Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city. Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic cultures. It is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trieste province.
Originally an Illyrian settlement the town was later captured by the Carni. From 177 BC Tergeste was under the Romans. It was granted the status of colony under Julius Caesar, who recorded its name as Tergeste in his Commentarii de bello Gallico (51 BC). During Roman times, Tergeste was defined an "Illyrian city" by Artemidorus of Ephesus, a Greek geographer, and "Carnic" by Strabo.
In imperial times the border of "Roman Italia" moved from the Timavo river to Formione (today Risano). The Roman Tergeste lived a flourishing period due to its position as a crossroad from Aquileia, the main Roman city in the area, and Istria, and as a port as well, some ruins of which are still visible. Augustus built a line of walls around the city in 33-32 BC, while Trajan built a theatre in the 2nd century AD.In the Early Christian era it remained a flourishing center, and after the end of the Western Roman Empire (in 476), Trieste was a Byzantine military outpost. In 567 AD the city was destroyed by the Lombards, in the course of their invasion of northern Italy. In 788 it became part of the Frankish kingdom, under the authority of their count-bishop. From 1081 the city came loosely under the Patriarchate of Aquileia, developing into a free commune by the end of the 12th century.
Following an unsuccessful Habsburg invasion of Venice in the prelude to the War of the League of Cambrai, the Venetians occupied Trieste again in 1508, and under the terms of the peace were allowed to keep the city. The Habsburg Empire recovered Trieste a little over one year later, however, when conflict resumed.
Trieste was occupied by French troops three times during the Napoleonic Wars, in 1797, 1805 and in 1809. Between 1809 and 1813, it was annexed to the Illyrian Provinces, interrupting its status of free port and losing its autonomy. The municipal autonomy was not restored after the return of the city to the Austrian Empire in 1813. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Trieste continued to prosper as the Free Imperial City of Trieste (Reichsunmittelbare Stadt Triest), a status that granted economic freedom, but limited its political self-government. With the introduction of the constitutionalism in the Austrian Empire in 1860, the municipal autonomy of the city was restored, with Trieste became capital of the Adriatisches Küstenland, the Austrian Littoral region.
After the emergence of the Fascist regime in 1922, an official policy of Italianization continued. Public use of the Slovene language was prohibited, by 1927 all Slovene associations were dissolved, while names and surnames of Slavic and German origin were Italianized by the end of 1930.
Several artistic and intellectual subcultures continued to swarm even under the repressive Fascist regime. In the 1920s, the city was home to an important avant-gardist movement in visual arts, centered around the futurist Tullio Crali and the constructivist Avgust Černigoj. In the same period, Trieste consolidated its role as one of the centres of modern Italian literature, with authors such as Umberto Saba, Biagio Marin, Giani Stuparich, and Salvatore Satta. Among the non-Italian authors and intellectuals that remained in Trieste, the most notable were the Austrian Julius Kugy and the Slovene Boris Pahor. Intellectuals were frequently associated with Caffè San Marco, a cafè in the city still open today.
With the invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia in April 1941, World War Two came close to Trieste. Starting from the winter of 1941, the first Yugoslav partisan units appeared in Trieste province, although the resistance movement did not reach the city itself until late 1943.
After the Italian armistice in September 1943, the city was occupied by German troops. Trieste became nominally part of the newly constituted Italian Social Republic, but it was de facto ruled by Nazi Germany: the Nazis created the Operation Zone of the Adriatic Littoral out of former Italian north-eastern regions, with Trieste as the administrative center. The new administrative entity was headed by Friedrich Rainer. Under the Nazi occupation, the only concentration camp with a crematorium on Italian soil was built in a suburb of Trieste, at the Risiera di San Sabba, on 4 April 1944. Around 3,000 Jews, South Slavs and Italian anti Fascists were killed in the Risiera, while thousands of others were imprisoned before being transferred to other concentration camps.
The city saw intense Italian and Yugoslav partisan activity, and suffered from Allied bombings. The city's Jewish community was deported to extermination camps, where most of them died.
On April 30, 1945, the Italian anti-Fascist National Liberation Committee (Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale, or CLN) of don Marzari and Savio Fonda, constituted of approximately 3,500 volunteers, incited a riot against the German occupiers. On May 1, Allied forces of the Yugoslav Partisans' 8th Dalmatian Corps arrived and took over most of the city, except for the courts and the castle of San Giusto, where the German garrisons refused to surrender to any force other than New Zealanders. The 2nd New Zealand Division continued to advance towards Trieste along Route 14 around the northern coast of the Adriatic sea and arrived in the city the next day. The German forces capitulated on the evening of May 2, but were then turned over to the Yugoslav forces.
