Trieste has a long, complex and fascinating history; the remains of the various civilizations and empires that have influenced or dominated it are evident in the city today, making it ideal for city breaks in Italy. During the second millennium BC the territory of Trieste was the site of prehistoric settlements called "castellieri" (forts), whose inhabitants belonged to populations probably of Illyrian origin and of Indo-European stock. Later, the indigenous population came into contact with another Caucasian ethnicity, the Veneti. After that, the city was conquered by the Romans and then by the Frankish kingdom. In the XII century finally it became a free commune. However after two centuries of war against the Republic of Venice, the citizens of Trieste petitioned the Habsburgs of Austria to become part of their domains. Trieste became an important port and trade hub and flourished under centuries of peace. In the Napeleonic Wars, Trieste was occupied by French troops but the city was returned to the Austrian empire in 1813. By the beginning of the 20th century, Trieste was a buzzing cosmopolitan city loved by artists and philosophers such as James Joyce and Sigmund Freud. This truly Mitterleuropean city became unified with Italy after World War I in 1920. It was occupied by the Germans during World War II, and with the Treaty of Paris (1947) became an independent city-state under the protection of the United Nations, whose territory was divided into two zones: zone A, included the city of Trieste was administered by the Anglo-Americans and the zone B administered by Yugoslavia. Only in 1954 the zone A became part of Italy and in 1963 Trieste became the capital.
Culture - what to do in
With the city's rich and eventful history, it's no surprise that the city was a crossroads of cultures and religions: next to the Italian and Slovenian populations there are also others ethnic groups. Home of Illy coffee, espresso famous all over the world, it has the only one production factory in Trieste in Via Flavia. The Café Espressamente Illy in Via delle Torri is the latest in a line of café bars running down the elegant sea front, many old with Hapsburg grandeur and some with live music. If you like opera, don't miss the beautiful Teatro Verdi.
What to do in Trieste? You have endless choice with stunning Habsburg architecture everywhere but don't miss the Castello Miramare, the most striking example. Take the Tranvia from Piazza Scorcola up to the Carso plateau for breathtaking views and beyond to the Grotta Gigante: a floodlit cavern with stalagmites the size of palm trees. Climb the steps from Piazza Goldoni to the Capitol Hill, past the 15th century castle and remains of the Roman Forum to the Romanesque cathedral of San Giusto.
Located in the northeast of Italy near the border with Slovenia. The city is built on an imposing escarpment linking the Kras Plateau with the Adriatic Sea.
The architecture is reminiscent of Habsburg Vienna with most buildings dating back to the time when Trieste was the harbour of the Habsburg Empire were designed primarily by Austrians Joseph and Junker. Notable buildings to see on your city breaks Italy include the Miramare Castle built for Maximilian of Habsburg between 1856 and 1860; the Mitteleuropa Mail and Telegraph Museum; three theatres including the Slovenian Repertory Theatre, the Rossetti Theatre and the Verdi Theatre; Borgo Terisiano - the canal surrounded by neoclassical buildings.
When you're deciding what to do in Trieste, consider timing your trip to coincide with one of the many major annual events including the Handicraft and Tourism Fair with typical food and wine in June; Operetta Festival in July; Mittelciok Chocolate Fair in December; and Trieste Song Festival in December.
Local transport is organised by Trieste Trasporti, comprising around 60 bus routes, two boat services, and the Opicina Tranway from the city centre to Villa Opicina. The nearest airport is the Fruili Venezia Giulia Airport at Ronchi near Monfalcone at the head of the gulf of Trieste.