Keep Cool With These Cool Activities This Summer In Trieste

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Words: Alessandra Ressa

Illustration: Victoria Tsaleva

Summer in Trieste is the best time for outdoor cultural events and beach lovers. It is also the special season when Triestini crowd the traditional osmiza tables in the hilly villages around the city to enjoy home-made cold cuts and local terrano wine at affordable prices. Summer in Trieste, however, can at times become unbearably hot, with little or no night relief. Many locals escape to the mountains or soak for hours in water in the nearby seaside locations of Slovenia and Croatia. If you detest the scorching hot and humid summer days, however, there are other ways to cope with the more and more frequent heat waves while staying in town.

Book A Tour At Kleine Berlin

Kleine Berlin is the biggest system of underground anti-aircraft tunnels built during WWII still in existence in central Trieste. It runs for several kilometers under the city and was used for protection by the civilian population during air strikes as well as underground headquarters by the German troops during occupation. It has now been converted into an amazing museum where not only you can explore the dark, cool tunnels, but you can also learn about the history of Trieste during those troubled times. Temperature inside is approximately 12 degrees Celsius all year long, a great opportunity to escape the heat. Visits are also available in English. You can book your tour by sending an email to kleineberlin@cat.ts.it  or call +39 040 349 8239.

Visit The San Giacomo Washhouse (Ex Lavatoio)

Located under a cool, shady roofed area, the San Giacomo washhouse is the only one left standing in Trieste. The washhouse has a permanent historical exhibition on the job washerwomen performed and the local soap industry. The building is also a meeting place that can be used free of charge by cultural associations, hosting a number of various events for the public. To book your visit: Ex lavatoio di San Giacomo, via San Giacomo in Monte 9, +39 040 225562, lavatoio2011@libero.it

The Bora Wind Museum

The Magazzino dei Venti – Bora Museum Project was inaugurated in 2004, not merely as a museum, but more as a place of curiosities celebrating wind and the imagination. It is a small center for documentation on the wind, where visitors can leaf through books by past and present authors, from Stendhal to Rodari, who have mentioned Trieste’s wind, and discover multimedia materials and wind-related curiosities from Trieste (e.g. the famous Bora ropes) and around the world. Best to book a few days in advance:  Magazzino dei Venti, via Belpoggio, 9,  +39 040 307478 museobora@iol.it

The Jesuits’ Cellars

In 1627 the Jesuits commissioned the construction of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore on the hill of San Giusto. The cellars were built as the foundations of the church. Since then, they have been source of local legends and lore, particularly related to the Inquisition. There are two large sections to be visited: the first is a set of tunnels under the church which contains the notorious Cat Tunnel (where an ancient, mummified cat has been found and is now on display). It continues under the burial crypt of the Petazzi family, leading to the infamous Red Room, where, legend goes, the local Inquisition operated. You can also marvel at the crystal-clear waters of the Well of Souls, placed directly under the altar of the Madonna della Salute. The ancient well provided water for the whole community.  Group booking only. Address: Piazzetta San Silvestro – Trieste +39 3355415368 ssastrieste.it@fastwebnet.it  www.santuariosantamariamaggiore.it madonnadellasalutetrieste@gmail.com

Speleovivarium – Speleology Museum And Tunnels

The Speleovivarium – Speleology Museum is located in another WWII air-raid shelter  in the heart of Trieste. Because of its temperatures and humidity levels, its environmental features are similar to those in the natural Karst caves. There is a large collection of photographs and documents related to the exploration of artificial hypogeum sites in Trieste. Here you can learn everything about the Proteus, a rare olm that lives in caves that can still be found in underground rivers and lakes in Trieste’s Karst area. To book a tour: Via Guido Reni, 2/c Trieste +39 040 306770 / +39 349 1357631 www.sastrieste.it, speleovivarium@email.it


Grotta delle Torri di Slivia

The Cave of the Towers of Silvia owes its name to the majestic stalagmites that appeared before the eyes of the first official expedition of speleologists of the “Società degli Alpinisti Triestini”, on 6 January 1885.  The cave, 554 meters long, has been known for  the chasm that opens in a slight depression of the ground, and was one of the first caves in the Karst region of Trieste to be explored.  The site is open for guided tours only.  The cave runs underneath Azienda Agricola Le Torri di Slivia and it is the only privately managed tourist cave in Italy. The info point/ticket office is inside the estate’s farm building where the osmiza service is also held on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer season. To book your tour and for information on the osmiza’s opening days consult www.letorridislivia.net.

The Antiquarium of via Donota

The Antiquarium consists of an area of archaeological excavations  in the area behind the Roman theater, and an exhibition space set up at the tower of the medieval walls. A domus of the first century AD was reused, starting from about half of the second and up to the sixth century, for purposes of pagan funeral rituals. Significant is the presence of a compound, which in a first phase delimited the burial area: the balustrade is made of limestone slabs and remain the foundations of a funerary monument located near the front, in a prominent position at the ancient road that is modeled by the current street Donota. The interior space and the surrounding was later used for the insertion of graves  in jars reserved especially for children.  Entrance free. Opening times are once a week 10 to 12 (send an email for specific day)  or on request. 0039 040 4261411 sabap-fvg@beniculturali.it

The Synagogue In Via San Francesco

The Jewish temple in Trieste is one of the largest in Europe. In fact, when it was built, the Jewish community in Trieste had more than 5,000 members and played an important role in the city’s economic and cultural life. From an architectural perspective, the synagogue is rather original – it features Middle Eastern-inspired decorations and stylized Jewish symbols.
The large central dome can only be glimpsed from a distance, while the half-dome and small side domes are visible from the square and nearby streets. The cool temperature inside Trieste’s Jewish temple will make it an even more  pleasant visit. Individual: Sunday at 10.00 and 11.30 
Monday at 5.00 pm; Tuesday at 10.30; Wednesday at 17.00; Thursday at 16.00 
Guided tours for groups by reservation from Sunday to Thursday, gruppi@triestebraica.it

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Alessandra Ressa
“Born to Italian-Scottish parents, an explosive combination, reason for my restlessness and love for good food, I’ve moved from San Francisco, California to Trieste 20 years ago. I have a degree in Mass Communication from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in International Cooperation from the Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari in Pisa. In San Francisco I worked for several years as a journalist and press officer before moving to Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and other war stricken countries with the United Nations. I am a professional journalist and English teacher, I love the outdoors, exploring caves and unusual places, travelling, meeting people, the opera, singing, the scent of the sea and the whistle of the wind. No other city in the world other than Trieste can offer all this.”

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