Another community centre in Trieste passes into Slovenian minority's ownership

Trieste, 11 July - National Hall at St John's, a community centre in Trieste, will formally pass into ownership of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Trieste, after Friuli Venezia Giulia, the region that is home to the minority, has made a formal decision to return it free of charge, according to a report in the minority's newspaper Primorski Dnevnik.

Trieste, Italy
National Home at St John's when inaugurated in October 2023 following a EUR 4 million-plus renovation financed by the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and the city of Trieste.
Photo: Boštjan Podlogar/STA
File photo

The regional government tabled on Wednesday an amendment to the 2024 budget setting down transfer of the centre's ownership onto a minority's organisation free of charge.

The development comes after the community centre was renovated in recent years with the funds provided by Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trieste.

National Hall at St John's was inaugurated last October, and is already managed by the minority's organisation National Hall Foundation, says the Trieste-based paper.

The ownership transfer was announced some time ago by Sebastiano Callari, an official in charge of the region's assets.

He said on Wednesday that "to avoid unnecessary and difficult administrative procedures concerning an asset fully managed by a Slovenian foundation, we've decided to hand over the property's ownership".

This is consistent with Italy's decision to return to the minority another community centre, National Hall in Trieste, which the fascists burnt down in 1920.

National Hall in Trieste was built in 1904, but the minority lost it with the arson. Italy symbolically returned the building in July 2020.

Callari sees the return of the two assets to the minority as yet another instance of true cooperation with the Slovenian community in Trieste.

National Hall at St John's opened in 1903, a year before National Hall in Trieste - the symbol of the minority's presence in the city, and was destroyed by fascists in 1921.

It was owned by the fascist party until WWII and by the city of Trieste after the war.

Since it was not used, it fell to ruin. Italy committed to return it to the minority in the 2001 Slovenian minority protection law. Its renovation, worth more than EUR 4 million, started in 2020, and its inauguration last year was attended by Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar.

© STA, 2024