Trieste (Trieste; Slovene and Croatian: Trst; German: Triest) is a city and port in northeastern Italy very near to the Slovenian border, to the North, East and South. Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. Throughout its history, it has been influenced by its geographic position at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic culture. With a population of 208,614 (2007) , it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trieste province.
Trieste flourished as part of Austria, from 1382 (the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867) until 1918 when it was one of the few seaports in what was one of the Great Powers of Europe. It was among the most prosperous Mediterranean seaports as well as a capital of literature and music. However, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Trieste's annexation to Italy after World War I led to a decline of its economic and cultural importance.
Today, Trieste is a border town. The population is an ethnic mix of the neighbouring regions; The dominant local Venetian dialect of Trieste is called Triestine ("Triestin" - , in Italian "Triestino"). This dialect and the official Italian language are spoken in the city centre, while Slovene is spoken in several of the immediate suburbs. The Venetian and the Slovene languages are considered autochthonous of the area. There are also small numbers of German and Hungarian speakers.
The economy depends on the port and on trade with its neighbouring regions. Throughout the Cold War Trieste was a peripheral city, but it is rebuilding some of its former influence.
By 177 BC, the city was under the rule of the Roman republic. Trieste was granted the status of colony under Julius Caesar, who recorded its name as Tergeste in his Commentarii de bello Gallico (51 BC). After the end of the Western Roman Empire (in 476), Trieste remained a Byzantine military centre. In 788 it became part of the Frank kingdom, under the authority of their count-bishop. From 1081 the city came loosely under Aquileia's patriarchy, developing into a free commune by the end of the 12th century.
After two centuries of war against the nearby major power, the Republic of Venice (which occupied it briefly from 1369 to 1372), the burghers of Trieste petitioned Leopold III von Habsburg, Duke of Austria to become part of his domains. (The agreement of cessation was signed in October 1382, in St. Bartholomew's church in the village of Šiška (apud Sisciam), today one of the city quarters of Ljubljana.) The citizens, however, maintained a certain degree of autonomy up until the 17th century.
Trieste grew into an important port and trade hub. It was made a free port within the Austrian domains by Emperor Charles VI and remained a free port from 1719 until July 1 1891. The reign of his successor, Maria Theresa of Austria, marked the beginning of a flourishing era for the city.
Trieste was occupied by French troops three times during the Napoleonic Wars, in 1797, 1805 and 1809. In the latter it was annexed to the Illyrian Provinces by Napoleon, during which period Trieste lost its autonomy (even when it was returned to the Austrian Empire in 1813), and the status of free port was interrupted.
Following the Napoleonic Wars, Trieste continued to prosper as the Imperial Free City of Trieste (Reichsunmittelbare Stadt Triest) and it became capital of the Austrian Littoral region, the so-called Küstenland.
The city's role as main Austrian trading port and shipbuilding centre was later emphasized with the foundation of the merchant shipping line Austrian Lloyd in 1836, whose headquarters stood at the corner of the Piazza Grande and Sanita. By 1913 Austrian Lloyd had a fleet of 62 ships comprising a total of 236,000 tons.
The modern Austro-Hungarian Navy also used Trieste's shipbuilding facilities and as a base. The construction of the first major trunk railway in the Empire, the Vienna-Trieste Austrian Southern Railway, was completed in 1857, a valuable asset for trade and the supply of coal.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Trieste was a buzzing cosmopolitan city frequented by artists such as James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Ivan Cankar, Dragotin Kette and Umberto Saba. The city was part of the so-called Austrian Riviera and a very real part of Mitteleuropa. The particular Friulian dialect, called Tergestino, spoken until the beginning of the 19th century, was gradually overcome by the Triestine (i.e., a Venetian dialect) and other languages, including Italian, German and Slovene. While Triestine was spoken by the biggest part of the population, German was the language of the Austrian bureaucracy and Slovenian was used in the surrounding villages. Viennese architecture and coffeehouses still dominate the streets of Trieste to this day.
From 1947 to 1954, Zone A was governed by the Allied Military Government, comprising the American "Trieste United States Troops" (TRUST), commanded by Maj. Gen. Bryant E. Moore, commanding general of the United States 88th Infantry Division, and "British Element Trieste Forces" (BETFOR), led by Sir Terence Airey, who co-acted as joint forces commander and as military governor. The southern part of the territory, Zone B comprised what was not yet annexed to Yugoslavia of Istria, roughly the coastline from Muggia to Koper/Capodistria.
