The city of Trieste in the north of Italy, home to coffee makers Illy and daily newspaper Il Piccolo is where I am spending my year abroad. “Where?” You ask. That was my reaction exactly when I found out my placement.
Although Trieste is not as world famous as Rome, Milan or Florence, it is often described as a hidden gem. It is the perfect city for a student in my opinion: big enough for a vibrant nightlife, international and local shops and a large Erasmus Student Network at the University. Yet not so big that it lacks a community feel, which is important when moving to a new country.
Another of Trieste’s claims to fame is the annual Barcolana, this year held on Sunday 11th October 2015 and found to be Europe’s biggest regatta in 2002 with 1968 boats racing on the Gulf of Trieste. The boats are of all sizes and can be raced by professional and amateur sailors.
It is Triestine tradition to spend the big day in local farms up in the mountains, know as “osmize”. The atmosphere was magical at the osmiza as we sat outside with picture perfect views of the Gulf and tasted typical delicacies of the farm.
This was my best experience of Trieste so far, not just because of the food and wine but because I was able to feel a part of the local culture. I shared the day with students from all over the world, speaking as many languages as I could manage. Once the race actually began at 10.30am the atmosphere was electric and I realised what a big part of Triestine culture the Barcolana is. For me, this sums up what the year abroad is about; experiencing different cultures and submerging yourself into a culture nothing like you have experienced before.