Saturday, February 28, 2009

Veiled statue

This statue is lying on the fontana dei quattro continenti in Piazza Unità.

It is an allegory of the River Nile, pouring water from a pitcher into the shell below, but why is it veiled?
The source of the Nile were unknown for a long time, indeed even the Emperor Nero sent two centurions in search of the headwaters, but they were bogged down in the swampy marshes and got no further, but it was only finally discovered at the end of the 19th century.
This explains why the male figure representing the river was sculpted with its face obscured by drapery, as mysterious as the source of the river. There is another famous veiled statue, in Piazza Navona in Rome, in the fountain of the four rivers.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday post

Cityscape in black and white from the old port.

See more Skywatch here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Allegoria del progresso

We are in Piazza Unità again, looking up at a detail of Palazzo Stratti by Antonio Buttazzoni (1839), which hosts the Caffé degli Specchi ("Café of the mirrors") on the ground floor.

At the top of this palace lies a sculptural group by Luigi Zandomeneghi representing an allegory of Trieste's progress.

Thanks to the zoom lens, this is the first time that I have been able to spot the objects that lie near the female figure: a locomotive, a cog, pliers, an anvil, and on the far left, an owl.

I was puzzled by the presence of the owl, but a quick search on wikipedia cleared up any doubts I had about the link between the bird of prey and progress: "In Greek mythology, the owl, and specifically the Little Owl, was often associated with the goddess Athena, a bird goddess who became associated with wisdom, the arts, and skills, and as a result, owls also became associated with wisdom."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ospedale Infantile Burlo Garofolo

And here it is, the place where minors can come to sober up (see yesterday's post).

Joking apart, the children's hospital
, established in 1856 to ensure medical care to poor children, now carries out biomedical research in various areas including mother child health, epidemiology prevention and quality of care, pediatric neurosciences, chronic diseases with onset in pediatric age, pediatric surgery and rehabilitation, and in neonatology. And it is, of course, also the place where nearly all Triestines come into this world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Carnival owl

A newspaper billboard is called in italian "civetta", which is literally little owl, but also means coquette, flirt or tease. So these devices are commonly referred to as "civette" because their purpose is to entice the passer-by into buying the actual paper (quote from Livorno Daily Photo, thanks Vogon Poet and Trillian).

Trieste is buzzing with the carnival and today is the grand finale with a lot of partying and major drinking binges. A few, however, obviously decided to get a head start and begin the fun on Sunday; and here is yesterday's "civetta" of our local newspaper, Il Piccolo, with the scandalous news "Alcoholic night. Ten minors (girls) admitted to the Burlo" (the children's hospital).

The Latin saying semel in anno licet insanire (
once a year it is acceptable to be mad) must apply to minors too, don't you think?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Odd shot on Monday

I graduated from this university fifteen years ago, but when I saw this yellow 'university canteen' sign almost perched on top of the rubbish bins, it seemed rather apt and brought back some pretty unpleasant memories - I do hope the quality of the food has improved in the meantime.

Click on over to Katney's Kaboodle
to the rest of the Oddshots from around the planet.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Palazzo Gopcevich

Palazzo Gopcevich, situated in Via Rossini 4, was commissioned by Spiridione Gopcevich in 1850, to the design of architect Giovanni Berlam, and subsequently purchased by the Municipality of Trieste and converted into a museum venue. It is certainly one of the most beautiful and famous buildings in the city.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I 9 savi (9 wise)
Acrylic on wooden board.
cm 160 x cm 120

I dedicate today's post to my dear friend Guido Zamattio (aka GuZama) whose solo exhibition is opening today at Teatro Miela in Trieste, and runs till March 7.

Here are a few words from GuZama himself (quoted from his profile on deviantART):

Hi to everybody!
This saturday, 21 of february at 7:30 pm in the bar space of Miela Theatre there will be the vernissage of my personal exhibition with the title of "COMMEDIA" (commedy, meaning the classical sense of the term).
There will be new and older paintings: a kind of anthology of all the work of 10 years playing with these hybrid creatures of soul, body and electric technology. At the opening there will be as special guest the "POP-TOXIQUE" ensamble dj set.
Wellcome people in carnival dresses!

Good luck Guido!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Skywatch Friday post

cityscape in red and blue.

See more Skywatch here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I ♥ Topolini

I "Topolini" are the most famous bathing facility in Trieste.

They are called "Topolini" (little mice) for their semicircular shape that looks like the ears of Mickey Mouse. There are ten Topolini and each has bathers of a certain age group: the first ones are for old people and families, the ones further along are for adolescents: obviously the first are very quiet while the others host a rather rowdy lot.

