Jul 08, 2015

Trieste (Free Territory of Trieste)






Status: Administered Sovereign Territory

Population: 330,000

Area: 738 km²

Capital: Trieste (Trst, Triest)

Languages: Italian, Slovenian, Croatian









Trieste is represented at the UNPO by TRIEST NGO. They were admitted to the UNPO as a member on 28 November 2014.





The Free Territory of Trieste is a region on the Adriatic coast which has a multicultural community that reflects its turbulent history. The region is at the crossroads of Europe’s main cultural groups, Latin (to the West), Germanic (to the North) and Slavic (to the East). From 1382 to 1918 the region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the city of Trieste was one of its main cities and its main sea port. After World War I, in 1918, the territory became part of Italy which governed it until 1945, when it was turned over to a UK-US occupational administration that held sway over the area until 1947. In February 1947, the Free Territory of Trieste was set up by the United Nations via a treaty, which came into force in September of that year. The establishment of this territory was meant to accommodate the multicultural community and the claims by Italy and Yugoslavia on the territory. In 1954 Yugoslavia and Italy obtained civil administration of the Free Territory of Trieste. In  1975  Yugoslavia  and  Italy  signed  a  bilateral  treaty  to formalize their administration over the territory. The Treaty of Osimo came into force in 1977. Nowadays, the territory is administered partially by Italy (Zone A of the Free Territory) and partially by Slovenia and Croatia, as successor States of Yugoslavia (Zone B).



TRIEST is a non-profit organization established by the citizens of Trieste. It aims to achieve the complete finalization of the Free Territory of Trieste and of the Free Port of Trieste, while establishing links to cultural organizations in the city and acting as an umbrella organization for associations and groups that are actively defending the rights of the citizens of the city.



Nothing has changed in Trieste during the last decades. The population is declining and the Free Port is not working the way it should. International laws and rights of the Free Territory’s citizens are violated every single day. Multilingualism exists only on paper. Despite the end of the war in Yugoslavia and the opening of the borders around Trieste itself, the advantages in this area have been minimal, if any at all.

Today there’s a slow but steady — and constantly rising — awareness that Trieste is a special city in Europe, where diversity means richness. In this unique situation, the biggest demonstrations in the last decades have sprouted from many citizens (2012-2015), whose questions and petitions have gone completely unanswered by the Italian and local authorities.

According to activists, the Free Territory of Trieste still exists de jure, because the annexation of the territory by Italy and Yugoslavia and their subsequent bilateral agreement was illegal according to international law. TRIEST NGO, hence, aims to restore the de facto independence of Trieste and envisages the establishment of a multi-cultural State with Italian, Slovenian and Croatian as the official languages, reflecting the rich heritage of the region.



For more information on Trieste, including:

  • Statistics
  • Overview
  • UNPO Member Perspective
  • Current Issues
  • Historical Background
  • Culture and Environment
  • Important Facts


Please download our Trieste Member Profile Brochure.