Zero waste travel: Trieste
On the train to Trieste, it’s possible to get a preview of what’s in store for you once there. A beautiful view of the sea and mountains all around. Trieste is perched right on the water, with a huge open piazza open right to the sea. It’s so close to the border with Slovenia that most signs are written in multiple languages.
While Trieste was never recommended to me by other travelers, it was recommended to me by Italians. I was told by one local that tourism has really increased just over the past years and another told me that it has the highest ratio of scooters to residents in Italy, although I can’t confirm that for you.
So if you’re in for some quiet beauty and some great coffee, check out Trieste, and keep your waste low with the following tips:
Traveling between cities in Italy is very easy with trains. As always, I’m going to recommend you try the Trenitalia app for your train tickets. You can purchase tickets and view train schedules from the app and then show the ticket on your phone instead of printing on paper at home or in the station. That is, if your ticket gets checked (it doesn’t always happen). I used my phone for my train to and from Trieste.
It doesn’t look like Trieste has any kind of city pass, but there’s not a huge need for one anyway considering how small the city is. Looking around at the museums and attractions, e-tickets don’t seem to be an option either. On the bright side, being such a small city, if you’re trying to get in anywhere, you probably won’t be waiting long anyway. Do your best and recycle the paper ticket.
Fontanelle are public drinking fountains. Some of them drip/spout water constantly and others are turned on and off with a faucet, but they’re all perfect for refilling water bottles. Skip the local custom here of bottled water and refill your own! Trieste had plenty. It’s always a good sign when you come across fountains more quickly than you can drink your water, and that’s what I experience in Trieste.
This store is a little taste of ‘una volta’, or the old days. The owner proudly told me it had been a pharmacy since it opened and everything was original, from the glass to the wooden floors. Besides being simply enchanting to see, this store had plenty of zero waste options (not for medicine). Hanging from the ceiling were natural sea sponges and all around the walls were shelves full of old bottles, still labeled with what they once held. There is a bulk section behind the counter with teas, candy, and spices. There was a counter covered in package free bar soaps and natural wooden brushed hanging from all around.
Coming up on almost three months in Italy, the soap situation has been getting dire so I picked up a (lovely) scented bar of rose soap and some candy (because, duh, candy). They had no issue putting it in my cloth bag either. If you’re in Trieste, you have to stop by (even if it is just for some candy).
Trieste is tiny. There are, however, things to see outside of the city that you might need the bus to get to, such as Miramare Castle. Individual tickets are only 1,25 euro and a day pass for the bus is 4,35 euro. As usual, bus tickets can be bought at some bars and in most tabacs. Important to note: you can’t buy tickets on the bus in Trieste.
Qui vintage e non solo
One of two secondhand stores I visited in Trieste, this store wasn’t quite my style. That being said, this store had two stories and both men’s and women’s clothes. It was a mix of true vintage and some 80s/90s/00s styles. The best part for me was the selection of secondhand leather jackets at great prices! Not everyone is cool with wearing leather, I know, but there were also plenty of other shoes and clothes to look over.
This store was a breath of fresh air after being in Italy for this long. Vintage is used pretty loosely here when it comes to clothes, so you don’t always know what to expect when looking at used items. This store was like a consignment store I was used to; big, with a variety of items, and everything used. There was a large section with furniture, a selection of clothes, shoes and jewelry, and a different area for home goods.
Here, I made my first purchase of a material item in over two months: sunglasses. Anyone who follows me online knows that I’ve been without sunglasses for over a month and a half. While sunglasses are a dime a dozen, buying a pair of sunglasses that goes along with the values of zero waste has been hard in the Land of No Thrift Stores, especially because I’m not a huge fan of online shopping. Cut to the chase, here I found a pair of used sunglasses, scratch free. Mercatissimo has my full recommendation.
Finally, I’ll add a not-quite-zero-waste-recommendation: Riserva Naturale della Val Rosandra. Located a bit outside of the city, this nature reserve might be the slice of nature you need in the hectic reality that is traveling. To put it in perspective, I climbed a mountain, saw a waterfall, and sat by a quiet stream long enough for the frogs and tadpoles to swim under my feet. If you’re looking for a break from the pavement, cobblestones, and crowds, take that daily bus pass you purchased to visit Castello Miramare and take the local bus 40 to Bagnoli, walk until the main street ends and the woods begins. And if all of the tabacs and bars are closed for the afternoon when you need to get your bus back and you can’t buy a bus ticket, ride the bus illegally and pretend it was in boycott of wasteful uses of paper product (me, completely comfortable and not at all scared of being caught).
Safe travels! If you’re interested in more ways to rock zero waste travel in Italy, check out the following posts: