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2019 Trieste Blog

This year our educational travel group will be in Trieste, a stunning city, located in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.  As with our previous educational trips, students enjoy learning Italian in the morning and traveling to the nearby towns and attractions in the afternoon.  A two-week itinerary has been planned which will take the group through Saturday, October 5, when they return to the US. 

We asked our students to contribute a few thoughts and reflections of their daily experiences. They will be posted here along with a selection of photos.  Follow along as they recount their adventures, inside and outside the classroom.

Pre-Travel Adventures!

Prior to any educational trip, participants gather together for a variety of activities.  2019 has been no exception.  Early on, in March of 2019, group members met for dinner at Arezzo Ristorante, in Edina.

Then, in early April of 2019, Gruppo Trieste participants were introduced to Trieste, and the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia via the father of ICC staff member, Tiziana Cervesato.  He generously agreed to share his knowledge and experience of the area with our latest educational travel group.

Each year, the Italian school selected sends us a list of books and films which were written by regional authors or created in our region of choice.  In 2019, group members read "Va'dove ti porta il cuore" (Follow Your Heart) written by Trieste native, Suzanna Tamaro.  Fortunately, a film based on the book (Follow Your Heart) was produced.  In mid-May 2019, the group met to view the film and discuss the text.  



And of course, all of our groups enjoy becoming familiar with the cuisine of the Italian region we will visit.  This year was no exception, and ICC instructor, Romina Montanari, assisted us once again!  In mid-June of 2019,  group members created Cialzon, a pasta native to the Friuli region.  This pasta was quite different than anything we have attempted before, and the filling contained spinach, raisins, cinnamon, and chocolate!  Everyone is looking forward to searching for Cialzon on menus during our trip!



The Adventure Begins!

Many of the educational travel participants extend their trips, and this year group members were transported from Venice and Ljubljana to Trieste on Saturday, September 21st!  We kicked things off with a wonderful group dinner at "The Pier", a local restaurant located on the end of a pier jutting out into the sea.  It was a lovely way to begin our time together, and the meal and service were wonderful.


Sunday morning our Trieste group began the day with the breakfast. We then met at Piazza Unità d’ Italia for a city tour featuring three famous literary figures.  They included James Joyce, Italo Svevo, and Umberto Saba.  There are bronze statues of each figure throughout the city.  James Joyce  lived in 14 apartments.  He wrote Ulysses in one and his son George was born in another. Italo Svevo was a friend of Joyce, and was a writer and businessman. One of his novels was Zeno’s Conscience.  Umberto Saba was a poet and bookstore owner.  The Libreria Antiqueria  bookstore of Umbrerto Saba is still in business I n Trieste.  In the afternoon our class gathered for a written and oral  test in Italian.  Afterwards we had a Brindisi welcome reception and learned the word for a toast in Trieste VIVA!




A bit of a drizzle as we made our way to colazione at Etrusco, our daily breakfast ristorante. From there, with umbrellas in hand, we made our way to Piccola Universita Italiana only a couple of blocks from Residence del Mare, our hotel. At school, we finished our orientation and went to our first classes. A little chaotic, but we were assured that everything would be worked out for tomorrow.  It was.

After school the rain had picked up as we found a place for lunch. No let up, the streets were flooding. No fear it let up in time for dinner.

Piccola Universita hosted all  students, including gruppo ICC, at ristorante Al Fiori. We feasted on either menu pesce or menu carne.  We were joined by School Director/Owner Simone Rainer, husband Antonio and Sophie there beautiful daughter. The big surprise was a celebration of group members' Margie and Mark Sborov's 50th wedding aniversary.




Ai nostri nuovi amici,

Margie ed io ringraziarvi mille!!!

Attachments area


The afternoon at Miramare 

Our group had a wonderful visit  to Maximillian and Carlotta Augsburg Palace/ Castle Miramare in Trieste- it was a lovely sunny afternoon, and the place, the history behind it and the visual esthetic pleasure of the Palace and the gardens, which we walked up and down the hill woke up my senses and brought me to the epoch bygone.

The location of the Palace where every room had a sea view was a very special one, while being in the outskirts of the Australian- Hungarian Empire, away from Vienna, Budapest and Prague and not being in the center, the Palace filled with numerous folios in their original languages, the music and the arts and the naval passions of the owners contributed to the feeling of not being in the province as many distinguished guests visited the Palace and were treated like they were in Vienna, or London, or Paris. The colors determined the rooms being either for private use ( blue) or for state and official visits ( red ).

