1. Three centuries of Free Port, a story to be read and watched, milestone by milestone.

    It starts in 1719, the year Trieste enters the modern era.
    Scrolling down the timeline, you’ll find the dates that marked the history of the port and the life of the city over the past 300 years.

  2. 1719

    On March 18th, the Austrian Emperor Charles VI established the Free Port of Trieste. The same year the Imperial Privileged Oriental Company was founded to promote trade with the East. Issuance of the Free Port Patent, which coincides with the birth of modern Trieste, had been preceded by the 1717 Trade Patent for Free Navigation in the Adriatic, which put an end to the monopoly of the Republic of Venice.

  3. 1722

    Institution of the Trieste Tribunal of Mercantile Exchange, as an organ ruling over trade, maritime and exchange controversies.

  4. 1754

    Institution of the Academy of Commerce and Navigation.

  5. 1755

    Foundation of the Mercantile Stock Exchange. The population of Trieste has reached almost 11,000 inhabitants.

  6. 1766

    Empress Maria Theresa extends the free port privileges to the entire city and surrounding localities up to the Carso area.

  7. 1775

    The Asiatic Imperial Company of Trieste is set up. This is the only Company of its kind in a Mediterranean port.

  8. 1781

    Emperor Joseph II issues the Edict of Tolerance, which extends religious freedom to the Jewish and Christian communities and allows their participation in the economic life of the city.

  9. 1797

    Start of the French occupation at the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Italian campaign, which leads to a deterioration of the economic and commercial situation of the city and port.

  10. 1807

    The shipping firm Francesco Parisi, one of the oldest in Europe, is founded.

  11. 1814

    With the return of Trieste to Austria, the city enters a phase of intense demographic and economic growth, mostly the result of the situation of peace in the Mediterranean.

  12. 1831

    Founding of the Imperial Royal Privileged Austrian-Italian Generali Insurance Company, promoted by Giuseppe Lazzaro Morpurgo.

  13. 1833-36

    Institution of the Austrian Lloyd Insurance Company, from which the Austrian Lloyd Navigation Company will arise. The founders are Giovanni Guglielmo Sartorio and Francesco Taddeo Reyer, with the contribution of Karl Ludwig von Bruck.

  14. 1838

    Foundation of Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà (Adriatic Reunion Security Company).

  15. 1853

    Laying of the foundation stone of the Austrian Lloyd Arsenal, designed by architect Hans Christian Hansen, in the presence of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian.

  16. 1857

    Completion of the railway line to Vienna, the Southern Railway (Südbahn). Emperor Francis Joseph inaugurates the terminal station of the Trieste-Vienna railway line (now the Central Station), designed by the engineer Carlo Ghega.
    The city counts about 105,000 inhabitants.

  17. 1865

    Approval of the project, designed by the engineer Paulin Talabot, for the construction of a “new” port (today’s Old Port) next to the railway station and integrated with the rail line. The works, started in 1868, are assigned to the Southern Railway Company. At first, the plan includes the construction of only three piers, completed in 1883; in 1887 the works resume to expand the port areas.

  18. 1869

    Opening of the Suez Canal. The port of Trieste benefits from the canal as it represents the fastest route to connect the Mediterranean with the Indian and Pacific Ocean. Pasquale Revoltella, among the promoters and major supporters of the initiative, becomes Vice-president of the Suez Canal Company.

  19. 1880

    The Public General Warehouses are established, under the control of Trieste Municipality and Chamber of Commerce. Their function is to manage the port infrastructure, to process and store the goods, and to plan future modernizing actions.

  20. 1883

    The first port warehouses become operational.

  21. 1887

    The construction of pier IV, facing San Carlo pier (now Audace) is completed.

  22. 1890

    Completion of the Hydrodynamic Plant which, by means of technologically advanced machinery, supplied the energy needed for operating the mechanical equipment, cranes and elevators powered by pressurized water.

  23. 1891

    End of the city’s Free Port status. Customs exemptions are limited to the area of cargo handling and initial processing.

  24. 1894

    The General Warehouses become state-run.

  25. 1895

    Construction of the customs entrances to the port in the area of what’s now Largo Santos, following the new delimitation of the free port area.

  26. 1898

    Work starts for the construction of pier V (Sant’Andrea).

  27. 1900

    The Vienna Government issues a decision to develop the New Port in the area of Sant’Andrea

  28. 1906

    Opening of the Trieste Sant’Andrea station (later renamed Campo Marzio), as the terminal station for the Trans-Alpine Railway (completely opened in 1909), to connect Trieste to Salzburg and Prague. Opening of the new railway line reinforces the importance of the industrial and port settlements to be realized south-east of the city.

  29. 1909

    Beginning of the construction of pier VI, the warehouses, hangars and railway tracks of the New Port.

  30. 1913

    Trieste is the third richest city in the Empire and its population counts about 240,800 inhabitants.

  31. 1914

    The Trieste Technical Establishment builds Ursus, a floating pontoon and major engineering feat for the time, mounted with a crane capable of lifting 150 tons to a height of 75 metres.

  32. 1914-1918

    World War I. The port of Trieste continues to operate until 1915, when Italy enters the war.

  33. 1919

    Foundation of Ellerman & Wilson Lines Ltd., now Samer & Co. Shipping SpA.

  34. 1924

    Mussolini centralizes the administration of Italy’s ports and a Ministry of Transportation and Communications is set up. Consolidation works resume on the piers of the New Port at Sant’Andrea, many of them damaged during the war.

