Beautiful and cultured, Trieste is an extremely cosmopolitan city. There are still echoes of the glorious Habsburg past that made it the little Vienna by the sea and in its characteristic mixture of languages, peoples and religions one easily senses the city's combined Central European and Mediterranean souls. The heart of Trieste is its symbolic Piazza Unità d'Italia. The buildings around it perfectly summarise the city's history. From this beautiful place, the view sweeps on to monumental palazzi and the Trieste Canal Grande. In the distance, one can glimpse the white profile of Miramare, the romantic castle of Maximilian and Charlotte of Habsburg. However, Trieste is also the city of coffee and literature. You can find numerous cafés and time-honoured coffee houses with a lot of retro charm that were once the haunt of great novelists such as James Joyce, Italo Svevo and Umberto Sava. Taking a break in one of Trieste's old cafés is an unmissable ritual for which you even have to learn some special jargon: here, an espresso is a "nero", but what on earth is a "gocciato" or a "capo in b"?
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