Make a guided tour of Trieste situated in the smallest province of all but certainly not the most unimportant one.
The province of Trieste
TRIESTE AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
GUIDED TOUR / WALKING TOUR TRIESTE
The province of Trieste is not only the smallest province of the region but also the smallest province in the whole of Italy! This has not always been the case. Trieste only belongs to Italy after the end of the First World War. Before that it was part of the Habsburg Empire starting from the middle of the 14th century. until 1918. Between the First and Second World War the province of Trieste included a large part of the nowadays neighbour Slovenian.
However, this part had to be returned to the former Yugoslavia after the Second World War.
What remained, is as we say, 'small but beautiful' and worth visiting. Not only for the culture aspect but also to enjoy the special naturalistic karst landscape. This province has a highly calcareous soil which can be explored making a hike above Trieste on the Napoleon Trail or in the nearby Nature Reserve Val Rosandra.
The Karst landscape provides a rugged landscape made out of white rocks and cliffs that follows the coastline and Gulf of Trieste, offering you some spectacular views. Cruising your car directly over the panoramic coastline-road is an absolutely feast for the eyes.
The main attraction is of course the capital and biggest city Trieste, also known as the "little Vienna by the sea". In the surroundings of Trieste a must see are the castles of Duino and Miramare, both built on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. From Duino you can make a beautiful hike on the 2 km. Sentiero di Rilke' path that leads you right along the coastline with great views overlooking the sea.
If you don't have any time to visit Venice that distances a 2 hour train ride from Trieste, then got to the fishermen village of Muggia better known as the 'sister of Venice'. It seems like you are walking through some alleys of the real Venice. It's the last town in Italy before you drive into Slovenia and you can reach it with a 30 minutes boat trip from the shore of Trieste or by bus.
Trieste is known as the 'little Vienna by the Sea'. You can see this in the architecture, influenced by the Viennese Neoclassical style that was so popular in the 19th century. Not surprising since Trieste was under Habsburg Empire rule for centuries.
Trieste began to play a really important role when the nearby Venice lost more and more of its power in the 18th century and the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI, decided to take profit of this situation, founding the Free Port of Trieste.
The white fairytale castle gets its name from its location. Miramare means overlooking the sea.
The mid 19th century castle was built by the Habsburg Archduke Maximilian of Austria. He has known some happy years here together with his wife Charlotte, a Belgian princess. Their love story doesn't have a happy ending since Maximilian was sent to Mexico to become the Mexican Emperor. and was killed by the Republican supporters. His sister in law, Sissi, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph came here regularly on a visit.
CASTELLO DI DUINO AND THE KARST ROCK LANDSCAPE 'IL CARSO'
Actually you can find two castles in the village of Duino. Both are built on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, but that's where the similarity ends. The 'youngest' dates from the 15th century, while his older brother, was built about 400 years earlier and only a ruin is left.
In the early years of the 20th century, the 'youngest' castle was a playground for famous intellectual persons from the art and literary world who where invited here by the Thurn and Taxis family. One of them was the writer Rainer Rilke who was inspired by the castle in his work. Nearby the castle is a hiking trail named after him, known as 'il Sentiero Rilke'. The 2 km. trail runs high on the cliffs following the coastline, from here you enjoy a spectacular view over the Adriatic sea and the Gulf of Trieste. With clear weather you can even see the coastline of Slovenia.
Muggia is the last port town in northeastern Italy. If you drive a little further you enter Slovenia. A stroll through the town makes you feel like you are walking in Venice by which it was occupied for many centuries. The small fishing port, the narrow alleys climbing against the hill on which a castle stands and the many excellent (fish) restaurants make a visit to Muggia worthwhile.