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22nd Battalion 2NZEF
"Vrai et Fort"
DAY 5 Wednesday 25 May 2005
Trieste - the statue of Elisabetta
Beside the hotel and near the central railway station was a small park that held a statue. It is in memory of the consort of Francesco Giuseppe of Austria, this was built soon after her death in 1898. In 1907, the council decided to put this in the garden near the central railway station, and it was planned by the Viennese sculptor Franz Seifert. The work was opened five years later in December 1912. The monument consists of a bronze statue of the Empress and two marble figures depicting the homage of the people to the sovereign and an allegory of nature. Taken away in 1921, it was returned to the same square in October 1997.
You can read more about Elisabetta and the history of Trieste here...
Trieste - the Waterfront
Breakfast at 0730 was the usual selection of breads, meat and cheeses, cereals, bacon eggs and sausages. Toast was hard to come by. Coffee was plentiful but boiling water for tea was scarce. The fine warm morning prompted us to walk along the waterfront looking at the deep blue Adriatic, the boats and the buildings.
On the waterfront is a set of bronze statues, one of the liberating army, the other of women sewing and reading the newspaper. (The paper is titled "I Bersaglieri").
Later in the day I returned to the waterfront and walked out to the end of the wharf to photograph Trieste from the water.
Close to jetty from which I took the photos is the Canal Grande, a tidal river that flows through the city. These two views look along the canal.
Beside one of the bridges crossing the canal is a life-size bronze of James Joyce - the Irish author who spent much of his life in Trieste. (More info on James Joyce; and a a view by a literary traveller here; and a useful biography here with photos by the same write/artist.
Trieste - the Mayoral Reception
Today was the mayoral reception - the focal point of our return to Trieste. We arrived at 1000 and walked across the piazza to the Sala Ridotto del Teatro Verdi to avoid the roadworks that blocked most of the main road. The ceremony (speeches) started at 1115 and concluded at 1215. It was a wonderful opportunity for the people of Trieste to acknowledge their debt to the New Zealand forces, and many local citizens, young and old, came to the ceremony. At its conclusion the City acknowledged each veteran and gave them a commemorative booklet about the city. The event was widely reported in the media, including the local newspapers.
Afternoon in the Piazza
From the ceremony our group retired to the Caffe degli Specchi on the side of the Piazza Unita d'Italia. Again this gave the citizens of Trieste the opportunity to meet the veterans and to reminisce about events 60 years ago.
Dinner at the Hotel Savoia Excelsior Riva del Mandracchio
Again we were the guests of the British Consulate and the British Veterans Affairs, this time at a formal dinner at the Excelsior. Pre-dinner drinks at 1900 enabled our party to meet our hosts and other guests, then we all took our seats in the large dining room at 2030 for the formal dinner. The seating invitation and the menu are reproduced below.
Speakers following the dinner talked about the importance of securing Trieste for Italy. General Basile (Italian Army, retired) reiterated this sentiment, going on to tell us that he was particularly pleased that the New Zealanders had arrived - he had first-hand knowledge as he was present on the day Haddon Donald drove into town. Most people looked closer at him and thought "You are much too young.......").
"You do not believe me?" he asked - "well here is the photo to prove it", and he proudly uncovered a large, framed photo of himself as a 3 year-old, sitting on his father's shoulders in the middle of Trieste taken 3 days after liberation.
Last updated: 04/12/2016