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Trieste, home to Italy's main free trade zone and capital of the prosperous Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is located in the far northeast of the country but you would not be criticized if you couldn't name it in a game of Trivial Pursuit. My family and I originally planned to stay just 48 hours touring the city known for its grand architecture and sprawling piazzas but is seen as too far off the beaten track for most. Trieste, with just over 200,000 residents, lives off its past as one of the most important cities of the Austro-Hungarian empire, arguably hitting its commercial peak during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa during the late 18th century.Back in 2004, the Italian financial newspaper "Il Sole 24 Ore" ranked Trieste as the best in the country for quality of life and services and eight years later "Lonely Planet" listed it as one of the most underrated travel destinations.The chief executive of the state's rail network Ferrovie dello Stato, Renato Mazzoncini, recently said it was important to link Italy's ports of the south to the north including Trieste with a near $7 billion rail investment plan.
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