Marshall Tito, head of the socialist state of Yugoslavia, made several forays across the Morgan Line and into Zone A, attempting to wrest control of the city of Trieste away from TRUST and BETFOR. These now-forgotten skirmishes made up the very first battles in what would later become the Cold War.
In 1954, the Free Territory of Trieste was dissolved. The city of Trieste in Zone A was ceded to Italy. The southern part of the territory in Zone B went to Yugoslavia, along with some of the surrounding villages formerly included in Zone A. The annexation to Italy was officially proclaimed on October 26 1954.
In modern times, Trieste's importance as a port has declined, both due to the annexation to Italy, for Italy's wider choice of better located ports, and the competition with the nearby new port of Koper in Slovenia. However, there is significant commercial shipping to the container terminal, steel works and oil terminal, all of which are located to the south of the city centre. After many years of stagnation, a change in the leadership placed the port on a steady growth path, recording a 40% increase in shipping traffic as of 2007.
A second transalpine railway was inaugurated in 1906, with the opening of the Transalpina Railway from Vienna via Jesenice and Nova Gorica. This line also approached Trieste via Villa Opicina, but took a rather shorter loop southwards towards Trieste's other main railway terminal, Trieste Campo Marzio station, south of the central station. The line is no longer operating, and Campo Marzio station is now a railway museum.
In order to facilitate freight traffic between the two stations and the nearby dock areas, a temporary line known as the Rivabahn was built along the waterfront in 1887. This line survived until 1981, when it was replaced by the Galleria di Circonvallazione, a 5.7 km rail tunnel route, to the east of the city. Freight services from the dock area include container services to northern Italy and to Budapest, together with truck carrying services to Salzburg and Frankfurt.
Passenger rail service to Trieste now largely consists of trains to Venice, connecting with services to Rome and Milan at Mestre. These trains reach the central station bypassing the Gulf of Trieste which connects with the Sudbahn's northern loop. International transports between Italy and Slovenia now pass through Villa Opicina, bypassing Trieste.
Trieste is famous for having two clubs participating in the championships of two different nations at the same time, during the time of the Free Territory of Trieste. Triestina played in the Serie A. Although it faced retrocession after the first season after the second world war, the FIGC changed the rules to keep it in, as it was seen as important to keep a club of the city in the Italian league, while Yugoslavia had its eye on the city. The next season the club played its best seaon with a 3rd place finish, Meanwhile, Yugoslavia put money in Ponziana, a small team in Trieste, which under a new name, Amatori, played in the Yugoslavian league for a number of years.
Triestina went broke in the nineties, but now plays in the Serie B.
In 2007, there were 203,356 people residing in Trieste, located in the province of Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia, of whom 46.7% were male and 53.3% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 13.78 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 27.9 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Trieste residents is 46 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Trieste declined by 3.5 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.85 percent. The birth rate in Trieste is 7.63 per 1,000 one of the lowest in eastern Italy, while the Italian average is 9.45 births.
As of 2006, 93.81% of the population was Italian. The largest autochthonous minority are Slovenes and Croatians, but there is also a large immigrant group from East European nations (particularly Serbia, Albania and Romania): 4.95%, Asia: 0.52%, and sub-saharan Africa: 0.2%. Trieste is predominantly Roman Catholic, but also has large numbers of Orthodox Christians due to the city's large migrant population from Eastern Europe and its Balkan influence.
The Castle gardens provide a setting of outstanding 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 nearby 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. During the existence of the Free Territory of Trieste, the castle served as headquarters for the United States Army's TRUST force.
Trieste or Tergeste, which probably dates back to the protohistoric period, was enclosed by walls built in 33–32 BC on Emperor Octavian’s orders. The city developed greatly during the 1st and 2nd centuries.
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.
In the whole Trieste province, an amount of 10 speleological groups (24 in Friuli-Venezia Giulia) exist. The Trieste plateau (Altopiano Triestino), called Kras or the Carso and covering an area of about 200 km² within Italy has approximately 1500 caves of various sizes. Among the most famous ones are the Grotta Gigante, the largest tourist cave in the world, with a single cavity large enough to contain St Peter's in Rome, and the Cave of Trebiciano (350 m deep) at the bottom of which flows the Timavo River. This river dives underground at Škocjan Caves in Slovenia (they are on UNESCO list) and flows about 30 km before emerging about 1 km from the sea in a series of springs near Duino reputed by the Romans to be an entrance to Hades.
Many famous writers lived and created their major works in Trieste.