Discover Trieste: from Barcolana to Joyce © Barcolana Official

Discover Trieste: from Barcolana to Joyce

Celebrate the 50th edition of the largest regatta in the world, Barcolana, while following the footsteps of the Irish Novelist, behind the stream of consciousness.

by Lavinia Pisani

If you drive less than two hours from Venice, you get to the windy and historical city of Trieste. Strategically located between the Adriatic coast and Slovenia’s border, the port city has acquired a not so typical Italian aura despite of the Campari bars and Agip garages.

Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences merge and convey a unique allure to the city that overlooks the blue water of the Italian sea. Sailors have been appreciating each and every corner of Trieste for many years, with October reaching the highest peak of the year. 

From October 5th to the 14th, spinnakers of all shapes and colours will add extra character to the Friulian landscape that is so pleasant to see from both land and sea.

Barcolana 4© Barcolana Official

Still, there is more to appreciate in Trieste than its astonishing views; and sailors are not the only ones who feel deeply about the city. Literates do to and James Joyce is probably one of the most remakable authors to mention, as he lived a full and eccentric life in the city for decades. 

Related article: Europe's Super View Terraces 

James Joyce statue

An easily walkable itinerary, available from Trieste’s tourist office maps, follows the footsteps of James Joyce.

If Dublin was the city where his personality was constituted and formed, then Trieste is where that personality developed and matured. Here he was a teacher, a lecturer, a journalist, a father and a husband; here he knew grinding poverty and endless series of personal and literary setbacks, but also a growing number of successes.

His happiest period was probably spent living on the third floor at number 4 in Via Bramante, near some elegant steps leading to the Basevi Gardens. The author of the Ulysses liked to stride out and enjoyed to take what today is known as Tram di Opicina. First introduced in Trieste two years before Joyce arrived, the funicolar railway goes from Piazza Oberdan all the way up to the top of the hill, where it is possible to appreciate a stunning view over the harbour. 

It would be useless to list all taverns and lodgings Joyce spent time at because these are too many to mention and some, like the Pasticceria Caffè Pirona, may be permanently closed.

Timeless are the ever-living landmarks he saw - the Città Vecchia, or Old City, dominated by the Romanesque Cathedral of San Giusto; the new town, built on land reclaimed from the Gulf of Trieste by the Emperor Joseph II in the 18th century. Outside the city are the ruins of the Castle of Duino, to which it is believed Dante paid a visit, and the modern castle where Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the ''Duino Elegien.'' 

From sea to land and from sport to culture, Trieste won't be disappointing.   

trieste citta© Barcolana Official


For more ideas on Do, Dine, Spend across Italy, visit our destination page