Trieste was the fourth largest city of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in the 1900s and the primary seaport of the Austrian Littoral, which had been established in 1849 and was dissolved after WWII.
Trieste had flourished ever since Emperor Charles VI had given it its tax-free status in 1719, the same time that the coffee craze hit Europe. Until today, and although slightly forgotten, this beautiful town remains Europe’s coffee capital with 2.0-2.5 million coffee beans being imported through the port each year.
It is Italy’s only city that features unique Viennese style coffee houses, which were popular among writers and intellectuals such as Rainer Maria Rilke, James Joyce and continue to be meeting points for contemporary national and international writers.
Café-goers can sip on cappuccinos on the main plaza while watching seagulls dive for fish and marvel at the wondrous architecture of Trieste, which includes the Miramar Castle and the opera house Teatro Verdi.
Tucked away in the city center one can find gems such as the beautiful Caffé San Marco, with typical Viennese interior – big mirrors, high ceilings, and comfy, plushy chairs – plus of course, a splendid coffee selection, delicious Italian food and sweets.
It’s a great place to grab a book and daydream back to the days when James Joyce, a resident of Trieste for no less than 15 years, was sitting in the very same spot writing the epic Ulysses.