Trieste’s love affair with coffee dates from the mid-eighteenth century, when the port was given tax-free status by Habsburg Emperor Charles VI. The resultant boom in port trade coincided with the coffee craze hitting Europe, in particular Vienna, and coffee beans destined for Austrian cafés became one of Trieste’s biggest imports. Even today it’s the leading coffee port in the Mediterranean – forty percent of Italy’s coffee arrives here – and Trieste’s denizens imbibe twice as much on average as their fellow countrymen. The city even has its own coffee terminology – if you order a cappuccino you’ll get a caffè macchiato, so instead you should ask for a caffè latte.

One of the pleasures of walking around the city centre is the exotic scent of roasting beans emanating from choice establishments, known as torrefazioni. The city’s most famous brand is Illy, founded in 1933 and producer of a world-renowned 100-percent Arabica blend. So supreme is the coffee culture in the city that Riccardo Illy, scion of the clan, has held the offices of mayor and regional president, among numerous other posts. Illy runs specialized courses in coffee appreciation at the Università del Caffè (w unicaffe.it), and the tourist office also organizes weekly coffee tours.

A word to the wise: coffee terminology in Trieste is a little different from other parts of Italy, and if you order a cappuccino you will end up with a caffè macchiato – instead you need to ask for a latte macchiato or a caffè latte.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 most beautiful places in Italy – as voted by you

The 10 most beautiful places in Italy – as voted by you

Is there anywhere in the world as easy on the eye as Italy? From art-filled cities to heart-stopping coastlines and gorgeous landscapes, you could criss-cross …

26 Apr 2017 • Natasha Foges camera_alt Gallery
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month