Trieste: the most loyal city

Trieste – German Triest, Slovenian Trst – is a big port on the upper Adriatic Sea in the north-east of Italy. Its eventful history was marked by many conflicts and at the same time by the meeting of different cultures and this influences the city to this day.

Trieste is situated immediately on the coast at the Gulf of Trieste above the Croatian peninsula Istria. Due to this favorable location the local port has always been of central significance, but also involved in political conflicts, because all countries within the environs – Italy, Austria-Hungary, Slovenia – were interested in this strategically and economically important place.

The history of Trieste probably began as market town “Tergeste”. As roman colony it developed for the first time into a significant place of transshipment. Under Hapsburg-Austrian dominion lasting from 1382 to 1918 the town won a reputation as trading and naval port. Finally Trieste was the only large sea port of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy. After the fall of the competitor Venice for a while Trieste was even the biggest trading center on the Adriatic coast.

The title “most loyal city” was given to Trieste, because in the course of the Italian reunification the city remained faithful to Austria. Nevertheless the area was awarded to Italy after World War One. Since 1962 it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli Venezia Giulia.

In retrospect the conflicts in and because of Trieste had also some positive aspects, because in this way different cultures, languages, traditions and religions had the opportunity to meet and this surely was a gain for the city. Till now there are living not only Italians, but also Slovenians, Austrians and other minorities.

As regards trade and economy, the harbor of Trieste still plays a leading role. Considering single products the province in Friuli Venezia Giulia is known for its grapes, which are thriving well on the dry, stony karst ground and which are pressed to excellent wines. In the hinterland of Trieste, rather between Opicina and Sistiana, there is also the wine route “Strada del vino Terrano” with many good wineries.

However, the most famous company in Trieste is the coffee producer “illycaffè”, which produces high quality espresso since 1933 and delivers it worldwide.