SURVIVAL GUIDE: The Pulse of Trieste


When I found out I’d be moving to Trieste – a part of Italy previously unknown to me – I looked at a map and asked my husband, “are you sure we are moving to Italy?” On the map, Trieste is a crescent shape hugging the Adriatic, but to me, it most decidedly looked like it was on what was once Yugoslavia. So, I turned to Google to find out as much as I could.

The first hit I got was a blog called, “Goodmorning Trieste” by Francesca Pignatti – aptly described as “a diary from the farthest city in Italy”. The site describes the blogger’s adventures and cultural discoveries in Trieste. It painted a picture of a city wrapped in history, controversy and beauty. Then I opened Google Earth and began virtually exploring the streets & neighborhoods of the city in order to understand where my husband was finding potential apartments. I was able to get a good feel for the layout of the city; Barcola is Trieste’s Santa Monica and further up the coast, is more like Malibu. Cavana & Citta’ Vecchia are like the Village and Soho and so on. To complete my online education, I searched the online sites of the regional TV News, RAI-FVG and the local paper, Il Piccolo. While I am fluent in Italian, I discovered that the predominant language here is Triestino and found that the comment sections online are written largely in the local dialect.  Reading the comment sections,  gave me particular insight to the opinions, humor and tone of the citizens of Trieste. What I discovered is that they are as proud of their city as they are critical of it and in the end, both the people that live here and those who visit, all ultimately fall in love with and are fiercely protective of Trieste.

When I finally arrived in Trieste, I immediately began exploring and seeking out where the “true Triestini” gather – from their favorite bars and restaurants to their online communities. For a town of 250,000 there are an incredible number of blogs, websites, Facebook pages, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts all dedicated to Trieste.     The love people feel for this city knows no bounds. Aside from my blog,  Best of Trieste , (the English language blog, FB and Twitter guide to the city, events and happenings), there are many other “odes” to the city.  The first place to start is the Official Tourism Board website Discover Trieste which has a nice site and provides itineraries and booking assistance and is updated regularly. The City also does a great job with their Trieste Cultura site, keeping a running calendar of events around town.

However, to really get inside the mind of the average Triestino, one has to dig a little deeper. There is the FB page Te Son De Trieste Se where many of the locals converge (just over 30,000 of them!). From politicians, to journalists to ordinary citizens, this is the online “piazza” where they meet to wish each other good morning, ask each other advice, criticize the latest political pronouncement, and complain or rejoice about goings on in the city. The title is a riff on the You know you’re a {–} if you…   NIMDVM is another FB site similar and often associated with Te Son de Trieste Se (the founders are friends). NIMDVM is more of a “Robin Hood” group who comes to the aid of local citizens in need. Followers often provide support in many forms from lending a helping hand to fundraising.  The name of the group are the initials of a classic Triestine phrase (which is a little vulgar) “Go back to your mother’s V” but is meant more like “get outta here”.  It boasts 14,000 subscribers and in the first 8 months of 2017, they have raised and donated almost 15,000 Euros to causes and needy families around the city.

Trieste di Ieri e di Oggi is a fascinating website and FB page that collects old photos and memories from the noble but often tortured past of the city. Here there are thousands of pictures or depictions of the city and its citizens before and after the good old days of the reign of the Austrians, WW1 & 2, the Allied occupation, the strife with Yugoslavia, the 60s & 70s when Trieste was a shopping mecca for Eastern Europeans, to present day.  Trieste Social is a hashtag campaign to tie together and highlight and promote Trieste throughout social media and the world. Thousands tag their articles & photos to help populate the sight and raise the online profile of the city.  Scoprendo Trieste is a blog by Daniele De Marco. It’s a historical journey through the architecture of Trieste and demystifies the incredible array of styles and structures throughout the city. This website to me is particularly interesting in that here there truly are so many different architectural styles — from ancient Roman to Fascist Era, From Art Nouveau to 60s mod style housing. It seems impossible that so many can exist in one city. And some buildings exude such a mysterious, fascinating feel about them (Rotonda Panciera, Casa delle Bisse, Casa dei Mascheroni)  that you want to find out all that you can; who built them, who lived in them, why some stand abandoned…

Trieste Arcana is a beautiful Instagram feed of sculptures, facades and bas reliefs around the city.  Here you see in detail and up close the beautiful embellishments that adorn Trieste.

Among news outlets for Trieste, besides RAI-FVG (which provides programming in both Italian and Slovenian for TV & Radio), then there are Tele 4 and Tele Friuli which are private local TV channels also featuring local news and programming which are well followed by the Trieste audience. Trieste boasts many other well followed online news sources,  and they are: Trieste Prima, Trieste All-News, Trieste Uno, Diario di Trieste.  The local newspaper is Il Piccolo, and the Slovenian language newspaper is Primorski Dnevnik.

Once you start looking, you’ll find hundreds more sites dedicated to specific audiences, one of my favorites is the Triestine cooking FB page, COSSA CUCINO OGGI(What I’m Cooking Today) which features recipes and photos of local fare and specialties which is always fun and informative. What’s also surprising is the number of very proficient English speakers (and writers) who, I have found, will respond first in Triestino, second in English and lastly in Italian!

Trieste is not a large city, but it is multilayered, multicultural, multiethnic and multifaceted. It is this diversity that creates great bonds and fosters great love for this city.   Trieste becomes “home” to many of us whether we are among the historic first families or recent transplants — we all make Trieste our own.


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