Trieste: the city of Saba, Svevo and Joyce
A walk around the center of the marvellous Trieste is also the occasion to breathe the atmosphere that inspired some of the major Italian and European writers. The maze of narrow streets around the impressive Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia (Placemark di Google Earth) enter the heart of the old city, always teeming with life and taverns, and for this reason deeply loved by Umberto Saba and James Joyce who often told about it in their works. In the near Piazza Hortis, and, in particular, in the large and rich Biblioteca Civica, there is a permanent exhibition, the Museo Sveviano, where, apart from ad some of his nice
protrait, there are papers, letters and many essays by Ettore Schmitz, alias Italo Svevo, a wonderful chance to deepen the knowledge if this great Triestine writer born on 19 Decembre 1894 in the central via dell’Acquedotto. In via Risorgo, near the square and immediately after the impressive and well-preserved Roman Theatre, there is the house where, on 9 March 1883, Umberto Saba was born. Along these streets and in the near famous Corso
Italia Svevo every day walked to get to the office where he worked for several years, probably passing also in via Santa Caterina, where, at the number 1, James Joyce lived with his family. Following the same road ahead, you will cross via Rossetti where there is a large plaque which reminds Umberto Saba’s verse, the great writer who, during his long walks, loved to rest at the Public Garden, a small peaceful oasis that was described also by
Svevo in “Senilità”; in this small garden you will now admire the marble busts of the most illustrious personalities born in Trieste or who spent in this city part of their life, include the three aforementioned authors. After leaving the gardens behind, via Battisti leads back to the frantic life of Piazza Ponte Rosso, the market place described also by Saba who, in the near via San Nicolò, run a small Antiquarian Bookshop that is still open and working. A few meters ahead there is the Berlitz School, the institute where Joyce worked for several years as a teacher of English, getting in touch with the most prominent Triestine authorities. It’s due to this appointment that Joyce met Svevo, with whom the British author shared a deep and long friendhsip strengthen by the common passion for literature. At the end of the street there is an historical Triestine cafè
, the Caffè Tommaseo, celebrated by Saba with the name “Caffè dei Negozianti” (Shopkeepers’ Cafè), very close to Piazza Verdi, and its homonymous Theatre. This building was often the subject of the stories told by the main Triestine writers and is in front of palazzo Tergesteo, the symbol of the urban bourgeoisie, where Svevo worked for several years. All these streets, crossino, and squares inspired the great artists of the past but if if you walk around them, I am sure you will feel and breathe the same culture, dynamism and life: try that !