Thursday, February 23, 2017

On Trieste

I was in Trieste over the weekend. My Croatian friends who are my age speak of Trieste with great affection. They all went there when they were kids. It's where Istrians did their grocery shopping. Everyone has a story of knowing someobody who bought three pairs of jeans at the market next to the train and bus station, and then went home wearing all three at the same time.

There was a market in Trieste, but it wasn't by the station. It was near the city center, on a street with a statue of Italo Svevo. I didn't like the market very much. You could eat interesting beef dishes and gnocchi at buffet restaurants. At night, everyone hung out on the street in front of bars. There may have been a big dance club somewhere, but I wasn't looking for one. I saw a significant number of non-white people for the first time in over a month, because it was Italy. There were some feminist signs printed out and taped up throughout the city in sets of threes, a slogan written in Italian, then Slovenian, then English. "Contro ogni fonfine tra generi e territori." "Proti vsakršni meji med spoli in med ozemlji." "Against all borders between lands and genders." I only heard Italian. The architecture was Austro-Hungarian. The sound and the image were jarring because, as a tourist and a movie-lover, I only know Italy as Rome, Florence, Venice, and Naples.

The best museum was the Revoltella. One half was the house of a baron, who was involved in the construction of the Suez Canal. He had no children, because he was probably gay. And he left his house and money to the city of Trieste. An adjacent building holds an amazing art collection.

I never saw such a lovely group of paintings put on display with so little pretension, and such odd touches of cleverness. The light isn't good. I'm not a great photographer. And I only have my iPhone. But here you are:

I highly suggest a weekend trip to Trieste, and a visit to the Revoltella.

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