Trieste is a city which doesn’t quite make it on the ‘top cities to visit in Italy” and I think that is such a shame; it’s an absolute gem! I spent 4 days in this beautiful city (granted this was my first time in Italy) but I was not disappointed and would certainly visit again!
Check out this little short film I made of the trip!
Situated right next door to Slovenia (about a 2 hour drive) and Croatia (about a 3 hour drive) it has been heavily influenced by Latin, Slavic, Greek, Jewish and Germanic culture which gives it that “not your typical Italian city” vibe. Just walking through the streets and speaking with its people you get a sense that Trieste really is rather different.
For example the local dialect, Triestine is kind of a form of Venetian and many words are taken from other languages. For example; Italian for “Fork” is “Forchetta” and in Triestian it is “Piròn”.
Triestian’s also do coffee differently, but more on that later…
Sadly, we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to due to the fact that we were guests at the Trieste Science Plus Fiction Festival (http://www.sciencefictionfestival.org) which runs the first week in November each year. I highly recommend attending if you are a science fiction film fanatic!
But first things first…
Ask anyone who knows me, coffee is my life blood. I don’t even know who I am unless Ive had a coffee first thing in the morning. Is it an addiction? Maybe? Does its consumption make me happy? Yes.
Naturally I was thrilled that we were visiting one of the most important places in Italy for coffee. It is the home place of Illy after all.
The inhabitants of Trieste are said to drink twice as much coffee as elsewhere in Italy. According to statistics, the average Italian consumes 5.8kg of coffee a year, while in Trieste this is estimated to be 10kg! Our taxi driver told us that during the second world war, coffee was still labeled as a ‘necessity’ rather than a ‘luxury’ and was included as part of an individuals daily rations.
So ordering a coffee in Treiste is a bit different and a bit confusing:
NERO = Espresso
DECA = Decaffeinated espresso
CAPO = Espresso macchiato (espresso with a splash of frothed milk)
CAPO DECA = Decaffeinated espresso macchiato
GOCCIA = Espresso with a drop of frothed milk
CAFFELATTE = Cappuccino
(Top tip: use “in B” after all these drinks to get your drink served in a glass e.g. “nero in b” for an espresso in a glass)
I was told by EVERYONE. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. NEVER to order a cappuccino in Trieste because you end up being served a shot of espresso with some foam on the top – so to get a cappuccino you had to ask for a Caffe Latte. So I naturally took on this advice and ordered a cafe latte at the hotel, and I got just that. A latte. Milky and gross.
So, me being me, I chose to chance it. At the cafe at San Giusto castle I ordered a cappuccino dreading what the result would be. No longer was I in the comfort of our hotel; I was in the wild…! However, the barista knew exactly what I meant and I got a cappuccino. Ok, it was a little smaller and more of a ‘flat white’ situation, but it was essentially what I wanted and what I asked for. From then on, I only ordered cappuccinos, even at the Cafe Adoro (https://www.facebook.com/adorocafetrieste/), I got exactly what I wanted.
As long as you don’t expect a big huge swimming pool of coffee that you would get in Costa or Starbucks then you will be fine! Besides, little and often I always say, because, darn tooting, is the coffee in Trieste STRONG!
Also a good point to note is that if you choose to physically sit inside a cafe/restaurant you will be charged a few euros for the privilege. This is why you will see many people standing by the bar eating or drinking to avoid paying the service charge. I believe this is common for many European cities.
Best time to visit?
Autumn/Fall – still quite warm and not so touristy. Though greater chance of rain.
How to get there?
You can fly to Trieste pretty easily. There are two airports you can fly into. Trieste (https://triesteairport.it/en/) or Vencie Treviso (https://www.trevisoairport.it/en/ which is about a 2 hour drive from Trieste)
From London Stansted you can fly to Trieste for as little as £12.99 one way with Ryanair (if booked in advance of course) This is literally cheaper than what it would cost me to take the train into London. Madness.
The flight time is approx. 2 hours.
Where to stay?
Staying in Trieste is also pretty easy too. Of course you have the infamous Air BnB which I normally use for ALL my trips.
