Mitja Ribičič

Mitja Ribičič

Ribičič, Mitja, 1919-, Yugoslav politician. He participated in the revolutionary student movement and joined the Communist party in 1941. He was a member of the partisans of Josip Broz Tito in World War II. After the war he served as a member of the executive council of Slovenia, as a deputy of the Slovenian parliament (1951-63), and as a deputy of the federal parliament (1963-67, 1969). Ribičić served as president (1969-71) of the federal executive council, a position equivalent to that of premier, and as president (1982-3) of the Yugoslav Communist party.

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.


Ancient era

The area of what is now Trieste was settled by the Carni, an Indo-European tribe (hence the name Carso) since the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently the area was populated by the Histri, an Illyrian people, who remained the main civilization until the 2000 BC, when the Palaeo-Veneti arrived.

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.

Annexation to Italy

Together with Trento, Trieste was the main site of the irredentist movement, which aimed for the annexation to Italy of all the lands they claimed were historically inhabited by culturally Italian people. After the end of World War I, Austria-Hungary was dismantled and Trieste became part of Italy in 1920, along with the whole Julian March (Venezia Giulia). The annexation, however, brought a loss of importance for the city, with the new state border depriving it of its former hinterland. The Slovene ethnic group (at the time about the 25% of the population) suffered persecution by the rising Fascist Regime. This led to a period of inner strain which culminated on April 13 1920, when a group of Italian nationalists burnt the Narodni dom (National House), the cultural centre of Trieste's Slovenes.

World War II

After the constitution of the Italian Social Republic, on 23 September 1943, Trieste was nominally absorbed into this entity. The Germans, however, annexed it to the Operation Zone of the Adriatic Littoral, which also included the former Italian provinces of Gorizia, Ljubljana and Udine, led by Friedrich Rainer. Under the Nazi occupation, the only concentration camp on Italian soil was built in a suburb of Trieste, at the Risiera di San Sabba (Rižarna), on 4 April 1944. The city also saw a high Italian partisan activity and suffered from Allied bombings.

Yugoslav and New Zealand involvement

On April 30 1945, the Italian anti-Fascists National Liberation Committee (Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale, or CLN) of don Marzari and Savio Fonda, constituted of approximately 3500 volunteers, incited a riot against the Nazis. On May 1, Yugoslav partisans of Tito's army arrived and freed most of the city from the Nazis, except for the courts and the castle of San Giusto, the garrisons here refusing to surrender to any force other than the 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 eventually capitulated on the evening of May 2 following their arrival. The Yugoslav troops of Tito held full control of the city until June 12, a period known as the 'forty days of Trieste'. During this period, many fascists, nationalists and many other people not favourable to the communist regime disappeared. Many were tossed alive in the potholes ('foibe') of the Carso in a tit-for-tat policy of brutality initiated by the Italian fascists in the 1930s. Eventually, the New Zealanders forced the Yugoslav army to leave. Trieste and its surrounding regions remained under Allied control until 1954.

The Italian city

In 1947, Trieste was declared an independent state under the protection of the United Nations as the Free Territory of Trieste split into two zones, A and B, along what was called The Morgan Line.

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.

The border questions with Yugoslavia and the status of the ethnic minorities were settled definitively in 1975 with the Treaty of Osimo.


Maritime transport

Trieste's maritime location and its former long term status as part of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian empires made its dock the major commercial port for much of the landlocked areas of central Europe. In the 19th century, a whole new port district known as the Porto Nuovo was built northeast to the city centre.

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.

Rail transport

Railways came early to Trieste, due to the port and the need to transport people and goods over long distances. The first line to reach the city was the Sudbahn in 1857. This line stretched for 1400 km to Lviv (in present day Ukraine) via Ljubljana (in Slovenia), Sopron (in Hungary), Vienna (in Austria), and Kraków (in Poland), crossing the backbone of the Alps at the Semmering Pass near Graz. This line approaches Trieste through the village of Villa Opicina, a few kilometres from the city but over 300 metres higher. Due to this, the line takes a 32 km detour to the north before terminating at Trieste Centrale station.

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.

Air transport

Trieste is served by the nearby Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport, located at Ronchi near Monfalcone at the head of the Gulf of Trieste.

Local transport

Local public transport in Trieste is operated by Trieste Trasporti, which operates a network of around 60 bus routes and two boat services. They also operate the Opicina Tramway, a unique hybrid tramway and funicular railway that provides a more direct link between the city centre and Villa Opicina.


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 city's main language is Italian though there are many Slovene, Venetian and Friulian language speakers. There are also groups of German and Hungarian speakers.

Main sights


Castle of Miramare

The Castle was built between 1856 and 1860 from a project by Carl Junker working under Archduke Maximilian.

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.

Castle of San Giusto

Designed on the remains of previous castles on the site, it took almost two centuries to build. The stages of the development of the Castle's defensive structures are marked by the central part built under Frederick III (1470-1), the round Venetian bastion (1508-9), the Hoyos-Lalio bastion and the Pomis, or "Bastione fiorito" dated 1630.


  • The Cathedral of San Giusto.
  • The Serb-Orthodox Temple of Holy Trinity and St. Spiridio (1869). The building adopts the Greek-Cross plan with five cupolas in the Byzantine tradition.
  • Basilica of San Silvestro (11th century)
  • Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (1682)
  • Church of San Nicolò dei Greci (1787). This church by the architect Matteo Pertsch (1818), with bell-towers on both sides of the facade, follows the Austrian late baroque style.
  • Israelite Temple of Trieste (1912)

Archaeological remains

  • Arch of Riccardo (33 BC). It is an Augustan gate built in the Roman walls in 33. It stands in Piazzetta Barbacan, in the narrow streets of the old town. It's called Arco di Riccardo ("Richard's Arch") because is believed to have been crossed by King Richard of England on the way back from the Crusades.
  • Basilica Forense (2nd century)
  • Palaeochristian basilica

Roman theatre

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.

Italian writers

Austrian writers

Slovenian writers

Other writers

Other famous people

Other Trivia

  • From 1901-1906, Bronx-born, Tucson-reared Fiorello LaGuardia served in the American consulates in Budapest, Trieste and Fiume, before returning to the US to study at NYU Law School. Trieste was his mother's hometown.
  • Assicurazioni Generali briefly employed Franz Kafka in their Prague office.
  • The first men to reach the very deepest point in the oceans (the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench), used a special bathyscaphe named Trieste in 1960.
  • The city was honored with a reference to a starship named the Trieste in the Star Trek: The Next Generation first season episode "11001001". The ship was stationed sixty-six hours away from Starbase 74 during the Bynar supernova incident. The starship name was related to the special minisub (bathyscaphe Trieste) of Jacques Piccard that touched in 1960 the bottom of the Pacific ocean, "boldly reaching" new frontiers for mankind.
  • Listed as a location for filming of the popular Francis Ford Coppola movie, The Godfather: Part II (released December 1974).

See also


Further reading

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