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Trieste is located in the north east of Italy near the Slovenian border, that almost encloses it. There is only a narrow land connection with the rest of Italy. Trieste has often been at the mercy of great powers. The city was founded in the first century by Emperor Vespasian as a Roman colony. This was when the Arco di Riccardo was built in the Piazzetta Barbacan. In the twelfth century it became an independent city, but Trieste was in constant conflict with the powerful neighbor Venice. This is why the city sought protection under the House of Habsburg (Austria). The city retained independence until the seventeenth century when Austria took over the administration of the city and turned it into the country's main port and capital of the Adriatisches Küstenland. After the first World War Trieste was annexed by Italy.
The center of the city is the large Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia at the sea, on which you can find monumental buildings including the Baroque Palazzo Plenario Pitteri from 1870. There you can find a statue of emperor Charles VI too.
By the sea also stands Il Faro della Vittoria (Victory Lighthouse). It is a monument for the italian casualties during the First World War. At the foot of this lighthouse is the ship's anchor of the torpedo boat Audace, the first Italian ship that sailed into the port of Trieste in 1918.
At the Piazza della Borsa you can find two exhibition halls, the oldest has stately columns at the entrance. Both buildings are currently being used as theaters.
On the place where the Capitol stood in Roman times the cathedral San Giusto was built in the fourteenth century. The cathedral is in fact a combination of two older Romanesque churches. That can be seen in the choir where the floor is made of mosaics from a fifth century basilica. Near the cathedral stands the Museo Civico di Storia e Arte which possesses an extensive collection of artifacts from the prehistoric and Roman times. You can see amongst others statues that stood in the Roman amphitheater, at the bottom of the hill. Inside that amphitheater shows are given during summer months, for which it is temporarily covered, because it can rain quite often in this region.
Trieste has a large number of interesting museums. In the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica you can see works of Rubens, Velazquez and Fra Lippi, amongst others. Also, this museum has a salon decorated in the style of the eighteenth century. Modern art is on display in the Museo Revoltella. The collection was donated to the town in 1869 by Baron Pasquale Revoltella, who liked to surround himself with avant-garde art. Asian art can be admired in Trieste too, in the Museum for Oriental Art. In addition to a large collection of Chinese porcelain you can see Japanese drawings, musical instruments and weapons here.
Coffee has been playing a major role for centuries in Trieste. The internationally renowned coffee roaster illy has its headquarters here. There are numerous coffee houses in the city, including the nearly century-old historic Caffè San Marco.
One of the biggest attractions in the region is the Miramare Castle, situated about 7 kilometers northwest of Trieste. It was built in the mid-nineteenth century as a summer residence for Maximilian of Austria. The white castle is located in a large park right on the Adriatic Sea. In one of the halls hang paintings by Cesare dell'Acqua depicting the history of Miramare. The Throne Room is full of pomp and splendor, but the Austrian Emperor loved the sea and the smaller rooms have therefore been designed as a kind of cabin. In the bedroom stands the richly decorated bed that Maximilian and his wife Charlotte were gifted by Pope Pius IX. In the smaller castle, the Castelletto, stands a bronze statue of Maximilian.
The Grotta Gigante is another tourist attraction of large proportions. Literally, because this cave is a whopping 107 meters high and 280 meters long. Near this impressive cave you can find the Museum of Speleology.
Because Trieste is almost surrounded by Slovenia, the Slovenian coastal towns Copper and Piran are easily accessible by car. Or visit the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, which has a beautiful historical center and therefore also referred to as "little Prague".
If you want to explore Trieste in a relaxed fashion, best is to park your car at the harbor and continue on foot. You can only park for a fee in the entire center. Sometimes you can pay using a parking meter, but in other places there are parking attendants who can tell you where and how to pay.
The Trieste airport is named after the region: Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport. The airport is located 33 kilometers northwest of Trieste and is easily accessible by rental car, taking the Autostrada A4 (a toll road from Trieste to Venice). Take the exit Redipuglia and follow the SS14 towards Venice. The route towards the airport is clearly signposted.