The Yugoslavs held full control of the city until June 12, a period known in the Italian historiography as the "forty days of Trieste".During this period, hundreds of local Italians and anti-Communist Slovenes were arrested by the Yugoslav authorities, and many of them disappeared. These included former Fascists and Nazi collaborators, but also Italian nationalists, and any other real or potential opponents of Yugoslav Communism. Some were interned in Yugoslav concentration camps (in particular at Borovnica, Slovenia), while others were murdered and thrown into the potholes ("foibe") on the Karst plateau.
After an agreement between the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito and the British Field Marshal Harold Alexander, the Yugoslav forces withdrew from Trieste, which came under a joint British-U.S. military administration. The Julian March was divided between Anglo-American and Yugoslav military administration until September 1947, when the Paris Peace Treaty established the Free Territory of Trieste.
In 1947, Trieste was declared an independent city state under the protection of the United Nationsas the Free Territory of Trieste. The territory was divided into two zones, A and B, along the Morgan Line, established in 1945.
From 1947 to 1954, the A Zone was governed by the Allied Military Government, composed of the American "Trieste United States Troops" (TRUST), commanded by Major General Bryant E. Moore, the commanding general of the American 88th Infantry Division, and the "British Element Trieste Forces" (BETFOR), commanded by Sir Terence Airey, who were the joint forces commander and also the military governors. Zone A covered almost the same area of the current Italian Province of Trieste, except for four small villages south of Muggia, which were given to Yugoslavia after the dissolution of the Free Territory in 1954. Zone B, which remained under the military administration of the Yugoslav People's Army, was composed of the north-westernmost portion of the Istrian peninsula, between the river Mirna and the Debeli Rtič cape.
In 1954, the Free Territory of Trieste was dissolved. The vast majority of Zone A, including the city of Trieste, was ceded to Italy. Zone B became part of Yugoslavia, along with four villages from the Zone A and was divided among the Socialist Republic of Slovenia and Croatia. The annexation of Trieste to Italy was officially announced on 26 October 1954, and was welcomed by the majority of the Trieste population.
The final border line with Yugoslavia, and the status of the ethnic minorities in the areas, was settled in 1975 with the Treaty of Osimo. This line is now the border between Italy and Slovenia.
- Trieste Cathedral dedicated to Saint Justus, is the cathedral and main church of Trieste. It is the seat of the Bishop of Trieste. The first religious edifice on the site was built in the 6th century. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, two basilicas were erected on the ruins of the old church, the first dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and the second, the cathedral, to Saint Justus (San Giusto). The original design of the latter building was subsequently lengthened. In the 14th century the two basilicas were joined by means of the demolition of one nave of either basilica and the construction of a simple asymmetrical façade, dominated by a delicately worked Gothic rose window, as ornate as the new bell tower, using the Romanesque debris stones found on the site and friezes of arms.
- Miramar Castle The Schloß Miramar, on the waterfront 8 km from Trieste, was built between 1856 and 1860 from a project by Carl Junker working under Archduke Maximilian. The Castle gardens provide a setting of beauty with a variety of trees, chosen by and planted on the orders of Maximilian, that today make a remarkable collection. Features of particular attraction in the gardens include two ponds, one noted for its swans and the other for lotus flowers, the Castle annexe ("Castelletto"), a bronze statue of Maximilian, and a small chapel where is kept a cross made from the remains of the "Novara", the flagship on which Maximilian, brother of Emperor Franz Josef, set sail to become Emperor of Mexico. Much later, the castle was also the home of Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, the last commander of Italian forces in East Africa during the Second World War. During the period of the application of the Instrument for the Provisional Regime of the Free Territory of Trieste, as establish in the Treaty of Peace with Italy (Paris 10/02/1947), the castle served as headquarters for the United States Army's TRUST force.
- Grotta Gigante ("Giant Cave"), also known as Riesengrotteor as Grotta di Brisciachi, is a giant cave on the Italian side of the Trieste Carso, in the municipality of Sgonico. Its central cavern is 107 metres (351 ft) high, 65 metres (213 ft) wide and 130 metres (430 ft) long putting it in the 1995 Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest tourist cave. The cave contains many large stalactites and stalagmites, many of exceptional beauty. A feature of the stalagmites is their "dish-pile" appearance, formed by water dropping from up to 80 m (260 ft) above and depositing calcium carbonate over a wide area.
- The Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi is an opera house named after the composer Giuseppe Verdi. Privately constructed, it was inaugurated as the Teatro Nuovo to replace the smaller 800-seat "Cesareo Regio Teatro di San Pietro" on 21 April 1801 with a performance of Johann Simon Mayr's Ginevra di Scozia. Initially, the Nuovo had 1,400 seats.
- The Roman theatre lies at the foot of the San Giusto hill, facing the sea. The construction partially exploits the gentle slope of the hill, and much of the theatre is made of stone. The topmost portion of the amphitheatre steps and the stage were supposedly made of wood. The statues that adorned the theatre, brought back to light in the 1930s, are now preserved at the Town Museum. Three inscriptions from the Trajan period mention a certain Q. Petronius Modestus, someone closely connected to the development of the theatre, which was erected during the second half of the 1st century.