Since 1902, the charming Opicina Tramway (Tranvia or Trenovia, in Italian) has connected Trieste’s city center with Villa Opicina, a hamlet on the Karst Plateau, 329 meters above sea level. The train climbs up almost one kilometer on a 26% incline to get to destination.
The great Slovenian writer Boris Pahor remembers, “The famous trolley line climbs from the city center to the karst plateau, which is three hundred meters high and well-known as one of the most beautiful tourist sights in Central Europe. There is even a song about it, inspired by a derailing that made headlines at the time, although luckily it had no grave consequences. It’s a folk tune that many people sing…”
“The track railway was not safe at all. I got hurt there myself, playing: I was barefoot, as often happened, and missed a jump over the steel teeth. I got a pretty deep cut on the top of my foot, and it was obvious that I would have to go to the hospital for some stitches…”
“After the Second World War, they changed the cog with a steel cable that could pull the engine. They left the pathway unchanged, so it still runs close to the steps and small staircases of the houses built on the hill. Everything around here used to be wild, with small fields where kids like me played hide and seek…” (Boris Pahor, Cristina Battocletti, “Figlio di nessuno: un’autobiografia senza frontiere”, Rizzoli, Milan 2012).