According to the famous Travel Guides Lonely Planet, Trieste is the top city in their "10 unsung places to visit in the world" list. It's great that finally someone popular is making justice to this city, so different from the rest of Italy. There's so much to see here, from Roman remains to churches of great spiritual and artistic values, as well as a peculiar liberty style, but the famous Guide got it right: it is the elegiac sense of the past and Haspburg splendour what makes of this city a true jewel worth a visit.
After two centuries of oppression under the Republic of Venice, in 1382 the citizens of Trieste petitioned Leopold of Austria to become part of his domain. The city remained under the Austro-Hungarian protection until 1918, when it returned to Italians, which brought a decline to its degree of autonomy and prosperity. During those five centuries, Trieste became a city of cultural and commercial importance. After it was declared a free port in 1717, Empress Maria Theresa ordered the bonification of the salt pans area, where she wanted a canal to be built in order to allow the ships to load and unload goods in the heart of the city.
The buildings that reflected on those waters where warehouses that hosted additional flors for both servants and owners. The area that was built around it, known as Borgo Teresiano, was very elegant and full of neoclassical splendour, thanks to the Empress who designed this makeover. I found great pics of that Belle Epoque on this site for your joy. I am a sucker for these types of images, you know.
And I did more. For some of them, the ones of the most sensational buildings, I even took pics of their current aspect today, so that you can easily see the little difference they have undergone.
During her 40 years of wealthy gorvernment, though, Maria Theresa never ever paid a visit to Trieste. Maybe that's why there's no statue in her honour in the city and the only plaque that pays her homage was placed in 1992.
Visiting the Borgo Teresiano really brings you back in time, I recommend to start your tour of Trieste from here when you visit.
And when your eyes need some rest after so much beauty around, you can stop at Caffe Tommaseo, one of the historic ones. They will surely delight you in the uncountable ways they're unique for. Happy planning then!