During the summer, the Topolini are literally under siege from thousands of people of all age groups. Finding a space for your towel can be a hard job if you don't arrive early and even walking about can be difficult because the place is packed with families or large groups of students.

Of course it is free to use and there are no limited hours of opening.

In the photo: a few steps of the little winding staircase leading to the sea.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Julius Kugy

"And thus you, the long sought and passionately desired miraculous flower of my heart, will rise some time from the dreams of my yearning, from the strength of my trust, from the mysterious gloom of your origin, of your blossoming and vanishing, and you will come and join me in the late evening of my life. Silent and modest, soft and smooth is your sunny figure, your tiny calix has a silvery gleam, the shining white garment of petals is embroidered with golden anthers, you are immersed in a transparent mist of far-off longing, encircled with an aureole of poetry, myth and romance. It will be in this form that you, the little princess from fairy land, will be looking at me from your new castle high above the foaming young Soca. In your heavenly reality. Scabiosa Trenta! Never did my belief in you die, though you seemed to be beyond my reach. And though you were far away, I have never been unfaithful to you. I have been on the lookout for you all my life, anxiously listening to any news about you. I have been repaid for my love by the great, beautiful, good, eternal mountain."

Born in 1858 into a prosperous family, Julius Kugy lived in Trieste and had many passions, botany, writing books and discovering and climbing mountains. At a very young age, he became interested in botany, and in the flora of Karst in particular. During his studies, he met a well-known botanist Muzio Tommasini who brought the unsolved enigma of a flower named Scabiosa trenta (the Scabious of Trenta) to the attention of young Kugy.

He systematically visited (walked, climbed) practically the whole of the Julian Alps, aided by the local guides, most of them wild hunters. He was very careful about selecting these, and although they were already masters on their own terrain, he gradually made them first class climbing guides.

Although he knew the approximate location where the Scabiosa Trenta was first spotted, he walked around with different guides for months and years without finding it. On the other hand, he did find the beauty of the Julian Alps, which he described in his unsurpassed books about the Julian Alps.

If you now walk or climb in the Julian Alps, you will probably be following in Julius Kugy's footsteps.

During the First World War, Kugy was moved to the army because he knew the area very well but he did not carry a weapon. He only worked as an adviser on the Austrian side of the front. In his middle age he started writing, which soon became his other passion. He wrote seven books. Six of them describe the Julian Alps. His style of writing shows how he loved mountains. His first and most famous book was published in 1925 under the title Aus dem Leben eines Bergsteigers (From the Life of an Alpine-Climber).

He died at 85 in Trieste.

His statue stands in the "Muzio de Tommasini" public garden.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


If you enlarge the photo you can see them. One is in the centre, one slightly to the right.

Rock climbing in Trieste goes back a long way: generations of climbers have sped out to the nearby hills immediately after work to enjoy the limestone delights of Napoleonica, Val Rosandra and Costiera.
What you see here is a small section of the Napoleonica, a famous crag near Trieste; perched on a hill overlooking the city and its bay.

If you are interested in climbing in Trieste, this book is what you need: Climbing without Frontiers Rock Climbing Guidebook covering Slovenia, Trieste & Istria

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stazione marittima

A detail of the pediment adorning the maritime station, once a passenger terminal and now a congress centre. The pediment is embellished by a central clock, with two bas reliefs along the sides, one of a male figure, the other female, both sculpted by Franco Asco in circa 1930.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy SAD !

After the sentimental Valentine's day, comes Singles Awareness Day, when single people gather to celebrate or to commiserate in their single status.
Some want to remind romantic couples that they don't need to be in a relationship to celebrate life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

Friday, February 13, 2009

Skywatch Friday post

There was a beautiful sunset yesterday but unfortunately I was driving home from work along the motorway. I pulled over to see what I could do to catch the atmosphere of the moment. Everything around me was really ugly so I decided to concentrate on the colours and forget the rest.

See more Skywatch here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Scala dei Giganti (2)

Another section of the staircase leading up to the Colle di San Giusto. The first photo is here

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A sunny day in Barcola

Still too cold to sit down and enjoy the sun but spring is on its way, or at least I'd like to believe it is today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The snake

A little tiny section of the "Great Triestine Road Network".

