Antico Caffe’ San Marco is one of the most iconic historic cafes in the heart of Trieste and must not be missed. Established in 1914, it soon became the intellectual hub of the city. Writers, artists, musicians, students and activists (the “Irredentisti”) all met here to read the daily paper, study, write, discuss and debate the issues of the day. Among the more famous patrons were James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Umberto Saba, and Triestine writers Giani Stuparich & Virgilio Giotti. It is said that the cafe housed a hidden passport forging center which facilitated the escape of anti-Austrian patriots into Italy.
Nowadays, the cafe’ is host to students, longtime patrons and tourists who enjoy its old world charm; the marble tables with claw-footed cast iron legs, the black lacquered chairs, the painted wall medallions (some old, some new), frescoes (mostly by Vito Timmel), the antique pendant lights, ornate moldings depicting coffee plant leaves and the imposing bar. The staff wear long aprons and white shirts further evoking ghosts from the past.
San Marco also houses a small but well stocked bookstore which has been instrumental in reviving the cafe as a cultural and intellectual hub by creating encounters with writers, actors and artists.
Open from 8:30-22, food is available from a substantial menu. Their coffee is custom blended and roasted just for them by an outside service. Of course, they also serve wine and spirits.
Open Tues-Thurs & Sunday 8.30 – 22.00 – Fri & Sat 8.30 – Midnight – Closed Mondays
Antico Caffè San Marco
via Battisti, 18 Trieste
In London you can take guided walking tours of every single block of every village. It costs 10 – 15 pounds for a two hour walk or an hour plus. I’ve taken a few. They’ve been a mixed age group, made up of locals, visitors, ex pats… I keep thinking that as an experiment you should try. The locals would love you for turning them on to their venues. You could make some cash pin money. Best of Trieste walking tours with stops at several historical monuments and as you pass the sea a bit about the wind, a coffee stop and a treat stop. Then if it proves popular it can be either a historical walk, a foodie walk, an art walk, street art, etc. truffel field trip, wine and canape, endless. You can give it in english and italian.. I’m sure you’ve thought of this. You’ve already got all your notes and photographs. People would love it and it’s a short commitment of time and money. Any visitor and or local would hop on? No?
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I know they used to have them…you can download itineraries from the city website….