So last weekend, Ramin and I decided to get away from Venice for the weekend and headed to Trieste, a port town on the Eastern border of Italy. We arrived Friday night via train, found our hotel, walked around a bit and turned in early.
Saturday morning, we met up with a group of students traveling to Trieste for the day and made our way to the Miramare Castle. It was about a 5 mile walk down the shore along Trieste’s sandless beaches. We stopped halfway to grab some lunch at Trattoria Pescaria, where everyone (but myself) had really great seafood (#FishAreFriendsNotFood). When we finally arrived at the castle it was raining a bit, but we were still super pumped. The views were absolutely amazing. It was surrounded by water on three sides, and the grounds consisted of beautiful gardens. Ramin and I stayed a bit longer than the rest of the group, then took a bus back, stopping midway to visit the Vittoria Lighthouse. We climbed up the hill, then up the lighthouse and the views were insane - it was a 360 of all of Trieste.
Ramin and I made our way back to our hotel, changed out of our sweaty clothing, and then headed out to dinner. The entire city was absolutely INSANE. There were hundreds of thousands of people everywhere. It was a city wide party. Music and people everywhere. We grabbed some pasta near the main square and then joined the party for a bit (I even got a free hat). On our way home, we stopped for gelato and it was the best gelato I’ve ever had ever…I’m not even sure what flavor it was but it was delicious.
The next morning, we hopped on a bus and headed to the Grotta Gigante, the largest public cave in the world. It was about a 30 min bus ride, up the mountain….it wasn’t the best bus ride in the world to say the least. However, it was totally worth it. The cave was incredible. I expected a small, little, claustrophobic cave but it was massive. No pictures or videos can do it justice. It was about a 500 step climb down and then 500 back up.
That afternoon we headed back to the train station, hopped on the 3:30 train and was back on the island two hours later!
After a bit of a lull in Venice (not going to sugar coat it, Halle and I were couch potatoes for a couple days), Halle and I decided to head to Trieste for the weekend. We arrived on Friday and explored the city/got lost before finding our hotel. We explored more of the city on Saturday morning before meeting up with some of the students who decided to take the two hour train to Trieste. We picked them up from the station and started in on the 1.5 hour walk to Castello Miramare, a beautiful castle with sprawling gardens and a grand interior. We had a pitstop midway at an amazing seafood restaurant (I got spaghetti in a cream based sauce with smoked salmon) before getting caught in the rain just as we were getting to the castle. Halle & I said our goodbyes to the students as they had to make their evening train and explored the castle gardens before heading out to our next stop.
The Farro della Vittoria (literally translated to Lighthouse of Victory) provided Halle and I with a breathtaking 360 degree view of Trieste Proper and the surrounding ocean view communities.
Halle and I then headed out for dinner in the city center, nothing too fancy, but on our walk home we were bombarded by music coming from every direction. It felt like the entire city had come out for the night just to hang out. We still aren’t sure if the party was the status quo for Trieste or if there was a special event that specific weekend, but from the live music to people throwing promotional hats and tote bags out of third story windows it was quite the spectacle. Halle and I hung out a bit longer than we had planned, but it really felt like an entirely different city than the one we had explored the same morning.
The next day we hopped on a bus (that provided breathtaking views of the ocean and city) to head up to the Grotta Gigante (literally translated as Giant Cave). The inconspicuous visitors center and shady restaurant did not prepare us for the absolutely stunning and breathtaking cave that lay below. At 107 m (351 ft) high, 65 m (213 ft) wide and 130 m (430 ft), long Grotta Gigante is the largest tourist cave in the world. With massive stalactites and stalagmites photographs truly don’t do justice to the sheer scale of the rock formations inside.
After the once again breathtaking bus ride down, Halle and I picked up our bags and headed back to Venice.
(Planning on visiting Trieste? Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions on the sights and sounds of the city)
Halle and I met up with the Andreas and headed out to Burano (an island known for lace manufacturing and beautiful colored houses) for a shooting day. I stopped off at Murano (the glass manufacturing island) on the way home for a bit of shopping then back to the Don. Once Halle got back, we headed out to Andreas place for dinner, then made a quick stop at Campo Santa Margherita so say hi to a group of students who had headed out.
Halle and I headed out to Torcello with the class. To quote Halle…
“It’s an island at the edge of the lagoon, about a 45 minute boat ride away, that is no longer lived on. However, there are two churches on the island that are great examples of early Venetian Byzantine architecture and decoration. We first visited Santa Fosca, the smaller matryium and then headed over to Santa Maria Assunta, a larger basilica. Santa Maria Assunta is an absolutely stunning example of early Byzantine architecture in Venice, as it has not been touched since its creation. It features an amazing mosaic apse and exit wall, featuring gold shimmering tesserae. Last year when we visited Torcello it was absolutely miserable out, so Ramin and I were super excited to revisit it. It was really awesome to be able to sit and take everything in and not be worried about taking notes or remembering facts.”
After Torcello I headed home to grab a quick bite at the Don before a photo class covering color balance.
I met up with family friends from home and showed them around a bit before taking them to Gam Gam, an amazing Jewish/Italian restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice.
Halle and I met up with Krystina (the art history professor) to catch up and discuss the class format for the month. We then returned to the Don for a small lecture from Krystina about the history of Venice. Then it was off to St. Marks Square where Halle and I split off to do some shopping. We finally picked up the biennale poster bags that we had been eyeing last year. They are made my the women’s prison in a nearby campo. We then stopped off at Realto Mercado where we chatted up a nice souvenir salesman by the name of Steven Martin…well Stephano Martin to be exact. After a quick lunch at the Don it was off to Photo Class where we looked at students photos from Rome. Halle and I met up with Andrea and Abby (a TA from last year who just finished up an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum) for dinner in Campo Santa Margherita.