Monday, February 9, 2009

San Giovanni di Duino

San Giovanni di Duino is a small village near the Timavo source, situated on the crossroads of the national roads for Trieste-Monfalcone and Gorizia/Nova Gorica.
In Roman times, San Giovanni di Duino was famous (Station Fontis Timavi), as the Lacus Timavi port was nearby and from here roads ran towards Goriška, past the Karst towards Vipava, to Trieste, Istria and Dalmatia and to Aquileia, Friulia (Pianura del Friuli) and Venice. The Slavs settled here during the time of the Great Migrations. The Benedictines built a monastery here in the 6th century (which later became the centre of the Christianization of eastern countries). The Church of St John (San Giovanni in Tuba) was a popular centre for ancient pilgrimage. Being at the crossroads of several different routes, it was destroyed and rebuilt many times.
The port of San Giovanni di Duino was economically important until the emergence of the liberated port of Trieste at the beginning of the 18th century.
From then on, San Giovanni di Duino started to deteriorate. It was finally burnt to ashes during World War I.
After the war, new houses were built. In 1932, a new church of St. John the Baptist was built above the road.
Today, there is not a single trace that would testify to the importance of the village in the past.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Robot hand

The articulated arm of Mikeze, one of the robot statues which, together with Jakeze, chimes the hour every fifteen minutes. The arm, set in motion by the clockwork mechanism, lifts a hammer to strike the hours.

Both the robots came into service at 12 pm on 14th January 1876. In 1972, severely worn out by weather conditions and by mechanic stress, Mikeze and Jakeze were "duplicated". The two original robots were restored in 2005 and they are now on display at the entrance of the Castle of San Giusto.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Winged woman, Mikeze and Jakeze

On the left is the top part of the fountain seen on Monday, February 2: a winged female figure symbolizing Trieste’s prosperity. Standing on Karst rocks, the statue is surrounded by packages, bales of cotton and rope. It symbolizes a city welcoming traders from the world over.

On the right is the tower of the town hall of Trieste. As a distinctive feature of the town hall facade designed in 1873, the architect included in the middle of the large horizontal development a tower which stands out with its truncated pyramid roof. The tower houses the town clock and two molten zinc statues resembling pages and locally known as Micheze and Jacheze, Michele and Giacomo in Italian (probably from the Slovene Mihec and Jakec).

Friday, February 6, 2009

Skywatch Friday post

Clouds mimicking the struggle of the statues, a monument dedicated to the Triestine volunteer soldiers who died in the first World War.

See more Skywatch here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lady swimmer

The lady swimmer, a sculpture by Trieste-born Ugo Carà (1908-2004), is showing off her style in the pine grove at Barcola, the town's seafront promenade and beach.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Storm jib

An important safety aspect of sailing is to adjust the amount of sail to suit the wind conditions. As the wind speed increases the crew should progressively reduce the amount of sail (wiki).
Here's a good example of reduced sail while sailing in the Gulf with a strong Bora wind (probably 20/25 knots). No mainsail up, just a storm jib, a small sail made out of heavy cloth for use in heavy weather.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fountain of the four continents

Piazza Unità d'Italia is Trieste's main square, which opens up onto the Gulf of Trieste and is surrounded by palazzi and public offices. This rectangular-shaped square is the largest waterfront square in Europe (there are few others directly overlooking the sea, another very famous one is Trade Square in Lisbon.) It hosts numerous events, performances and concerts, and is a favourite meetingplace for Triestines.

At the centre of the Piazza is the Fontana dei Quattro Continenti (1751).
The fountain was built to represent Trieste as a city of prosperity, thanks to its establishment as a Free Port by Charles VI and Maria Theresa of Austria's policy for developing the city.

The world is represented by four allegorical statues which recall the features of the people populating the four continents known at that time (Europe, Asia, Africa and America).
In recent years, the fountain has been a victim of acts of vandalism which have damaged three of its four statues. Only Europe has been spared. The latest episode dates back to May 2008, when the statue representing Africa was decapitated and its head left lying on its body.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Theme day: paths and passages

Today the series of photos about the Risiera di San Sabba has come to an end.
If you haven't paid a visit to this blog recently and want to see the rest you can walk through the 11-metre high concrete walls arranged to form a disquieting entrance and go back in time to 27th of January, Remembrance Day.

The passage was designed by Romano Boico, the architect who, in 1966, won the competition to
convert the Risiera into a museum (opened in 1975).

The Risiera - explained Boico -
half destroyed by the fleeing Nazis, was squalid, like its surroundings. So he thought that the total squalor could rise as a symbol and itself become a monument. He decided to remove and restore rather than add. After removing the ruined buildings, he demarcated the context with high concrete walls, like those in the photo. The walled courtyard is intended as an open-air non-denominational basilica. The building where prisoners were kept was completely emptied and the load-bearing wooden structures pared down as much as seemed necessary. The seventeen cells and the death cell are unchanged.

part 1 2 3 4 5

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants