We’ve all heard of Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Milan, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Almafi and loads of other spotlight destinations across Italy. But if you’re looking to escape the over-saturated tourist traps without compromising the rich culture of this wonderful country, there are some equally fantastic destinations to add to your list. I recently had the opportunity to visit Trieste: a port city in northeast Italy nestled just along the border of Slovenia (and often called “Venice’s Little Sister” because of all the sparkling canals). This beautiful town is rich in neoclassical Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences, yet authentically Italian through and through. In a short weekend, we squeezed as much as we could out of this fascinating town, and I’m here to tell you why you should pay it a visit as well.
For starters, Kirker Holidays (+44 020 7593 2283) offers short breaks to Trieste from £399 per person for a two night stay at the Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione including flights, private transfers, accommodation with breakfast, Kirker Guide Notes to restaurants / sightseeing, and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book opera/ballet/concert tickets or make a dinner booking.
Regardless of whether you opt for a package tour or plan a trip of your own, here are some things not to miss during your visit:
We stayed at the beautiful Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione, conveniently located on Trieste’s historic seafront just a few steps from the city center. We were able to walk everywhere during our visit all while taking in the sweeping views of the Gulf of Trieste.
The hotel is comprised of 144 rooms and suites, which have been designed to perfectly blend classical elegance with contemporary details and amenities. We were blown away by all of the opulent decor, and even more so by the exceptional hospitality from their staff (we all felt like family by then end of the weekend!) Between dining in their gourmet restaurant, being taught about the local delicacies (largely revolving around seafood dishes) and chatting over some of the finest wine in the area while getting to know the staff, my time spent at Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione was truly special and I would highly recommend staying here to anyone coming to Trieste.
I’d been to Eatly in Chicago and New York plenty of times over the years, but it never occurred to me that these existed in actual Italy. On our first night in Trieste, our friends from Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione walked us here (just opposite of the hotel) for an exceptional dinner.
Both Starhotels (the parent company of Savoia Excelsior) and Eataly are two companies with “Italy in the heart” and with the common goal of exporting “Italianness” all over the world: Starhotels through hospitality, Eataly through the restaurant industry. This partnership allows both parties to stage impressive events and launch collaborations with Michelin starred chefs like Ugo Alciati.
While all Eatly locations have always had incredible quality products, it was so cool to experience it in Italy- where all it’s inspiration comes from! Regardless of whether you come for a proper meal or simply to browse their shop, don’t miss this spot while in Trieste.
Trieste has a feature unique within Italy: the traditional Viennese-style coffee house. Today these Cafés are popular meeting places where you’ll see elegant ladies sipping their coffee, famous writers and poets, university students writing their lecture notes and obviously tourists who are immediately bewitched by the slow and relaxed rhythm surrounding them. These are all over the city and visiting one (or as many as you can!) is a must. We actually did a proper tour (thanks to FVG). Some of the cafés they showed us include: Tommaseo, Caffè degli Specchi, Tergesteo, Stella Polare, Torinese, Urbanis, Pirona, the Ancient Caffè San Marco. Furthermore, Illy Coffee originated in Trieste and you can visit the very first store here (pictured above).
On another tour with FVG, we visited the stunning Miramare Castle. Once a noble residence commissioned by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg, its interiors feature sumptuous original furniture and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Trieste from every window. It was built between 1856 and 1860 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, later Emperor of Mexico, the building is strongly influenced by a Romantic taste, as a revisited construction of a medieval fortress. There is so much fascinating history to absorb here (all while enjoying a feast for the eyes!)
One of my favorite things we did was visit Kante Winery: a unique micro-climate sandwiched between the Adriatic Sea to the south and the Alps to the north. The temperatures here are cool at night and the surrounding grey limestone makes for a near-perfect combination of climate and terreno. Edi Kante produces wines that are poised, solid, fresh, and brimming with the character of both the chosen grape and the stark limestone soil of Carso. We had such an incredible afternoon here touring the cellars, learning about the production, tasting the wine (along with an impressive charcuterie board!) and chatting with the owner. Tours are available by appointment only, but can easily be coordinated for you through the Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione staff.
MORE NOT TO MISS…
We visited this charming agriturismo for lunch one afternoon and it was idyllic to say the least. All ingredients in the food they prepare are sourced right on site (we even toured their extensive kitchen and the cellar where ham is cured to become prosciutto). Rest assured, you won’t leave even remotely hungry!
We came here for dinner on our last evening in Trieste and it was absolutely wonderful. Not only was every food and wine paring exceptional, the ambiance was lovely (and the company of our friends from Savoia Excelsior made for the perfect cherry on top!)
All in all, I can’t say enough wonderful things about Trieste, especially our incredible hosts for the weekend: Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione. I was completely charmed and fell in love with everything about this darling Italian town. Thank you so much to Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione for sponsoring this trip and being the most gracious hosts. I will come back anytime!
This trip was sponsored by Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione. All opinions are my own.
Thanks as always for popping in and following along with my adventures! Until next time…