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Elle Decor Italia

Seven steps into an unconventional Trieste

Not just an ordinary Bora, but formidable gusts of creativity to discover along the streets of Italo Svevo’s native city


Trieste city center

Shy, thoughtful, fascinatingly Middle-European. Which are Trieste must-sees? Besides the famous Bora, the city is constantly swept by a wind of new ideas and creativity, which make it a contemporary, often unexpected destination. We’ve tried to illustrate the city in 7 unconventional stops, all of them as many places to discover.

If you do not know what to see in Trieste, you should start from the city’s seafront promenade, in the Riva Tommaso Gulli. Here strong gusts of new intuitions have transformed the 1800s buildings of the former Magazzino Vini (Wine Storehouse, editor’s note) into Trieste’s new Eataly store: an oasis dedicated to the pleasures of food and a meeting hub overlooking the sea. The requalification project by Archea Associati has revolutionized the historic structure by building an actual edifice within the edifice itself. Although carefully maintaining the city’s architectural and panoramic features, within the ex-Magazzino Vini another, 3600sqm structure has been created: ethereal, translucent, and completely independent, with a huge glass wall that allows visitors to taste new, scrumptious flavors while enjoying a stunning view on the Trieste harbor (read also → Com'è il nuovo Eataly di Trieste).


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Located on the Riva Grumula, the Stazione Rogers is a perfect stop for your leisure moments. Created by Studio Belgiojoso Peressutti and Rogers in the 1950s as a new service station in support of the Aquila refinery, after long years of neglect, this former petrol station has been turned into something of a culture station by the Ernesto Nathan Rogers association a decade ago. After a careful renovation, the Stazione Rogers is now a multi-purpose center of integration and communication, an exhibition and meeting venue where visitors have the opportunity to find new publications in its well-stocked bookstore, get touristic information, discover the latest art and design creations and listen to excellent live music (www.stazionerogers.org).

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Prompted by today’s winds of change, Trieste boasts, among its main must-sees, another suggestive address that has recently changed its skin. The former Pescheria Centrale (Central Fish Market, editor’s note) in Riva Nazario Sauro is actually been turned into the Salone degli Incanti (Hall of Enchantments, editor’s note), a new, fascinating modern & contemporary art exhibition center. Designed by architect Giorgio Polli and built in 1913, the building recalls the ancient, pre-Christian idea of the Roman basilica: a socializing place, further embellished by adding Venetian ambiances and Palladian touches. An evocative venue overlooking the sea, animated by a kaleidoscope of cultural exhibitions (salonedeglincanti.comune.trieste.it).

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Even a wind-swept city, though, needs a stable, almost immutable heart. The Antico Caffè San Marco, located in via Battisti, undoubtedly represents such an ideal in Trieste. Since its establishment in 1914 the café has been home to renowned exponents of Trieste literature, including authors such as Umberto Saba, James Joyce, Italo Svevo and Giani Stuparich. Today the Antico Caffè San Marco pays homage to its inspired regulars with a small, refined library whose aesthetics recall the Vienna Secession style, featuring pictorial decorations and wood, cast iron and marble furnishings (caffesanmarcotrieste.eu).


Speaking of wood, Trieste can also boast an actual little shrine dedicated to this material and to top craftsmanship. Located in via Diaz, Vud is many things together: concept store, carpentry workshop, design studio, but, above all, a place to discover the fascinating world of wood. Born from the idea of couple of architects who were in search of a radical change in their lives, this Trieste-based wood-paradise is the ideal place to find the perfect cutting board within an unlimited range of different suggestions. Beautiful objects made of oak wood, walnut wood, cherry wood and many other wood types – including the possibility to realize stunning, bespoke pieces of furniture. Standing wide-eyed in this wood shop, it won’t be easy not to feel ravished by the beautiful outlines of so many different objects, stemmed from old traditional techniques and spectacularly illuminated by industrial style lamps (vud-design.com).

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In via Diaz, again, it is possible to visit another unique place. Not just a vintage store, nor a common workshop, either, but a real opportunity of redemption for any object. Katastrofa is, in fact, an oasis specifically dedicated to the second life of things. A place where old typewriters, wooden toys, gramophones and used furniture are reconsidered and transformed into something completely new, by mixing unusual decorations such as romantic-flowery accents, punk-rock-baroque touches and other extravagant stylistic combinations (katastrofa.it).


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Crossing the threshold of Combiné is another Trieste must. Set a few steps away from the Museo Sveviano, in piazza Barbacan, and created by a jewelry designer and a photographer, it is an entirely women-run atelier. The place - workshop, photography studio and gallery at the same time – currently exhibits and sells creations by the two owners, in perfect keeping with their respective personalities. Besides cozy settings and elegant ambiences, the gallery features collections of contemporary jewelry made of unusual materials, as well as characterful portraits and the fruits of standing collaborations with artists and designers (www.combinetrieste.com).


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