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Trieste has the oldest sponge factory in Europe

spugne rosenfield

Here is another little-known treasure, even amongst the people of Trieste themselves, yet a place rich in history and a mark of excellence in the industry. Let’s learn more about the Rosenfeld sponge factory.

Sponges have been processed for more than 100 years

Founded in 1896, the Rosenfeld sponge factory is a true family business that has continued for 4 generations and has formed a significant international commercial network. It is a flagship amongst local businesses.

When we visited the factory, we saw how much work goes into a sponge. Everything starts with knowledge of and respect for these organisms, which are multicellular animals that mainly grow in the deep sea. Over the years, the sponge factory has developed a strong network of sponge fishermen that allows the company to find quality sponges from the Adriatic to the Caribbean Sea: in fact, each territory features sponges with very different characteristics, so that the sponges produced are varied and suitable for different uses.

Visiting the sponge factory, we discovered the phases of sponge processing, ranging from methodologies for washing, purification and oxygenation treatment to the scissor cutting that is patiently done by hand.

natural sponges basket sponge cut

The Fine Lady, archipelago, coral reef

You can see three main types of sponges at the Rosenfeld sponge factory:

  • The Fine Lady, from the Mediterranean Sea, features a fine structure suitable for the most delicate skin.
  • The Archipelago, which is always Mediterranean, boasting an elastic structure and medium durability, is the best-known sponge with medium pores.
  • The Coral Reef, from the Atlantic Ocean, is a medium-pored sponge that does not lasts as long as the Mediterranean one but is prized for its quality at the price it commands.

Lucky fishermen may find giant versions of all these types of sponges. These natural works of art can be used for decoration in the home.

One can buy Rosenfeld sponges both at the company store located just outside the city of Trieste and at another must-visit location just a stone’s throw from La Residenza: the Drogheria Toso, but we will talk about that in an upcoming article.

Residenza Le 6 A Trieste

Le 6 A – B&B rooms

Every room has a woman’s name starting with A: Annetta, Amalia, Angiolina, Ada, Alberta e Augusta. They are the names of the female characters of the famous writer from Trieste Italo Svevo.
B&B rooms with kitchenette

La Settima A - studios with kitchenette

Anna Livia, our seventh A, is the protagonist of an episode of Finnegans Wake. Joyce took inspiration from Livia Veneziani, the wife of Italo Svevo. Giacomo, Nora, Stanislaus, Eileen, Sinico: every room is a small studio with a kitchenette and relates to the writings of Joyce when he lived in Trieste