Friuli-Venezia Giulia traditionally receives less than its fair share of recognition, but this region has served as inspiration to a number of prominent literary figures. James Joyce lived in Trieste for 12 years, during which he wrote most of Ulysses; Ernest Hemingway drew part of the plot for A Farewell to Arms from the region’s role in WWI; and Freud and Rilke both worked and wrote here. The city of Trieste attracts large numbers of tourists to the cheapest beach resorts on the Adriatic.
A long-disputed piece of real estate among Italians, Austrians and Slavs, Trieste (pop. 230,000) finally became part of Italy in 1954, yet it still remains divided between its Slavic and Italian origins. While Trieste’s fast-paced center, with Gucci-clad locals and bustling quays, is undeniably urban, the colors of the surrounding Carsoian hillside and the tranquil Adriatic Sea temper the metropolis with stunning natural beauty. The Citta Nuova, a grid-like pattern of streets lined with crumbling Neoclassical palaces, centers around the Canale Grande. Facing the canal from the south is the striking Serbian Orthodox Chiesa di San Spiridi-one. (Dress modestly. Open Tu-Sa 9am-noon and 5-8pm.) The ornate Municipio complements the Piazza dell’Unita d’ltalia, the largest piazza in Italy. Take bus #24 to the last stop (‚0.90) to reach the 15th-century Venetian Castello di San Giusto, which presides over Capitoline Hill, south of P. Unita (the city’s historical center), and includes a museum. From P. Goldoni, you can ascend the hill by the Scala dei Giganti (Steps of the Giants), a daunting 265-step climb. (040 31 36 36. Castle open daily 9am-sunset; free. Museum open daily 9am-lpm; ‚1.60.) Piazza della Cattedrale overlooks the sea and downtown Trieste. The archaeological Museo di Storia e d’Arte, V. Cattedrale 15, is down the hill past the duomo. ( 040 37 05 00. Open Su and Tu-Sa 9am-lpm. ‚1.70.)
Trains leave P. della Liberty 8, down C. Cavour from the quays, for Budapest, Hungary (12hr. 2 per day, ‚73) and Venice (2hr. 2 per hr. ‚8.20). The APT tourist office is at P. dell’Unita d’ltalia 4E, near the harbor. ( 040 347 83 12; fax 040 347 83 20. Open M-Sa 9am-7pm.) Hotel Alabarda , V. Valdirivo 22, is near the city center. All rooms have high ceilings and satellite TV. From P. Oberdan, head down V. XXX Ottobre, and turn right onto V. Valdirivo. ( 040 63 02 69; www.hotelalbarda.it. Internet access ‚5.20 per hr. Singles ‚32-34, with bath ‚47; doubles ‚44-4967. AmExMCV.) To get from the station to Ostello Tegeste (HI) , V. Miramare 331, 4km away just south from Castle Miramare, take bus #36 (‚0.90), which leaves from across V. Miramare, and ask for the Ostello stop. From there, walk along the Barcola, following the seaside road toward the castle which has a charming view of the Adriatic Sea. (sfax 040 22 41 02. Reception daily 8am-l 1:30pm. Dorms ‚ 12. Nonmembers add ‚3.) For cheap food, stop by Euro Spesa supermarket at V. Valdirivo 13F, off C. Cavour. (Open M-Sa 8am-8pm.) Postal Code: 34100.
Piedmont has been a politically influential region for centuries, as well as a producer of fine food and wine, which Piedmontese insist is the best in Italy, and thus internationally. After native-born Vittorio Emanuele II and Camillo Cavour united Italy, Turin served as the capital from 1861 to 1865.
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