Lloyd Triestino Palace

Trieste, Italy | C.1836

Photo Credit: @thisisdax

In the eighteenth century, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria sought to develop the port of Trieste, the northern Italian city that was then under her rule. She orchestrated its transformation into a prime gateway between European and Eastern markets.

Her foresight, plus an influx of craftsmen as the city went through its own renaissance, explains the most striking building in the Piazza Unità. The Lloyd Triestino Palace overlooks the sea and still serves as a hub for one of the oldest active shipping companies. Lloyd Triestino, known originally as Österreichischer Lloyd (“Austrian Lloyd”) and now operating in partnership with Taiwanese shipping giant Ever- green Marine, was among the first companies to use steamships. It offered both passenger and cargo routes to the Middle East and Far East, reaching India, China, and Japan.

After the Great War, Trieste became a part of Italy, and the company continued to thrive, only to be crippled in World War II. Once eighty-five ships strong, its fleet was reduced to just five.

Its swan song came in 1963, when the gorgeous sister ships Galileo Galilei and Guglielmo Marconi wowed the public as the biggest passenger ships ever built for Lloyd Triestino—but they were also the last. In the 1970s, competition from airlines forced the Lloyd to close down its passenger services, withdrawing its glamorous liners and replacing them with container vessels. It is now a much smaller enterprise than it once was, but this grand building testifies to Trieste’s momentous seafaring tradition.

📖 Featured on Page 212 of AWA, The Book

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