Southampton’s Twin

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Southampton has been twinned since 2002 with a city in Italy called Trieste.

To the majority Trieste is probably unknown, overshadowed by the most famous Italian cities such as Venice, Florence or Rome.

This article will point out the main strengths of this charming corner of Italy.

Main Characteristics

Trieste is on the extreme North-Eastern Italian coast,  geographically in the Slovenian region but politically administrated and considered as part of Italian territory.  It has about 200.000 inhabitants.

For its strategic position, Trieste has historically represented the meeting point of Central- European and Mediterranean cultures and an important strategic zone to conquer and control.

The city has been stable for the last ten years in the top 10 Italian Cities for the quality of  life.

Painful history

Standing above the Adriatic Gulf the city has been contended by different European powers to monopolise the commercial traffic between East and West.

Century by Century, Trieste passed under the domination of the Republic of Venice and the Austrian influence, later turned into the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The 20th Century saw the most tragic period of Trieste’s history. Because of the “Germanization” and the “Slavization” processes ordered by the political leaders, many repressive and discriminatory initiatives were carried out against Italian residents and this resulted in the forced expulsion of 35.000 people between 1903 and 1913.

From 1943, Trieste suffered both the Nazi occupation then and the Yugoslav one. Because of the contention of the territory among Italy, Germany and Yugoslavia the fights turned into the gloomy epilogue:  the eventual predominance of the Slavic Communist Governance ended with the “Foibe Massacres”. Hundreds of Italian opponents, dissidents and arbitrarily accused civilians were summarily executed and their corpses were deposited in the Karst sinkholes.

Trieste was definitely declared as part of Italian territory only in 1975, after decades of negotiations.

Joyce’s Choice

Despite its painful past, Trieste was the crossing point of many different cultures and has been characterised with an intellectual liveliness. Several international authors and artists lived in Trieste while completing their works, including Reiner Maria Rilke, Richard Francis Burton, Italo Svevo and even James Joyce.

The Irish author lived in Trieste from 1905 and the 1920 when Ezra Pound invited him to move to Paris. During  his stay in the Italian city, James Joyce composed the first three chapters of his famous “Ulysses”. The city involved him so deeply that the author wrote in a letter dated November the 29th 1909 to his beloved Nora: “My soul is in Trieste”.

Main attractions

Today, Trieste offers many different attractions to the visitors.

First of all don’t miss the chance to see the numerous archeological sites dated back to Roman domination.

Furthermore, the city is home to several peculiar museums mainly related to art, history, literature, theatre, science and technology, as well as Neoclassic, Liberty, Eclectic and Neo-Gothic style of architecture.

Today, Trieste is known as “The Science city” thanks to important,  scientific structures such as ELETTRA Synchrotron, the International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), and the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA).

Planning a journey

From the UK,  Trieste is easily attainable by plane with the main low-cost airlines which fly from London and Birmingham to the local Airport.

Otherwise, if you are spending your holidays in Venice or in Slovenia don’t forget that Trieste is well linked by train, and the tickets are really convenient!

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