Opicina Tram, Trieste Italy

The little tram that could---get up the hill!

Trieste has a little heritage tram that is unique in that it is part tram and part funicular. It was opened in 1902 to travel from central Trieste to the small town of Villa Opicina in the mountains behind Trieste.

The trams date from the 1930s, the newest one was built in 1942! Due to their age, problems arise with the machinery to keep them running. Over the years I have only successfully managed to ride the tram on one occasion as they had been taken off the rails. But mechanical problems seem to have been resolved and the trams are running again!

The terminus in central Trieste is Piazza Oberdan, the tickets for the tram are the regular public transport ones, so it’s cheap to ride. (One ticket is valid for 60 minutes weekdays and 4 hours weekends so you can make multiple trips up and down if you wish!)

The tram terminus at Piazza Oberdan

The tram then operates like a regular tram on the flatter ground until it stops at the beginning of the steep part and then it moves forward and rolls back as the cable tractor, which operates on funicular principles (attached to a cable), is connected to push the tram up the mountain. 

The cable tractor attached to a tram going up the mountain.

There are stops on the way for people who use it as public transport. This part of the trip has some great city views. 

Once at the top, the cable tractor is removed and the tram travels on its way again as a regular tram. On the way down, the cable tractor is attached to the front to brake the tram on the descent to stop it behaving like a run away roller coaster. The cable tractors are operated remotely by the tram driver, over the years there have been manually operated ones which had their own drivers, but the newer generation ones with no driver meant there was no need for a cab and they're low level.

The cable tractor waiting (track on the right) to act as brake for the tram on its way down.

Apologies for reflection, it was a quick photo of tram being pushed up the mountain with the city below. 

There is a park where most people got off and some great ocean views, once at the terminus at Opicina there’s not much to see you need to wander further afield. I was quite happy just to ride up and down!


  1. Should I get a taxi from Opicina train station to the tram terminus?

  2. Yes, the train station is not close to the terminus. Villa Opicina is small but I looked at the map (I didn't even know there is a train station at Opicina, I've only ever gone up with the tram!) and it didn't appear close and I've not seen the train station from the terminus. Enjoy the tram!


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