The diverse seaside city of Trieste, Italy, whose scenic setting near the rugged border with Slovenia (on the northeastern coast of Italy) is just 95 mi/154 km northeast of Venice, has been shunted back and forth between Italy and Slovenia for centuries.

Trieste is an excellent stopover point for travelers heading to the east, and the perfect gateway to the brilliant coast of Croatia. It's a bit out of the way for those not continuing on to Croatia, but if you are in the area, it deserves at least a day, if not two.

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