November 9, 2014 – Trieste

Our days have fallen into a pattern. Breakfast, sightseeing until 1PM or 2PM, late lunch, more sightseeing, crash in room, and have breadsticks for dinner. Today is no exception.

Our hotel, Palace Suites, an adjunct of the Continentale Hotel, is centrally located and most things are easily walked to. The one exception would be the cathedral complex which is located on a high bluff. We decide to do the lower part of the city in the morning. First up, the Roman amphitheater.

Roman amphitheater in Trieste built at the end of the 1st century A.D.
Roman amphitheater in Trieste built at the end of the 1st century A.D.

Amazingly this amphitheater used to be outside the city walls on the seashore. Due to the silting up of the harbor it now sits in the middle of the city.

Next we wander down by the waterfront. The Piazza del Unita d’Italia is the largest piazza on a waterfront in the world. Important, I guess, if you are into being placed in the Guiness Book of World Records for something. (Much like Baker, CA’s largest thermometer) It’s an impressive space celebrating Trieste’s reunification with the rest of Italy after WWII.

John in front of the Piazza del Unita d' Italia
John in front of the Piazza del Unita d’ Italia

The Fountain of the Four Continents  - The fountain was built to represent Trieste as a city of prosperity, thanks to its establishment as a Free Port by Charles VI and Maria Theresa of Austria's policy for developing the city.
The Fountain of the Four Continents – The fountain was built to represent Trieste as a city of prosperity, thanks to its establishment as a Free Port by Charles VI and Maria Theresa of Austria’s policy for developing the city.

Close up of the statue depicting the Americas
Close up of the statue depicting the Americas

Looking out into Trieste harbor
Looking out into Trieste harbor
Statue, harborside, of two girls sewing an Italian flag.  Installed in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Trieste to Italy
Statue, harborside, of two girls sewing an Italian flag. Installed in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Trieste to Italy

Even with its ancient Roman ruins, the city of Trieste mostly looks like a prosperous late 19th century city.
Buildings along the main street next to the harbor
Buildings along the main street next to the harbor

We’ve been walking around looking at things for quite a while now. We stop in at the Tourist Information center and find out that the cathedral is closed for the sacred Italian lunch until 3:30PM. So we figure it’s time for a little lunch and a little siesta for ourselves.

The obligatory food pictures –

After lunch and a little rest we decide to go up to the cathedral. It is really up high and we decide to take a taxi due to my bad knee and John’s unoperated hip. We get up to the Cathedral of St. Justus and there are a lot of cars there. We go in and there are a lot of people and kids in some sort of scouting get-up. So we go to sit down to see what’s up. Then the Bishop arrives and we sit through a mass with singing and celebrated in both Slovenian and Italian.

Cathedral of St. Justus
Cathedral of St. Justus

Blurry shot of the bishop after mass
Blurry shot of the bishop after mass

The Bishop seems very sweet and at offertory time the kids bring up baskets and baskets of local produce. He examines each basket and smiles and talks to the kids.

Luckily for us, all the lights are on in the cathedral highlighting the fabulous mosaics from the 11th century. When mass is over and everyone heads for the door John and I hot foot it up to the front to take a look and snap some photos before anyone can turn out the lights and yell NO FOTO at us.

Mosaic of Christ flanked by St. Justus on the left and St. Servilo on the right
Mosaic of Christ flanked by St. Justus on the left and St. Servilo on the right

Madonna and Child with twelve apostles
Madonna and Child with twelve apostles
Behind the central apse are more modern mosaics
Behind the central apse are more modern mosaics

Now here’s a thing we didn’t quite think through. How are we going to get back down to the hotel? It’s dark out now and we are not going to be able to find a taxi. Luckily we strike out (down) in the right direction and slowly make our way down the steep streets to the lower part of the city.

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