This detailed map of Trieste labels every street and all major sites, such as the ancient Castel de S. Giusta, the grand 19th Century Plazza del’Unita and the Art Deco Stazione Marittima. The key on the left identifies the major fixed lines of transportation, including trolley, tram, funicular, and railway routes.
The printer Adolfo Peterlin issued the map in Trieste in 1955, the year after the city was returned to Italian administration in the wake of the reorganization following World War II. From 1382 until the end of the World War I, Trieste was the main port city of the Austrian Habsburg Empire. Following that conflict, Trieste, a large part of neighboring Slovenia and all of the Peninsula of Istria were given to Italy.
Trieste had traditionally been a nexus of Italian, Slavic, Germanic and Jewish cultures and, for the most part, the different cultural communities had gotten along quite well over the centuries. Indeed, there was quite a bit of intermarriage between the communities. This all changed from 1920 under the new Italian Fascist regime, particularly after the ascension of Mussolini to become ‘Il Duce’ in 1922. The regime embarked upon a policy of forced ‘Italianization’ of the over 500,000 non-Italians in Trieste province. Right wing hooligans migrated to the city from other parts of Italy. The resulting Fascist mobs were particularly hard on the Slovenian community, torching their cultural centers, shops and homes. Many Slovenians emigrated, while others organized the anti-Fascist TIGR resistance movement, the forerunner to the Slovenian Partisans of WWII. In spite of all the turmoil (and maybe, in part, because of it), Trieste had an artistic renaissance during the 1920s and 30s, when music, the visual arts (such as the Avant-garde and Dada) and Art Deco architecture flourished.
Following the Axis defeat in World War II, Trieste was taken over by Allied forces and, in 1947, was made the capital of a provisional state, the Free Territory of Trieste, under Western Allied supervision. This arrangement was facilitated as a temporary measure until the permanent sovereignty of the city and the surrounding region could be decided. The demographic problem was that the city of Trieste proper was overwhelmingly ethnic Italian, while the surrounding countryside was overwhelmingly Slovenian.
In 1954, after years of tense discussions, a settlement was reached by which Trieste, its immediate surroundings, and narrow strip of coast connecting it northwestwards was given to Italy; while all of the rest of the countryside was given to Yugoslavia. The Free Territory was dissolved and the sovereignty transfer was enacted, although Italy and Yugoslavia would not formally agree to the division until the Treaty of San Osimo in 1975.