them with the lemon juice and dress with salt pepper and fine extra virgin olive oil. Divide the potato octopus salad in four portions and serve each portion over a bed of greens.
* Cleaning an octopus is somewhat tricky; your best bet, if you can, is to ask your fish monger to remove the ink pouch and explain you how to. However: To boil the octopus, start with cold water brought to a rolling boil. When the water boils, holding the octopus by the head portion, dip it in the boiling water twice for 5 minutes; this will allow the tentacles to curl. Boil the whole for additional 35-40 minutes; remove it from the water and let it cool until it is ready to be trimmed, cut, diced, and cubed for the salad.
* After boiling the octopus, with a sharp knife, separate head and tentacles. One by one by hand and with a paring knife, peel the tentacles and cut the whole in bite size pieces or cubes.
GREEN DOLPHIN MOTORBOATS AND BARCOLA’S WEEK ENDS
For those who wish to experience Trieste’s interesting local summer mood there are Trieste’s Green Dolphin motorboats which take people here and there across the water to and from the main harbor. Besides watching “Triestini” (local Trieste inhabitants) while sitting at one of the tables of the bars and eating places of the elegant “centro storico” of the city’s center across the cruise ship harbor, there is also the past time of people “watching” along Barcola’s Lungomare. Barcola, Trieste’s suburb, facing the sea and protected by the bora wind (Trieste’s “Siberian” wind) is the humble and uncomplicated local “beach” of the city. “Sun and lagoon water worshipers” enjoy Barcola especially during week ends while sitting on huge rocks searching for octopuses or fishing from small fishing boats. “Triestini” arrive to Barcola in droves, with towels, mats, blankets, food, lounge chairs, radios, rubber shoes, straw huts, caps, sun tan lotions and Barcola tailored sun umbrellas and spread along the paved Lungomare side walk. They bring pizzas, coca cola and music instruments. They arrive with baskets and coolers. They gossip in their bathing suits while checking for octopuses or “pantegane” (water rats) around or below the huge rocks. They might be single, divorced, married, old, young, fat or skinny, with or without pony tails but all enjoy summer on the side walk or perched on those Barcola rocks or stone walls like lizards in full sun.
Some Barcola aficionados come by car very early in the morning others arrive later riding the “Green Dolphin” motor boats of the Linea Marittima di Trasporto Passeggeri that move several times a day from Grignano, to Barcola and from Barcola to the center town’s Old Harbor and Sistiana.