Saturday, October 28, 2006

The old town hilltop - San Giusto Cathedral and Castle

 Trieste.  San Giusto Cathedral, Castle.

1.  Orientation.  Tradition says that Jason and his Argonauts landedat Trieste, in search of the Golden Fleece - reason in itself to visit. See Trieste History.

Trieste has had many masters.  became a Roman colony under Julius Caesar, as Tergeste.  Later, the Republic of Venice attacked again and again, leading the Trieste population to seek aid from Austria, a form of voluntary submission.  Venetians got it back in 1508, and back to a free port under the Habsburgs of Austria in the 17th Century.  Ruins show all these stages. It was also occupied by the French (Napoleonic Wars) for a time. Languages: Slovenian, German, Italian, French. World War I:  Italy annexed Trieste at close of the war, and Italian Black Shirts proceeded to assault the large and prosperous Slovene population. Slovenes attacked back, as anti-Fascists.  Fascism prevailed.  World War II. Ultimately Germany ruled de facto, partisans Italian and Slovene conflicted, bombs fell, Yugoslavs took control, people disappeared, and after the war, Trieste became in 1947 a Free Territory under the UN. In 1954, the area known as Zone A was given to Italy. See and decipher at Wikipedia on Trieste.

2.  Major site.  The old cathedral and castle, San Giusto, named for Saint Justus who was martyred by the Romans for being Christian, this in the 3d Century,  is splendid at late afternoon and dusk - watch the sunset. The earliest structures date from the 6thCentury. See Saint Justus was drowned, and his body weighted, but then it resurfaced, like that of Hallvard of Oslo, a recurrent theme-miracle when there might be none other to affix to someone to create a saint?  See

3. Traffic strategies. Many old cities have addressed traffic problems by one-way street arrangements.  Those make sense to those who are familiar with the area, but disastrous for newcomers.  For those rest of us, be prepared to go in circles in Trieste, and to follow your nose upwards for landmarks if you are looking for old fortress areas. Fortresses are visible from below, and are almost always up rather then down or sideways. If in doubt, go up.

4.  Small is better, but not the smallest.  Driving. Be sure your car is no bigger than a compact.

For us, a subcompact is too small but a compact is fine. I like standard shifts, for more control. On occasion, if I am stuck in a parking spot because the next person has boxed us in, or we want to get in a spot and it looks too small, I will ask a passer-by to help. He hops in, parks the car in the impossible spot, or gets me out if boxed in, we salute and we laugh and I tip and off we go. Of course, somebody be a criminal and take off in the car, so?

5. Lack of time.  This was a sudden veer from Croatia, simply because we were nearby, and we could not see all.

  • We did not take time to do Miramare Castle, called the lovenest of Maximilian of Habsburg and Charlotte of Belgium at this site, http:// You do that one and report back to us. The picture there does show how lovely the setting for Trieste is.
  • Some of the masters of Trieste had mistresses.

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