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Divided City

The menu tonight has pasta. And goulash. And even goulash on pasta.  A typical menu at a typical restaurant here. Gorizia Italy is a true border town. It also lies in the heart of one of the most contested areas of Europe over the last century. The result is a cultural blend of Italian meets Austrian meets Balkan meets Slavic. Gorizia was the front lines of some of the bloodiest trench warfare of World War I - still called the Great War here unlike other countries when the atrocities of WWI were overshadowed by the horrors of WWII. This is where Earnest Hemingway drove the ambulance for Italy and was wounded, and wrote A Farewell to Arms about that bloody experience. It was here in Gorizia that the Italians managed to push the Austrian-Hungarian Empire back after years of trench warfare and successful invasion that almost reached Venice. And the town of Gorizia was the tipping point on the Italian front for victory near the end of the war. The Treaty of Versailles at the end of WWI rewarded Italy with this former Austrian town that had been part of the Hapsburg empire ... along with other chunks of territory that reduced Austria to a relatively small, landlocked country. Italy lost over one million in that war. Slovenia was a subject state of the Austria and part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and many of the men who lived in this area were sent to the Eastern Front to fight Russia for Austria. The turmoil continued when the new State of Yugoslavia - including the country now known as Slovenia - was created and eventually became Communist under Tito, establishing a tense cold war border. The new communist government built a new city on the Communist side of Gorica at the edge of town called Nova