Get £25 off your first trip with Air BnB using my referral link – https://www.airbnb.co.uk/c/charlettek7?currency=GBP
Though this time I stayed at the hotel Victoria (https://www.hotelvictoriatrieste.com/en/) which I highly recommend. Prices start at 98 euros a night with free wi-fi & buffet breakfast (which was delicious!)
How long do you need?
About 2-3 days
How much spending money do you need?
I would say about £50 per day (not including your hotel of course), if you were being frugal. £100 to be more lavish. Wine is pretty inexpensive. You can get a large glass of GOOD red wine for 2 euros! And if you want to splash out a bit more a VERY good red wine will be about 4-5 euros for a pretty large glass; no one bothers to measure anything in Trieste!
Espresso is about 1-2 euros and a cappuccino is about 2-3 euros depending on where you go. You can also grab a pretty epic pizza for about 8-10 euros and if you want to splash out a bit more, a 3 course meal with a drink will set you back roughly 35 euros a head.
What should I wear?
I visited in early November and it was still pretty warm; sort of like a late spring day in the UK. Depending on your own personal comfort of course, I would suggest bringing some long sleeve tops with a jumper/jacket for the evening and of course a pair of jeans/long trousers.
(I always seem to wear this top in all of my blog posts…..)
Most importantly you will definitely need a pair of good, comfortable trainers/walking shoes. Trieste is a walking city and you will be on your feet all day so something you can spend hours in is a must.
For the evening, Trieste is pretty laid back, so you don’t need to bring your fancy frocks or dinner suits. For men, a smart shirt/jacket combo with some smart shoes and jeans will do you pretty nicely. For ladies, a casual dress or again, a nice top with some jeans will be fine, but try not to bring your stilettos! The streets are mostly cobbled and uneven so unless you have the balance of a Prima Ballerina I would stick with flats or chunky heels with more surface area.
What do I need to bring?
As you would expect from a metropolitan city, everything you could need is on your doorstep. Pharmacies, supermarkets, clothing stores, so if you get stuck, you can normally just pop to the shop and buy what you need. Shops tend to open late too which is handy. However, I would highly recommend bringing with you a raincoat and compact umbrella (if visiting in the autumn/winter) which will save the day if it suddenly rains.
Top places to visit (within Trieste)
Check out this little short film to see snippets of some of these locations!
- Piazza dell’Unita
- Canal Grande
- The Port of Trieste & Harbour
- Roman Theatre
- San Giusto Castle
- San Giusto Cathedral
- Molo Audace
- Church of Santa Maria Maggiore
- Piazza della Borsa
- Risiera di San Sabba
- Arco di Riccardo
- Saint Spyridon Church
Top places to visit (just outside Trieste)
- Grotta Gigante
- Miramare Castle
- Temple of Monte Grisa
- Venice! If you fly into Venice Treviso then you can do a day or two in Venice before you leave!
Places to eat & drink
The most popular place to eat in Trieste would be a “buffet” which is essentially a hole-in-the-wall eatery that serves everything pork, from nose to tail, which is traditionally served with sauerkraut, mustard and horseradish. I didn’t, of course, frequent these establishments as I am a pescatarian (I only eat fish) but I would definitely recommend trying this traditional food if you like pork!
My favourite restaurant however was Salvagente (https://www.facebook.com/OsteriaSalvagente/) which had the most amazing seafood dishes I have ever eaten. Its quite tucked away but it has that very friendly, cozy and welcoming environment.
Next highly recommended was the Rossopomodoro Pizzeria (http://www.rossopomodoro.it/ristoranti/TRIESTE/trieste) which I ordered this bad boy….
This epic seafood pizza cost around 15 euros, but you can get a modest margarita for about 8 euros.
If you are looking for a quick pit stop, the Cafe San Marco (http://www.caffesanmarco.com) is notoriously the most famous cafe to visit, especially if you are a literary enthusiast. It became famous as a rendezvous for intellectuals and writers including Italo Svevo, James Joyce and Umberto Saba. Inside it is literally filled with books you can just pickup, read and buy.
So all in all I absolutely loved my time in Trieste and would eagerly visit again! I hardly scratched the surface of what this amazing city has to offer and am desperate to visit all the places I missed!
Have you been to Trieste? Will you make room in your next Italian itinerary for this wonderful city?
Let me know in the comments!