Trieste/Trst, the capital of the Region of Friuli–Venezia Giulia, lies between the sea coast and the slope which rises towards the Kras plateau. It offers to visitors a true cultural, artistic and historical treasury: palaces, typical cosy nooks and old city coffeehouses which continue to exude the charm of the past times when men of letters, such as Italo Svevo, James Joyce, and Umberto Saba, used to sit by their tables.
Before World War I, when Trieste belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and enjoyed the status of a free port, it was the centre of commercial and cultural exchange between the Mediterranean and the German world. The multicultural coexistence was broken off at the end of the 19th century with the rise of nationalism and irredentism, which eventually led the Kingdom of Italy to enter World War I. Thus Trieste became one of the main goals of the Italian Army, but the powerful Austro-Hungarian line of defence Mt. Fajtji hrib–Mt. Ermada/Grmada blocked any attack on the city. The Italian Army occupied it only after the capitulation of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I. War events from more than a century ago are now commemorated by the names of city streets and squares, by numerous monuments and in museums.