The port of Trieste, standing at a crucial strategic point at the head of the Adriatic, had a turbulent history in the mid-twentieth century. With the disappearance of the Habsburg Empire after the First World War, it passed into Italian hands. During the Second World War, the Nazis reclaimed the city as part of the Reich. In 1945, Trieste slipped through Tito's fingers and was internationalised under Allied military government control, returning to Italian sovereignty in 1954. This book examines Trieste's transformation from an imperial commercial centre at the crossroads of the Italian, German and Balkan worlds to an Italian border city on the southern fringe of the iron curtain. Concentrating on local sources, the book shows how Triestines, renowned for their cosmopolitan Central European affiliations, articulated an Italian civic identity after the First World War, and traces the fitful process of affirming Trieste's Italianness over the course of nearly four decades of liberal, Fascist and international rule. It suggests that Italianisation resulted from complicated interactions with Rome and interference by international powers attempting to strengthen Western Europe at the edge of the Balkans.