Trieste is a city and seaport in the northeastern corner of Italy, wedged between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. Famous for its cold, gale-force “Bora” wind, a combination of geographic and historical factors has made Trieste a unique city and a fascinating place to visit; it’s not your typical Italian city.
As a meeting point of Latin, Germanic and Slavic cultures, Trieste has been through many changes over the centuries as a result of its history and the different ethnic groups that have inhabited it and helped to maintain its cultural diversity. The city’s role developed from a modest town in pre-Roman times to an urban centre in various empires. Empires breezed in, notably the Roman and the Byzantine. But it was centuries of Austrian rule under the Habsburg Monarchy that has left the most enduring mark. It flourished as part of Austria and became the part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867. As the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s principal seaport, it was considered one of the most prosperous Mediterranean seaports until 1918, with the fall of the empire following WWI.
I love Trieste for its colourful past, Italian cuisine and the unique Viennese-influenced architecture that dominates the main square and surrounding streets. Meandering through the city you can discover hidden treasures from an ancient history. For stunning views over the city and the Gulf of Trieste, the ramparts of Castle San Giusto provide the perfect strategic location. Built between the 15th and 17th century by the Habsburgs who dominated European politics for nearly five centuries, the castle is an enlargement of a Venetian medieval-style fortress on the ruins of the Roman city at the top of San Giusto hill.
Down below, the Habsburg fame also lives eternally at Castle Miramare and its park, which adorn the seashore. It was built on the orders of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, brother to Emperor Franz Joseph 1, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. The castle is enchanting, picture perfect as it hugs the edge overlooking the sea. History runs deep in Trieste, but this has not prevented today’s city from being vibrant and evolving over time. If you happen to be heading in that direction, you won’t be disappointed.