Italy's most Austrian City
Trieste spent several centuries as part of the Habsburg empire and it shows. You'll see the occasional Venetian-style flourish here and there but Trieste is a cross-roads port city at its heart. With immigration encourages for centuries and a local dialect that mixes Italian, German, Croatian and Greek elements, Trieste has always been a melting pot since its inception. Trieste only became part of Italy after WWI and is now the capital of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region (which counter-intuitively does not include Venice – that's Veneto). They consume more coffee per capita here than anywhere else in Italy and a café culture that mixes the Italian 'al banco' quick shot of espresso mode and Austrian fin-de-siecle grand cafe style.
A medieval core and a 'modern' late Habsburg era seafront area are the usual focus but a revitalization project in the docks area is showing promise. The city's location, surrounded by Slovenia almost, makes it a good fit for a tour that combines Italy, Slovenia, and possibly Croatia; the Istria region is less than an hour away. Just outside the city limits, you'll be able to indulge in one of the area's unique pastimes, eating at an "osmiza". A practice that dates back to the Austro-Hungarian empire days when farms were allowed to sell their own produce to the public for eight days a year and keep the proceeds. That eight-day limit is no more but the tradition of heading into the hills for a meal or snack at a farm survives and thrives.
Where to stay in Trieste
A gorgeous hotel in the very heart of Trieste, this is a great option if you're looking for elegance and luxury in this wonderful destination.
A comfortable 3-star hotel in the center of Trieste, this is a great choice if you're looking for convenience.