Cavana Piazza in Trieste. Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy, situated towards the end of a narrow strip of Italian territory lying between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. Throughout history, it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic, and Germanic cultures, pop. 205,000 in 2009. It’s the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy. In the 19th century, it was the most important port of one of the Great Powers of Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean, it became the 4th-largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague). In the fin-de-siecle period, it emerged as an important hub for literature and music and underwent an economic revival in the 1930s. Trieste was an important spot in the struggle between the Eastern Bloc and the West after WW2. Today, the city is in one of the richest regions of Italy, and has been a great center for shipping, shipbuilding, and financial services. In 2012, LonelyPlanet.com listed the city as the world’s most underrated travel destination.