October 21, 2017
Saturday Evening “Passeggiata Triestina”
I know that I am in Trieste because I can do what I would never be able to do in Ottawa. Around four o’clock everyday I take the number 9 bus and head to Piazza Unita for my giro in citta. I know there are no Piazzas in Ottawa so I cannot compare the two worlds. And secondly in Ottawa it is just not part of our lifestyle to head out in the evening and meet up with friends for an aperativo. Climate, Anglo-saxon puritanism, lack of foresight in urban planning, probably all have a role to play in making our life-style quite reclusive in comparison to that of Trieste.
I got out of the bus at the Piazza della Republica stop and walked along the Via della Cassa di Risparmio. I saw that the massive doors of the Palazzo Dreher were open. I had no idea if the building was even in use any more because I had never seen the doors open before. Curious as I am, I walked up a short flight of stairs to a beautiful large space with marble tiled floors and high coffered ceilings. It was being used as an exhibition space to display contemporary artisan works. Modern day works of glass makers, jewellery makers, textile makers, furniture makers, wood carvers, porcelain, silver works, tapestry were on display with explanations of the long history of artisans in the Veneto.
As I was walking around admiring the works and learning about the history of artisans I heard the sounds of marching band music. I went back out in Piazza della Borsa and just in front of the Fontana there was a brass band playing traditional marching music. I stopped to listen to it and to enjoy it for a while and then moved on towards Piazza Unita but not before stopping to watch a busker entertaining a group of children with his gigantic soap bubbles.
Along the Rive – the waterfront – there was a line-up of people waiting to visit the Amerigo Vespucci sailing ship. According to Il Piccolo more than 3400 people visited the ship on that Saturday. A bit of nostalgia perhaps for the days when Trieste was the only seaport of the Hapsburg Empire and sailing vessels loaded with goods from every where in the world arrived in Trieste.
The TS Amerigo Vespucci belongs to the Italian Navy. She was launched on February 22nd 1931. The ship was built to resemble a wooden war ship of the early nineteenth century. The two white stripes on the black hull recall the two lines of cannons that would have been carried by the war ship.
The Amerigo Vespucci carries out training campaigns for Naval Academy cadets and also stands as a symbol of Italian excellence – “made in Italy”. On board, Navy cadets put into practice what they studied in the classroom, by getting familiar with the marine equipment, climbing up the masts, and using the sextant to calculate the position of the ship with the stars.
On the other side of the Stazione Marittima was docked a multi-story cruise ship with sad reminders of the era in which we now live – a strict security perimeter before passengers could board the ship including soldiers in army fatigues carrying machines guns.
I walked along the Mole Audace packed with other strollers and then took the number 9 bus back.
As I am writing this the warm sirocco winds have been displaced by cold north easterly winds with lightning, thunder and rain beating hard against the windows. Another part of Trieste life – la bora – cold winds tonight at 100km per hour!