The gardens were built on the rocks with all the soil being brought from Austria, so many different and non native plants and trees and bushes could grow- and it was interesting to learn that Maximillian, like Sun, king Louis the XIV, was an avid horticulturalist and contributed to the beauty of the place.

We also learned about the US Army Headquarters in the COSTELLO till the fate of Friuli- Giulia - Venezia was finally decided by the world leaders after the WW2- it became part of Italia.

Our group was very impressed, asked our knowledgeable guide lots of questions - Rafaela conducted the tour in Italian, and then translated it into English, for all to not lose an important information, for which we were grateful for, and left for our Trieste Residence Del Mare very happy!

It was a very good and well rounded visit.

Grazie Tutti!



Mike B:

Tanti saluti ai nostri amici ancora in America.  

Here are a few impressions I have of Trieste.

Our hotel, Residence del Mar, is extremely central.  We are maybe 2 city blocks from the main piazza, Piazza Unita.  Hence things here are very active.  There are many restaurants and we're still able to eat outside as temps have been in the 70's.  The Triestini really have cafe society down, and they are frequently crowded.  In addition, on the weekends there have been many street performers.  And all quite proficient.  All in all I find Trieste quite entertaining.

Trieste was an integral part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire for many years. Before coming to Trieste I went up farther North to Bolzano in Alto Adige, which also was part of Austro-Hungary.  There is an interesting difference I've noticed.  Bolzano has one foot in Austria, and one foot in Italy.  It is completely bi-lingual.  The local German dialect is almost the first language there, and you are likely to be greeted with a 'bitte' rather than a 'prego' by a waiter.  Germanic food is prevalent.  All signs are in both German and Italian.

Meanwhile Trieste, only a few miles from Slovenia, is clearly Italy.  The only language I've heard is Italian, and I've seen only occaisional references to Slovene food.  Up on the hill ridge above town, called the the Karst, there are bilingual signs with Slovene and Italian.

Trieste being in the northest corner of the Adriatic has plently of seafood on offer.  We ate at Eataly Friday night, and they had a special on sea bass caught that morning.  As you can see from the before and after pictures Bruce made short order of one.

Go Twins.



We are enjoying our time in Trieste, Italy, and we especially love having our breakfast every morning at L’Etrusco Restaurant. The friendly and very creative owners/chefs are Caterina & Alberto Sabatino a husband and wife team who have owned the restaurant for the past 6 years. The food is delicious and the place is extremely charming. The owners bend over backwards to accommodate us. When we the take the educational adventure every year we normally have a simple breakfast in the hotel.

This years hotel in Trieste does not have breakfast available.  Arrangements were made for us to walk the one block from our hotel to L’ Etrusco....they open at 7:30am, which allows us to get to school by 9:00 am. Here is just a shortened version of what they offer: Bacon, scrabbled eggs, cereal, oatmeal, orange juice, pineapple juice, fresh pane, fresh figs, espresso, coffee, cappuccino, amazing pastries, pies, and I know I am leaving out more food!  Last week I decided I wanted to have lunch there so I ordered the chicken for 9.90 euros and got a whole breast of chicken that was sautéed with lemon, & I am not sure what else was used on the chicken, fried potatoes, salad, 2 cherry tomatoes, non gas water, glass of wine, fresh bread & coffee! It was amazing. I am going to miss this place when we leave Trieste not just for the delicious food but also for the charming, gracious couple who own this wonderful restaurant.



We are starting our second week of classes in Trieste at the  Piccola Università Italiana.  The first week was a busy week for all of us.  First we had to take a written exam then an oral interview to determine which level would be best for each of us.  Based on these two, we were placed into the appropriate class.  Classes are every weekday from 9 A.M. until 1 P.M. with a twenty minute break. Because of administrative duties at the school, our first day was from 2 P.M. until 6 P.M.The lessons are divided into two sessions, grammar and conversation.  The conversation portion puts the grammatical lessons into a practical application.  Each session is taught by a different teacher.  The school is well organized and the staff is well-trained, very personable and accommodating to our needs.  As we finish our second week, we should be improving and expanding our skills with la bella lingua.  


