April 13, 2022
First the good news. Our Covid tests were negative this morning. And we saw the sunrise from the balcony.
Today we are exploring Trieste. This is our port of call instead of Venice which does not allow cruise ships into the city anymore. We sailed in there when we visited years ago, but they are prohibited now. Oceania is looking for permission to dock closer to Venice but that has not been approved yet. So Trieste it is, and we haven’t visited this city before. Venice is a 2 hour trip from here and many passengers are going there. We will need to travel to Venice airport tomorrow so our flight has been changed to a later one on a different airline.
Our tour today is Trieste and its Miramare Castle. Our guide was Katya.
On our way to the Castle, she gave us a lot of information about Trieste. The population here is 200,000 and the city is bordered by Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east. Croatia is only 19 miles to the south. There is a long coastline and its location from a plateau to the Adriatic Sea keeps it physically and psychologically isolated from the rest of the Italian peninsula. It preserves its own culture and dialect, a mixture of Italian, Austrian-German, Croatian and Greek. It has one of the highest standards of living among Italian cities and was named one of the 25 best small towns in the world for quality of life and one of the ten safest cities in the world in 2021.
Actually, we felt pretty safe on this whole trip, no pickpockets or any kind of threat at all. Of course the crowds were not here both because of Covid and the early part of the season.
The city has mostly one way streets which makes it challenging to travel through. Our driver is of course familiar, so no problem.
The 17th century was very important here, the Empress Marie Therese made a lot of positive changes and she is much loved by the people.
We went to the lovely Miramare Castle which was the home of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximillian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium, later Emperor Maximillian of Mexico. He supposedly chose the site after taking shelter from a storm in the harbor. The castle has a surrounding 54 acre park. It was only accessible by sea. It means “look at the sea.” It was finished only after he went to Mexico in 1864 and reigned there as Emperor until he was executed in June 1867. During the construction he lived in the Castelleto which still stands on the grounds but is closed to visitors.We spent 45 minutes touring the castle and another 45 minutes walking around the grounds. The area is isolated and very serene.
This is the view as we approach the castle.
We heard so much history about Marie Therese, Maximillian that it is hard to capture it all.
Here are pictures of the beautiful interior with original silk wall coverings and intricate furniture. There are 5000 books in the library.
This is a piano forte, an early version of the piano.
Later, the residents of the castle were the family of Duke Amedeo of Aosta and they had simpler tastes!
And here are some shots from around the grounds.
After the castle, we went up to the San Guisto area which is high on the hill overlooking the city. There we toured the San Giusto Cathedral which is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the main church of Trieste. The first building on the site was in the 6th century and was completely destroyed by the Lombard invasion.Between the 9th and the 17th centuries, two basilicas were erected and in the 14th century the two were joined. Inside you can see the difference in the architecture and décor between the two.
There is an old fortress on the hill with the church and some ruins. The brick is newer, the white is the original.
We didn’t have free time in the town but since we are here overnight and our ship will change locations, we may do a last dinner in Italy. The comedian Mark Palmer will perform again tonight.
We THINK we filled out and uploaded all of the required forms for our flight back to the US. We are flying on Iberia and we change planes in Madrid, then back to Miami and home.