  35. 1927

    The administration of the General Public Warehouses adapts to the new Italian legislation and becomes a mixed public and private body called Company for the Management of the Trieste General Warehouses.

  36. 1929

    Institution of the Anonymous Company of the Industrial Area of the Port of Trieste.

  37. 1930

    Inauguration of the Maritime Station, built according to the design of Giacomo Zammattio and Umberto Nordio.

  38. 1936

    Foundation of Finmare, in a context in which 90% of Italian mercantile tonnage (cargo and passengers) is owned by the state through the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), set up in 1933.

  39. 1937

    The Aquila refinery located in the Muggia valley starts operations. The same year the grain silo at the root of pier VI is inaugurated.

  40. 1938

    Laying of the foundation stone of the Dock Workers’ Home (Casa del Lavoratore Portuale), officially inaugurated in 1940.

  41. 1939

    Beginning of World War II. The total surface of the port facilities exceeds one million square metres.

  42. 1943-1945

    During the German occupation, the Sant’Andrea port facilities are damaged by the Anglo-American bombings.

  43. 1946

    Under the Allied Military Government (AMG), the works to restore the port facilities are begun

  44. 1947

    By signing the Peace Treaty (in particular, Annex VIII), Italy confirms the existence of some free zones within the port of Trieste.

  45. 1948

    The Marshall Plan (1945-51). The port of Trieste is one of the very few fully functional ports, and is massively utilised to deliver aid to Europe.

  46. 1949

    On the initiative of the AMG, the Agency for the Industrial Port of Trieste (EPIT) is set up. Work is resumed in the industrial area of Zaule.

  47. 1954

    End of the Allied Government. The port infrastructure, for which an international administration had been suggested, becomes once again an Italian institution.

  48. 1956-1967

    As a result of the Arab-Israeli wars, the Suez Canal is closed, turning the Mediterranean into a closed sea, with heavy repercussions on the traffic of the port of Trieste.

  49. 1958

    The port Urban Plan, drafted the previous year, is approved.

  50. 1963

    Trieste becomes regional capital of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, which is assigned some functions within the port.

  51. 1965

    An extensive series of works to expand and modernise the port is started, including the construction of pier VII, completed in 1972.

  52. 1967

    Institution of the Trieste Independent Port Authority (law n. 589), which takes over the management of the General Warehouses.
    Docking of the first crude oil tanker and inauguration of the Trans-Alpine Oil Pipeline (TAL), managed in Italy by the Italian Trans-Alpine Pipeline Company (Società Italiana Oleodotto Transalpino, SIOT).

  53. 1971

    The Lloyd Triestino shipping company starts to run several regular containerised lines, making Trieste one of the first Mediterranean ports to specialise in the handling of containers.

  54. 1972

    Terrorist attack on the Trans-Alpine Pipeline.

  55. 1974

    First unloading of a full container ship (Mikhail Prishvin) directed to pier VII and sailing from Australia, on behalf of Lloyd Triestino.

  56. 1981

    Suspension and then discontinuation of the Trieste waterfront railway line that connected the city’s two railway stations and hence the two sections of the port. The railway bypass tunnel that runs under the city to connect the Old Port and New Port is opened.

  57. 1986

    Silocaf, a highly modern plant for checking, sorting and processing coffee starts its activity.

  58. 1987

    Start of the “Sea Motorway” maritime connection between Trieste and Turkey.

  59. 1994

    With law n. 84 the Port Authorities are instituted. Port operations are privatised and assigned to specialised terminal firms, (terminaliste), which manage all operations related to cargo handling and related services. The Port Authorities retain their general functions of coordination, control and promotion.

  60. 2005

    Departure of the first “Rolling Highway” train for combined sea-road-rail transport, better known as RoLa (Rollende Landstraße), serving traffic between Trieste and Turkey.

  61. 2014

    The Italian Parliament transfers the international status of Free Port from the Old Port of Trieste to other areas logistically connected to the port. With the privatisation of the Old Port, the area subsequently passes under the ownership and administration of the Municipality of Trieste, with the exception of the strip of public land along the quays.

  62. 2015

    Construction works start for the new Logistics Platform multipurpose terminal, which marks the beginning of the south-eastward expansion of the port of Trieste, along the lines established in the following Urban Plan.
    At the end of the year, a new model introduces a single management of train movements within the port, eliminating the previous double management and producing considerable benefits in terms of time and costs. This single management is assigned to the company Adriafer, 100% controlled by the Port Authority

  63. 2016

    Approval of the new Urban Plan of the port of Trieste. Law decree of 4 August 2016 institutes 15 Port Authorities. The Trieste Port Authority becomes Port Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea, which in 2018 will also encompass the port of Monfalcone. The Trieste port Agency for Port Work (Agenzia per il Lavoro Portuale, ALPT) is set up. The Julian port becomes the first railway port in Italy with over 7,600 trains moved and is confirmed as the first Italian port for overall freight handling, which exceeds 59 million tons.

  64. 2017

    The Italian government issues the decree implementing the law on Free Port Areas. The president of the Port Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea has the power to change the areas having Free Port status. The Consortium for Local Economic Development of the Julian Area is set up, which replaces in its competencies the Agency for the Industrial Zone of Trieste (EZIT).

  65. 2018

    The port handles over 62 million tons of goods. Historic record for containers (725,500 TEU) and rail traffic (almost 10,000 trains).

  66. 2019

    nauguration of FREEeste, a new industrial free zone of the port of Trieste at Bagnoli della Rosandra, with transfer of the status of Free Port Area.