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    Italy’s Answer to Vienna

    Near the Slovenian border, Trieste combines the waterside setting of Venice with the elegance of Vienna. The Habsburgs ruled here for over 500 years and built Miramare Castle on a rocky outcrop to the northwest. Their other influences include stately Piazza Unità d’Italia, looking out to sea and spectacularly lit at night.

    But this is just a glimpse into Trieste's long and fascinating history. The 1st-century Riccardo Arch hides in a narrow street, and part-way up the hills behind the city center are Roman theater remains, with columns from the Roman forum standing next to San Giusto castle and cathedral.

    The most photographed church is Sant’Antonio Nuovo, overlooking a boat-lined canal. The nearby Stock Exchange has a colonnaded façade and its square hosts some of the city’s shops. The most popular cultural attraction is the Revoltella Museum of modern art, while more sobering is Risiera di San Sabba, a former concentration camp near the Palatrieste and Nereo Rocco sports stadiums.

    Water sports include windsurfing and kitesurfing from the port which is an important coffee importer. Unsurprisingly, the city’s Viennese-style coffeehouses serve top-quality brews, and the best is reportedly Caffè San Marco, once frequented by famous authors.

    Booking.com’s Trieste accommodations include hotels with pools, cheap apartments by the station and B&Bs near Ronchi dei Legionari Airport.