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Piazzale della Transalpina


Piazzale della Transalpina takes its name from the Transalpina railway station which was inaugurated in 1906 by the Archduke Franz Ferdinand to connect Trieste with Jesenice and Central Europe. At the beginning of the century, the northern station of the city facilitated the arrival of tourists attracted by the mild climate of the "Austrian Nice".

After the First World War - during which the railway line was used for supplies of weapons and soldiers - Gorizia was annexed to Italy, and the Transalpina station lost its fundamental role of connection to the heart of Europe. In 1947, after the end of World War II and after two years of Anglo-American administration, the Paris Peace Treaties established that the square would be crossed by the new border between Italy and Yugoslavia. The 'French line' divided the centre of the city from Salcano and from the north-eastern county. The image of the allied soldiers marking the new border line with white chalk was deeply set into the memory of the Gorizians, who found themselves having to coexist with a suddenly divided territory. Episodes of houses separated from their own field, farm or barn were not at all rare.

Within a few months the people had to choose which country to opt for: in this decision, the political and ideological reasons were to be added to economic, work and family-related issues. Many were forced to separate from their families, to give up life plans or to leave their houses or their jobs. It was a critical choice: at least up until the Udine Agreement in 1955, it was only possible to cross the border with a special agricultural permit.

Piazza della Transalpina became the place of contact, both physical and symbolic, between the two sides of the border. For many years, the only things able to cross the fence, strictly guarded by the border guards, were quick glances, short sentences and a few packages thrown over it.

On the front of the station a red star and the words "Mi gradimo socijalizam"(We build socialism) in Slovenian soon appeared. On the 1st of May 2004, the day of Slovenia’s entry into the European Union, the green fence that had separated Gorizia from Nova Gorica for more than 50 years was torn down and the square regained its unitary character, across two states.