Saturday, September 28th our group visited Piran, a small resort city on Slovenia's Adriatic coast.  For me, the visit was special for 2 reasons.  First, Piran is the birthplace of Giuseppe Tartini- a famous violinist and composer of the 18th century.  His home is on the main square dedicated to him and, as a violinist myself, it was meaningful to be on his beautiful home turf.

 Second... our lunch!!  Our group was treated to a four course meal including mussels in wine sauce, pasta with clam sauce, a seafood platter (quite a surprise at this point as I was already full!) and a chocolate crepe for dolce.  Vino and caffe were also included.  Looking at the ocean on a sunny afternoon, eating and drinking lovely food and wine, imagining Tartini playing  his "Devil's Trill"...What could be better?



Tuesday evening I had the good fortune of visiting the Rotary club of Trieste. Actually there are 3 clubs in Trieste but I was lucky that one club, Trieste di Nord was a 5 minute walk from our apartments. They met from 8:30 to 10:30 pm which included a presentation and a dinner.  I was able to exchange club flags with them which is a tradition when visiting clubs out of the country.  They have 93 members and 9 are women. Fortunately I met and sat with their first ever female President (from last year), who works in the department of Human Resources for the district of Friuli-Venezia. She spoke English well but “Io ho parlato con loro abbastanza bene!”

The presentation was on Gamma Ray Bursts which I only know because it was on the PowerPoint.  No use in pretending that I understood much but the group was warm and welcoming!  

Our good friend and escort Mike Hansen, Peggy’s husband, was kind enough to meet me at the end of the meeting and walk me home. Seems safe here but it was 10:30!



I wanted to share a few pictures from my unexpected moments in Trieste. Around every corner one finds a tiny pastry shop, a busy caffe, an enticing boutique, many small restaurants and even an unexpected band playing Star Wars! Mark and I have walked miles around Trieste and our favorite spot is the walk along the sea. From one of the main piers, you can look back at the beautiful scenery of water, Austrian influenced buildings and people walking hand in hand. One night we sat on the pier and watched the “Trieste sunset” called the Tramundo”. As you can see, a site to behold! 


We will always cherish our many memories here and of course our “gruppo” that we shared it all with!

Grazie mille!


The past two weeks in Italy have been wonderful. Trieste and the surrounding areas have a fascinating history. Over the centuries, Trieste has been independent, as well as part of Venice, the Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and France - when conquered by Napoleon's army. 

Last Sunday we spent the day in a town called Udine. There we saw the carabinieri dressed in their finest. It reminded me of Maresciallo Cecchini from the Italian television series, Don Matteo. There are some canals in Udine, and many streets that do not allow cars, so bicycles are a popular mode of transportation. But the most beautiful sight was the Cathedral of the Annunciation of St Mary.


From Udine we went to Castello di Spessa. It is a winery & golf course, and wedding destination, with an award winning restaurant. The chef gave us a cooking demonstration followed by a 3-course tasting. Italian cooks use the freshest ingredients. Zucchini is in season so we began with stuffed zucchini flowers, then puffed gnocchi with zucchini and sage, and finally, breast of guinea fowl on shaved zucchini, carrots and fennel seasoned with marjoram. One lesson learned: by cooking the various ingredients separately before combining them, the individual flavors can be tasted. The dinner was sensational. 




Our time in Trieste is coming to an end. Others in our group have talked about the school, the city, our excursions, the food, etc. Looking back at all the experiences I had, I decided to write about a personal interaction with the gentleman at the fruit store and the Italian concept of people and time.

I stopped at the shop after class one day. The NON TOCCARE signs made it clear that I shouldn’t gather my purchases and bring them into the store. So I waited for much longer than any American is accustomed to waiting. Finally the man came out to assist me. I was ready to order — in Italian. I wanted un’arancia, due pesche and tre pere. Simple and correct — or so I thought.  Apparently the man thought I needed help with how I pronounced the final “e” in pesche and had me repeat it several times until he was satisfied. That, of course, led to a conversation about where I was from, why I was in Trieste, etc. And that took more time than the simple transaction required. It also  opened a window of understanding for me of why the Italians seem so warm. In Italy people are important and, if it takes a little more time to chat, that’s ok. 






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