High above the coastline of Trieste is a narrow ribbon of jagged rocks eroded by rain and wind, plunging into the sea without fear. This calcareous landscape of the Dolomite, called "carso" in Italian, conceals an underground world of vast caverns and grottoes, carved by the waters of the Timavo River, which runs from Slovenia to the Adriatic for much of its course.
There are acres of evergreen forests and flower-strewn ravines on the plateau above ground. The ground is peppered with large sinkholes that were created by collapsing cave vaults, dubbed "doline." The hot sea breeze here encounters the cold northeastern bora air, producing a fusion of Mediterranean and Alpine climates. Oak and spruce blend together with citrus trees and olive trees, while vineyards blanket the area. Over the plain passes only one body of water—the Rosandra River. Slicing through the shallow canyon of the Rosandra Valley near the eastern boundary of the Carso, these rivers once fed a seven-mile-long aqueduct to the ancient Roman city of Tergeste. The Val Rosandra Park is a nature reserve of 1,800 acres situated just southeast of Trieste. The hiking trails of the park give tourists regular breathtaking views, including a 118-foot cascade, the Roman aqueduct's remains, and a magnificent range shot of the Trieste Gulf.
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