Trieste, once an important Adriatic port for the landlocked Hapsburg Austrian Hungarian Empire, is now the capital city of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in North East Italy. Only a few miles from the Slovenian border there is a frequent bus service from the centre of the city to both Slovenia and Croatia. Trieste has an excellent rail link to the rest of Italy and with Venice only a two hour train journey away it is an interesting place to spend a few days en route to other destinations.
Often overlooked by tourists this small, safe city is charming and has a quiet, calm atmosphere which is more Eastern European than Italian. The city is full of open spaces with wide, open planned roads, large piazzas and stunning sea and mountain views. There are many beautiful old buildings with a strong Austrian influence, sadly now slightly run down and decaying but still elegant and impressive.
If you are travelling with children you will find that Trieste has much to offer with sea, mountains, caves, castles and several excellent science museums. There are not many tourist sites but the architecture, particularly some of the old maritime buildings along the waterfront, is impressive.
The most famous attraction is the nineteenth century Castello Miramare which was built for the Archduke Maximilian of Austria and is about five miles outside the city centre. Made from white Istrian stone and perched on a cliff above the Adriatic it is well worth a visit and both the castle and grounds are open to the public all year round.
In the city itself there is the lovely cathedral of San Giusto which dates back to the fourteenth century and was built on the site of an Augustan temple. Above it are the walls and the castle of San Guisto which was once the town's fortress.
Opposite the cathedral there is a small square which is home to 'Arco di Riccardo', a Roman arch or gateway believed to date back to the first century BC. The first century Roman theatre , near the town hall, is well preserved and can easily be viewed from the street.
The largest square in the city is the Piazza dell'Unità situated opposite the waterfront. This large and elegant open space is an excellent place to sit and relax as there are many bars and cafes and it is surrounded by impressive buildings.
Remember, Trieste is a very small city so nearly all places of interest can easily reached on foot.
Trieste is officially quadrilingal and although Italian is the official and most widely used language, Slovene, Ladin and German are also spoken along with the local dialect 'Triestine'.
Population density: 2,424.5 per square km
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