Recently, Mrs. Guru and I stayed at the Villa Bottacin in Trieste and it was one of the more pleasurable hotel experiences I’ve enjoyed in more than 25 years of spanning the globe in my travel writing career.
Set on a steep hill amid mature trees and lush, colorful gardens, the 17-room villa combines an opulent setting with a slew of modern day amenities such as an outdoor heated swimming pool, complimentary Wifi, satellite television and kitchen facilities in 15 of the units.
While you feel somewhat isolated and buffered by the many trees encircling the villa, you’re actually just a short walk down a steep, narrow cobblestone street to Via Giulia, one of Trieste’s busiest main thoroughfares. At the bottom of the street on Via Giulia is a major mall with a huge grocery store, where you can buy all of the Limoncello, Frizzante and Prosciutto you’ll need to enjoy your stay.
Trieste is a mini San Francisco of sorts with homes and apartments perched on hills surrounding the city center, a cable car and spectacular ocean panoramas. Cruise ships also utilize the deep water port as a stop on the way to Slovenia and Greece.
Villa Bottacin History
Built in 1854 and designed by Swiss architect G. Bernardi, the villa was home to Nicolo Bottacin, a highly respected botanist, who socialized with the Trieste cultural elite. One of his friend’s was the Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg, who lived in Miramare Castle and would often visit the villa.The magnificent villa was meticulously restored in 2004 and converted into a boutique luxury hotel. A casual perusal of the villa and grounds reveals the renovation team did a marvelous job of enhancing the property with the correct color schemes and attention to detail with a clock on the tower, red tile roof and spacious terrace.
Special attention was also paid to enhancing the garden and property grounds, which contribute greatly to the overall opulent ambiance and exclusivity of the Villa Bottacin.
We stayed in a studio room which was small by American standards but very comfortable with modern conveniences like a kitchenette with a small refrigerator and 2-burner stove and bathroom with a shower and hair dryer.
There are also larger rooms available and only two of the units don’t have kitchen facilities.
Our room featured a high ceiling, two large windows with shutters, wood floors, a large closet, small television and a comfortable bed with white sheets. The room charge was a great bargain at $110 a night. Villa Bottacin also offers discounted rates for a week or longer stays.
Villa Bottacin is located at Vicolo dei Roveri, 16. To contact them, you can phone 39-040-350529, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or click on their website www.villabottacin.com
10 Little Things I Like About the Villa Bottacin
1. The wood floors, crisp white sheets and over-the-top cleanliness in our room.
2. The outdoor swimming pool, which we enjoyed every day after we returned from sightseeing, dining and shopping.
3. Large windows with shutters that we opened at night to gaze at the stars above Trieste.
4. No traffic noise even though you’re located less than a minute walk from one of Trieste’s most traveled streets.
5. A friendly, multi-lingual staff.
6. The large terrace with comfortable, elegant patio furniture where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings and where you can have breakfast during the summer months.
7. The espresso pot provided in our kitchen, which allowed us to enjoy espresso each morning as we planned our day.
8. The excellent Wifi service–absolutely the best I’ve had in Europe recently.
9. The wonderful view of the Trieste hills and Trieste University from our room.
10. The small table and chairs in our kitchen where we drank Frizzante, and enjoyed Bel Paese, Fontina and Parmesan cheese each night.
Things to See and Do in Trieste
Villa Opicina–A charming village in the hills above Trieste accessible by cable car, bus or taxi. It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Trieste. A couple of exceptional places to dine are Bar Trattoria Max (try the veal Milanese and calamari on Friday fish day) and Trattoria Costilina Veto (best pizza in Europe, in my opinion).
Muggia–-A small coastal village accessible by boat (a 30-minute ride) that has a nice group of restaurants specializing in seafood. If you like calamari and fried sardines prepared to perfection, try Osteria Al Corridoio.
Castle Miramare–Stunning white castle built from 1856 to 1860 that sits on a promontory overlooking the sea. It was constructed for Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximillian and his wife, Charlotte.
Barcola Beach–A rocky beach with a long, wide sidewalk for strolling that’s just a few miles from the city center and easily accessible by bus or boat.
Castle San Giusto–Set on a hill above the city center, this fortress built between 1470 and 1630 has a museum, open-air theater and offers spectacular views of the city, harbor and hills in the distance.
Viale XX Settembre–A popular, walkable and shady promenade lined with outdoor cafes, fast order restaurants and gelato stores.
Piazza Unita d’Italia–A spacious square overlooking the ocean that serves as the main gathering area for Triestinos.
Shopping on Corso Italia–Main shopping area for clothing and gifts where major department stores, Coin and Upim, are located.
Forst Birreria–A restaurant near the Trieste to Opicina cable car stop that features fresh draft beer and huge platters of wienerschnitzel and bratwurst.
To Get There
The most convenient way to visit Trieste (at least for Americans) is by flying into Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport, which is a one and one-half hour train ride or car drive from the city center. Trieste is situated in the far northeastern corner of Italy near the Slovenian border.