Yesterday my brother and I took the tram up to the obelisk and walked the loop trail up to Monte Grisa then back along the Strada Napoleonica to the tram. Neither of us had been there before, so we weren’t certain about the trails or what we’d find outside of some websites with a little information about the Strada Napoleonica itself. The loop trail is just a little under eight kilometers, or about five miles. There’s some height gain, but not a lot. It’s easy going, though some bits are quite narrow and more a well-worn track than a wide path. Given my dizziness issues, next time I do the loop trail, I’ll bring my hiking poles to keep me slightly steadier.
The Tempio Mariano di Monte Grisa is a church. It’s that odd cheese-wedge looking bump on the Carso that you can see so well in all my photos from Molo Audace. The locals call it Il Formaggino, the little cheese, for just that reason. It’s just as ugly close up as it is from a distance, but kid of interesting anyway. The trail up to it is quite popular, and we ran into a lot of people out running or walking dogs, along with some cyclists and mountain bikers.
Along the trail from the obelisk toward the church, there are periodic signs to direct you when you come to turns or intersections with other trails, the maps marked with “voi siete qui” – you are here. You eventually start running into the Stations of the Cross, which begin and end at the church.
The weather down in Trieste was mostly cloudy but when we got to the trail things had cleared up. It was sunny and a lovely, moderate temperature that held the entire time we were walking. The views were absolutely spectacular from several points along the walk, including from the cliff side of Monte Grisa itself.
There’s a bar at Monte Grisa, like so many other places in Italy. They also sell tchotchkes, and there’s a small gourmet foods section, too. Presumably this helps with the church’s maintenance, though there seems to be some indication of missionary efforts as well, which does make me rather uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.
Once you pass, Monte Grisa, the path narrows to a little track that takes you out to a viewpoint structure, then down the hill again to the Strada Napoleonica. The Barcola lies directly below, and you can see three countries from the Cliffside – Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia, further to the southeast.
We were both very pleased to have started out with the Monte Grisa part of the loop, as the views along the Strada toward the city are just incredible. The character of the trail changes, from rock climbing cliffs to shady lanes through pine woods. Walking out the Strada with my back to the city wouldn’t have been nearly so nice.