Trieste and the Sublime Porte
from Pius II to Archduke Maximilian of Austria


Trieste and the Sublime Porte from Pius II to Archduke Maximilian of Austria
edited by Alessandra Sirugo
Museo petrarchesco piccolomineo Trieste, 23rd  June – 7th November 2010
Trieste and the Sublime Porte, the gate to the palace of the Grand Vizier in Istanbul which, by extension, indicated the entire Ottoman Empire: an unusual combination to reflect upon the history of the city whose bishop, humanist Enea Silvio, was the only pastor of the Diocese to be elected as Pope. Since the day Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans he never stopped confronting the Turkish civilisation, committed to have the Eastern and Western Christian Empire reunited. The Museum dedicated to the collections of Petrarch and Piccolomini, will enable scholars to examine fundamental bibliographical assets to understand Pius II’s confrontation with Islam also from Trieste. The city, the only harbour on the Austrian coast, was the outpost of the empire’s trading activities with the East and the place from which the season of trade and mutual knowledge stemmed in 1718. A confrontation that brought the Ottomans - according to the social roles - to negotiate, intermediate, unload goods on the docks and conceive trade marks to offer on the Levantine markets (26). A small part of this population adopted Trieste as a second homeland: this is the case of the family of origin of Elody Oblath, wife of the writer Giani Stuparich (27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32).
The middle-class houses are evidence of the acceptance the Orientalist style which can be noted, inter alia, in the frescos of the house of Giovanni Scaramangà di Altomonte, on Via Filzi 1, current seat of the Foundation that bears the entrepreneur’s name.
The Turkish community, comprising Bosnians, Albanians, Macedonians, continental Greeks, Serbians and Hungarian Turks, found in Trieste a welcoming city, a place which respected the community’s religious faith and the customs of its members. The exhibition provides evidence of this through the Almanac or Abridged Guide of the city, which in 1872 also included the Turkish-Arabian calendar (35). The respect for religious differences can be noted in the places of human pietas. Since 1848 Trieste has had a small Muslim cemetery beside the St. Anne’s catholic cemetery and perhaps, even earlier, Ottoman dead were first buried according to the Islamic funeral rite on the St. Giusto’s Hill (36).