Why visit Trieste, Italy?
Why visit Trieste?
Sitting proudly on the Adriatic coast, little Trieste, which lies hidden away in the north-east corner of Italy, seemingly surrounded by neighbouring Slovenia, is often mistakenly overlooked by tourists heading to the better-known Italian destinations such as Rome, Milan and Florence. Those who do make the choice to visit, however, are greeted by one of Italy‘s most curious cities, replete with elaborate Neoclassical façades and Austro-Hungarian touches throughout. The atmosphere of grandeur is pervasive as you walk through the grid-like heart of Trieste, the Borgo Teresiano, and stroll up to the San Giusto Cathedral, sitting on the hill of the same name, and admire the spectacular views across the city below.
Trieste is also home to some fabulous monuments, many of which are free, and its cultural heritage includes once being the home of the Irish writer James Joyce. Pleasantly, the city is packed with 2nd bookshops and belle époque cafes, perfect for whiling away the day and for those who like to make day trips: the spectacular Castello di Miramare (Miramare Castle) lies just 8km north of the city.
(1-negative experience; 5-positive experience)
Trieste: the facts
Originally established as an Illyrian settlement, Trieste became part of the Roman republic in 177 BC and gained the status of a colony under Julius Caesar. The city thrived during Roman times but was destroyed by the Lombard invasions in 567 AD and was incorporated into the Frankish kingdom in 788 AD. In 1081 the city came under the control of the Patriarchate of Aquileia before evolving to a city state at the end of the 12th century.
After two centuries of warfare with the local regional power, the Republic of Venice, during which it was briefly occupied twice, in 1283–87 and then again 1368–72, the city state of Trieste appealed for help to the Duke of Austria, who incorporated the city into his Hapsburg Empire in 1382. Venetians were to occupy the city again in 1508 but they were ejected a year later and by the end of the 18th century Trieste was an important port and trading centre of the Hapsburg empire.
During the Napoleonic Wars the city was occupied on several occasions by the French forces and following the wars end, the city was initially designated as a Free City, with trade open to all. It was not long, however, that the city was again under the Austrian umbrella and by the beginning of the 20th century it was a bustling cosmopolitan town, home to such diverse figures as James Joyce and Sigmund Freud, and the centre of Austrian shipbuilding and maritime trade.
Trieste’s unique position on the fault-lines of Germanic, Italian and Slovene cultures was threatened when, following the end of the WW1, the city changed hands as the victorious allies ceded the city to Italy according to provisions of the 1915 Treaty of London. The following Italianisation of the city led to persecution of the Slovene population at the hands of the rising Fascist movement and by the mid 1930s several thousand had emigrated. During this period a Slovene resistance militia was formed and carried out several bomb attacks in the city centre, and several monumental structures were built including the University of Trieste and Faro della Vittoria (Victory Lighthouse).
At the end of WW2 the region was once again declared a Free Territory before later being divided: with Trieste awarded to Italy and the coastal hinterland of Istria, to Yugoslavia.
Trieste experiences a humid subtropical climate which means pleasantly hot summers and mild winters but with rainfall throughout the year. In the summer months the temperature ranges between 21oC – 28oC and in the winter 4oC – 8oC.
Weather in Trieste now
Trieste is a city packed with events, with the most prominent among them being the Festival Internazional dell’Operetta (International Operetta Festival) which takes place in July & August. The widely attended event is considered one of Europe’s premier Operetta celebrations and you can find out more information at the Teatro Verdi website.
Trieste also plays host to two separate film festivals: the Festival del Cinema Latino Americano (Latin American Film Festival) which focuses on Latin-American cinema and documentaries and takes place every October, and the Festival del Cinema Alpe Adria (Trieste Film Festival) which showcases work by eastern and central European directors and is held in January.
Additionally, the Barcolana regatta takes to the waters around Trieste on the 2nd Sunday of October and over 2,000 boasts of all shapes and sizes arrive to pack the city.