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Trieste reflects the artistic and cultural heritage of old Europe

KG Krishnamoorthy Rao revels in the quaintness of the small Italian port-city

Published: Sep 25, 2015 06:41:26 AM IST
Updated: Sep 21, 2015 04:41:41 PM IST
Image: Getty Images

I often travel to Trieste, which houses the Generali Group head office—we are a joint venture between Future Group of India and Insurance major Generali Group of Italy.

Being a port city, the first thing you notice upon arriving in Trieste is the amazing view of the clear blue Adriatic Sea. This city reflects the artistic and cultural heritage of old Europe. There are large elegant buildings and castles all across the city, bearing the signature of old Roman and Austrian architecture.

Getting around
Nothing beats the charm of strolling through the city and admiring the beauty of its architecture as well as views of the harbour. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle or board a bus to move around. However, since the city is not too large, I find it more convenient to walk.

My favourite hotel in Trieste is Starhotels Savoia Excelsior Palace. It is centrally located, with all the major attractions nearby. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and offer stunning views of the Gulf of Trieste. This is a historic building that truly reflects the grandeur of 19th century architecture: The huge columns across the lobby, the Belle Époque-style skylight above the lounge, the rich furnishings in the rooms. The hotel’s Savoy Restaurant is a great place to enjoy local cuisines while enjoying the breath-taking views of the sea. Moreover, they also have a well-stocked library. What better way to wind up a busy day than read your favourite novel! 

You can also stay at Hotel Victoria, Hotel NH Trieste and Urban Hotel Design, all of which are centrally located.

Most of the hotels offer well-equipped meeting rooms where you can conduct business meets if you don’t have an office. There are also quite a few good cafes where you can have informal business meetings.

Trieste is a sea-food lover’s paradise. However, since I am a vegan, I mostly enjoy the pizza and spaghetti offered by the small restaurants and cafes all across the town. Zoe Food is one of my favourite restaurants for its assortment of organic food from all over the world. If you are planning to visit during Easter, you must taste pinza, which is a sweet bread baked by local women.

If you are in Trieste for a slightly longer trip, you should not miss visiting Castello di Miramare, a 19th century castle overlooking the Gulf of Trieste. You might find bigger castles than this in other parts of Europe, but this one captivates you with its architectural heritage and historical value. If you can manage a full day off, you can always go to Venice, one of the most picturesque locales in Italy, which is about two hours by train from Trieste.

After hours
Take a stroll along the Canale Grande, dotted with sail boats. In the evenings, the lights and reflections from the buildings beside the canal shimmer on the water surface. You can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee at any of the cafes that line the wide walkways on either side. Visit the monuments, museums and the iconic Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia (the main town square) overlooking the harbour. The architecture and historical value of these places are truly engrossing. In summer, you can enjoy the open air exhibitions at the Roman theatre.

KG Krishnamoorthy Rao is MD and CEO of Future Generali
KG Krishnamoorthy Rao is MD and CEO of Future Generali
In Trieste’s fun outdoor markets, you can get all sorts of items from glassware, books to fine antiques. On my first trip, I bought some Bohemian glassware. Trieste offers one of the finest Italian coffee. I make sure I buy some coffee beans and ground coffee to take back home.

Trieste is one of the safest places in Italy and you won’t face any problems walking on the streets at night. However, the bus service is not very reliable, especially after 9 pm when they are few and far between. The road signs are only in the local language. So it will be wise to visit Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia on the first day and get a tourist map from there that gives all information and directions about the streets, tourist attractions, restaurants etc in English.

(Coordinated by Jasodhara Banerjee)

(This story appears in the 02 October, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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