Since 1719 a freeport for the Hapsburg Empire on the Mediterranean, Trieste’s wharves have been the landing point for millions of sacks of coffee bound for Mitteleuropa’s most famous cafés. Trieste still maintains a strong, deep-rooted coffee-inspired culture built on work, business, research and “taste”, and to this day remains a point of reference on the international panorama.
From 22 July to 8 November, the Salone degli Incanti plays host to the “Il gusto di una città – Trieste capitale del caffè” exhibition [The Taste of a City – Trieste, Capital of Coffee]. Open to the public free of charge, the exhibition tells the complex, multi-national and multicultural story of coffee and the role the city of Trieste has played over the centuries in making and selling coffee.
The exhibition consists of large prints of work by pre-eminent photographer Sebastiao Salgado as part of a twelve-year project for illy spanning ten different countries. The exhibition is enriched by four
multimedia booths, dedicated respectively to Salgado’s photographs, coffee locations in Trieste, the Trieste Coffee Exhibit, and an exhibition in the community conceived by the Trieste Coffee Cluster that “links” coffee locations in Trieste and uses oculus rift technology for virtual visits to the Coffee Cluster in Milan.
“Il gusto di una città – Trieste capitale del caffè” conjures up the atmospheres of historic locations important in establishing Mitteleuropean Trieste in the collective imagination: the haunts of writers, artists and thinkers, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries, when coffee was elevated to the position of the official beverage of culture. Trieste’s experience was repeated in Vienna, Prague and Budapest, the other Mitteleuropean capitals of coffee. Mega-screens on the Salone walls show very rare historical photos of these cities and their literary cafes from archives at the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, the City Museum of Prague, and the Trieste Fototeca at the Civici Musei di Storia ed Arte.