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Casa Trauner


Piazza Trauner and Via delle Mura - Historical Notes

Our area of the city was once upon a time (during the 16th Century to be precise) the first of the city's ghettos. With regard to the city's medieval layout, we find ourselves just inside the 14th Century defensive walls, whose ancient path, it is supposed, would correspond to somewhere underneath the current buildings laid out along Via delle Mura. Until the recent renovation of the area, the building work constructed upon the medieval layer, making total use of the space available, had remained relatively unaltered since its inception. At a height of 5m above sea level, the area was one of the vital hubs of the old town. The last traces of this urban section date back to the beginning of the 20th Century, where, through historical cartography, the system of secondary viability was dated to at least the 18th Century.

The little square know as Piazzetta Trauner (the name Trauner comes from a noble family from the late 15th Century) or as Piazzetta del Ghetto Vecchio officially became the principal home of the Jews in 1555 when Pope Paul IV ordered the institution of the ghettos; the small columns at the edge of the square in fact mark the old boundary between ghetto and city proper.

In this piazzetta encircled by eight homes, one can admire buildings of true antiquity, among which there is the house with the Venetian mullioned window, believed to be the location of the ancient synagogue, of which today all trace has been lost.

Despite the Ghetto's moving to a new area in 1696, at the beginning of the 20th Century, this zone was still a particularly dynamic hub, quite like one of Venice's famous campielli (literally "little field", these were the especially vibrant and energised small local enclaves similar to squares in Venice). Clothes hung from one house to another served as colourful backdrop to children's games. In the summer evenings the locals sat outside in the cool streets of the quarter and on feast days they would gather together to play rowdily at tombola or dice.

We are talking about an entire zone, that of the old city, composed by ancient quarters, which in their very names make reference to the ancient city layout: added to Via delle Mura ("Way of the Walls"), we have Via dei Capitelli ("Way of the Capitals"), which takes its name from the devoted procession that was made towards the cathedral, sacred effigies placed in recesses of the rear side of the wall as it opened into Piazza Cavana; then there is the Androna degli Orti ("Entrance to the Orchards"), whose name speaks of the passage between farmlands beyond the surviving Portico and which curves at its centre upon its reconstructed bowl-shaped medieval base; then lower down there is the Via known as "Sporcavilla" ("Dirty Villa"), so named for the build up of earthy and stony rubble that rainwater caused to break away from the side of the Hill of San Giusto; and finally, this amalgam of quarters merges into a square in the form of Via della Corte ("Way to the Square") and Androna della Corte ("Entrance to the Square"). And thus we arrive at Piazzetta Trauner.

Trieste cittą vecchia
Trieste ghetto