1.3 Between Rations and Fishing

Home Zone A Way of Life Between Rations and Fishing

Food Consumption

The efficiency of food supplies was a matter of primary importance for the Anglo-American authorities.

In September 1945, the distribution of the “AC scale” rations seemed suitable to prevent severe malnutrition cases in the immediate present, but not adequate to keep the civilian population healthy in the long term. However, fishing contributed significantly to improving the general situation, mainly because the fish canneries did not resume production – at least until the first half of 1946 – due to the lack of olive oil and tins. Thus, all the fish could reach the market and be immediately available to the population.

From a survey commissioned by the Confederal Chamber of Labour of Trieste, we learn that, in 1946 and concerning the expenses of a working-class family, almost 67% of expenditure was destined for the purchase of food.

From 1945 to 1947, the cost of living rose steadily throughout Zone A. The price of fish represented the only countertrend: a kilo of sardines cost less than 50 Lire, but on some occasions, it had dropped to 25 Lire per kilo.

Erica Mezzoli
WeCanIt – University of Ljubljana


The Cost of Food

Trend in the cost of food in Zone A AMG-Venezia Giulia
Fig. 1.3.a – Trend in the cost of food in Zone A AMG-Venezia Giulia (zones of Trieste, Gorizia and Pola). Values in Italian Lire.
(Erica Mezzoli, Labour Data for the Zone A-AMG Venezia Giulia and the Zone A-Free Territory of Trieste, 1945-1955 – forthcoming dataset)


Orderly Room

Military outlets in Zona AMG
Fig. 1.3.b – Foodstuff or other goods on sale in the military outlets could be used as bargaining chips with the civilians.
(Archivio Vitrotti)



Christmas windows Trieste post II world war
Fig. 1.3.c – It is not an example of “hunger marketing” of the economic boom to come. The wealth of Godignani’s window is due to the holiday season.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Archivio Giornalfoto, inv. F91669)


Green Markets

venderigole sellers in trieste
Fig. 1.3.d – The green markets with their sellers, the venderigole, were the Triestines’ “supermarkets”.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Mottola, inv. F247928)


Children of the AMG and Children of Zone A

Nobody wishes it, but childhood is not the same for everyone. Thus, although overseas, the children of AMG officers could grow up in the standard of living of the “American way of life”, whereas the children of Zone A were raised amidst food parcels, political and social conflict and in the climate of the Cold War.

Baby's baptism in Trieste AMG
Fig. 1.3.e – A big cake, some wine and canapé to celebrate a baby’s baptism.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Giornalfoto, inv. F125495_015)
Birthday party for AMG people
Fig. 1.3.f – Even for a birthday party, you need a cake. But for kids, Coke is fine.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Giornalfoto, inv. F83944_010)
Thanksgiving a Trieste II world war
Fig. 1.3.e.3 – Zone A orphans at a Thanksgiving Day lunch.
(Archivio Vitrotti)


Urban Fishermen

fishing trieste city post II world war
Fig. 1.3.f – Triestines looking to catch a meal.
(NŠK, Petričevič, 1947_07613-31)


Gifts of Friendship

food parcels in Trieste post II world war
Fig. 1.3.g – One of the “Provvida” outlets where “Dono dell’amicizia” (trans: Gift of Friendship) food parcels were distributed.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Archivio Comunale, inv. F175785)


Dress Up, Let’s Go Out to Eat!

Although in the post-war period the opening of restaurants and entertainment venues multiplied, most people could not afford to go to them. Whereas, the “restaurants” where a meal cost 150 Lire were very popular.

Restaurant/soup kitchen “All’antica grotta” in Cavana (Trieste)
Fig. 1.3.h.1 – People’s restaurant/soup kitchen “All’antica grotta” in Cavana (Trieste).
(Archivio Vitrotti)
people’s canteen in Trieste in April 1948
Fig. 1.3.h.2 – Re-opening of a people’s canteen in Trieste in April 1948.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Archivio Comunale, inv. F175829)


The Sugar Bowl

Sugar bowl trieste
Fig. 1.3.i – The hall of the “Sugar Bowl”, a restaurant reserved for Allied troops.
(Archivio Vitrotti)