Since the 11th century the town had two different development plans: the higher citadel or superior land and the village or inferior land. The first played a political-administrative role and the second a rural-commercial role. In the 16th century the area passed under Austria and the city spread out at the foot of the castle becoming, in the middle of the 18th century, an archiepiscopal see with jurisdiction over the diocesis of Trieste, Trento, Como and Pedena.
Around the baroque cathedral where many treasures of the Basilica of Aquileia had been transferred, a new quarter developed; it had a typically 18th century appearance and inside there was also a synagogue, one of the many examples of the town's multi-ethnic nature. Gorizia was seriously damaged by both World Wars but after the second it suffered for the reduction of its territory and for the division of the city by the Italian - Slovenian border.