FEATURES Trieste, after Yom Kippur, a Very Special Break-Fast

sanmarcoBy Rachel Silvera

Yom Kippur is one of the most important days in Jewish life: you cannot drink or eat anything, you cannot dress leather shoes and you have to pray. This is the Day of Atonement, of Teshuvah. And when fast is over, the typical Jew all around the world has just one thought: coffee, tea, biscuits. A glass of water. A spoon of sugar. And the typical Jew native of Trieste has only one place to go: Caffè San Marco, the beautiful coffeehouse just one minute (or less) away from synagogue.

Trieste, the city of wind, writers and insurers, has a lot of myths and stories: one is the image of a long line of men and women waiting to be served outside the San Marco. They are Jews in the middle of another ritual after Kippur: the breaking of the fast.
Caffè San Marco now celebrates its first century and for this special birthday the author Stelio Vinci published its story in a book called “Caffè San Marco, un secolo di storia e cultura (1914-2014)” (“Caffè San Marco, a Century of History and Culture – 1914-2014”) with memories of famous writers like Giorgio Voghera and Claudio Magris.

Founded in 1914 by Marco Lovrinovich, San Marco was one of the places where irredentism flourished and the dream of the United Italy became true. During the war, it was destroyed by Austro-Hungarian hooligans and was then rebuilt. With its decoration made by Napoleone Cozzi and Venetian carnival masks painted on walls, this coffehouse is a masterpiece. Caffè San Marco was also a cinema star: some scenes of “Senilità”, a movie inspired by Italo Svevo’s book, were filmed inside the coffeehouse.

However this place still remains an oasis for writers: Giorgio Voghera, the author of Il Segreto, Claudio Magris, the columnist and creator of Danubio or the poet Umberto Saba, owner of an antiquarian bookshop sat or are sitting here. The San Marco had always a special connection with his neighbor, the Trieste Jewish Community that considered it like a second home: cozy, creative and enriched by history.