Travel and Culture in
Friuli Venezia Giulia
The region of Trieste had been inhabited by the Carni tribe since the third millenium B.C., from which it has probably derived the name ‘Carso’. With the arrival of the Istrian population the period of the "Castellieri culture" started and developed in the Bronze Age in Istria. This period, that lasted until the Roman Conquest, takes its name from the fortified villages that sprang up in this area and which were exactly defined Castellieri. In fact, Trieste became a Roman municipality with the name Tergeste in the second century B.C.
The town kept on flourishing under the Roman domination until the fall of the Western Roman Empire, when it became a military Byzantine colony (788), passed under the Franks’rule and it established itself as a free commune at the end of the twelfth century.
Trieste had been in competition with Venice for two centuries and then, in 1382, decided to put itself under the protection of the Duke of Austria that lasted until 1719, when Charles VI of Austria declared Trieste a free port. In 1740 Maria Theresa of Habsburg, Charles VI’s daughter, succeded to the throne and the town of Trieste became one of the most important ports in Europe.
After the Napoleonic period (from 1797 to 1809), when Trieste lost its autonomy and its condition of free port was suspended, the Habsburg regained its possession in 1813. So Trieste became the third town of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918.
Under the Habsburg dominion Trieste gave life to a multiethnic community that was still rare in Europe and offered hospitality to religious rites and to literary men as Italo Svevo, Reiner Maria Rilke, James Joyce.
Thanks to its privileged condition as the unique commercial port of a certain importance in Austria, Trieste had always kept the cultural and linguistic ties with Italy in the course of time. In fact, even if German was the official language of bureaucracy, Italian (or better one of its dialects) was the most spoken language by the inhabitants and it was used in the meetings of the town council.
But the inhabitants of Trieste were sensitive to the irredentist movements that were present in Europe, (with this term we mean the ambition of a population to complete its own territorial unity, by acquiring some lands that are subject to the foreign rule –
unredeemed lands – on the basis of theories about an ethnic identity or of a previous historical possession, that can be true or presumed), so they supported the exploits of Garibaldi and the Risorgimento wars and, finally, at the end of the first world war, the town became Italian again.
Unfortunately the Second World War brought new tragedies with itself: Italy lost the war and Trieste was invaded by the Yugoslav troops led by Tito and thousands of Italian who were against this dictatorship were killed (the massacres of the "foibe" [dolines] – karst hollows which were used as common graves). Only the intervention of the allied broke this nightmare for Trieste.
On 4th November 1954 the town became the chief town of Friuli Venzia Giulia with the transfer of the public authorities from the allied administration to the Italian one.
The recovery after the war was laborious and very difficult and Trieste has succeeded in becoming the Capital of Science and Research in Italy only in the last twenty years, also by giving hospitality to one of the biggest technological parks of Europe and giving a job to thousands of young people.