Civico Museo di Storia ed Arte

Warning – lots and lots of images ahead!

While my day started out overcast, it got sunnier as it progressed. It hasn’t really warmed much, but Michelle and I really didn’t need it to, as we were afoot for our visit to the Museum of History and Art.

We started out at Piazza Oberdan and walked over to climb the hill via the Scala dei Gigante. The fountain at mid-level of the stairs was running today. Last time I climbed it, the day I signed my rental contract for the apartment, the fountain was dry. It was a pleasant little interlude, though we didn’t stop there. We meandered our way to the Cathedral of San Giusto, taking a brief look at the Roman ruins there, and peeked into the cathedral’s gift shop before turning to head a little down the hill to the History and Art museum.

From our angle of approach, we passed the upper reaches of the Orto Lapidario, looking for an entrance into the museum. Everything was locked up, but the sign on the door said we were there during open hours, so we rang the buzzer and were met by a gent who said if we wanted to see the museum, we should go down to the front counter and get a ticket – €5 each. He spoke nearly no English, but I gathered that the Roman and Egyptian materials were on the main floor, and the prehistoric gallery was up above, and that the lapidario and the cenotaph of Johann Joachim Winckelmann were also open if we wanted to see them.

I enjoyed the museum’s collection of Roman and Egyptian artifacts, though they had a variety of items from other cultures as well, including a couple of cuneiform tablets, one of which had something to do with Marduk, according to what I could make out from the Italian informational card. The items were in a variety of materials, from glass and bronze to clay and stone. There were quite a few things from the city of Aquileia, which had been a major Roman port at one point, before the river dried up and the coast moved.

The lapidario had a fair bit of material in it, though the lower level felt rather like a graveyard of civic stonework. The collection included a couple of Arabic inscriptions and some Hebrew, presumably headstones, from what I could tell. The upper level, closer to the cathedral, held a wide collection of Roman era inscriptions and fragments.

Winckelmann’s cenotaph was in light, airy space. There were glass doors leading in, though they’d been left open at some point, as the floor was littered with scattered dry leaves. He was a German art historian and archaeologist who wrote foundational works on art history, and was an early proponent of scientific archaeology. Apparently he was particularly famous for being the first scholar to distinguish Greek from Roman art styles, which was something of a puzzle for a long time. He was murdered in Trieste in 1768 while waiting for a ship to Rome, after he’d been given gold medals by the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, whose statue stands in the piazza below my window.

By the time we’d finished our wander through the museum and the lapidario, we were quite hungry, so we wandered past the Arco di Riccardo before we stopped by Zoe Food, a restaurant that specializes in organic food, and vegetarian and vegan dishes. I thought it was pretty tasty; I had a meat taco, not expecting it to be particularly taco-like. What passed for their tortillas were obviously hand made, and thicker than I was used to, but the pico de gallo on top of the black beans and meat was quite good, if a bit mild.

I don’t know what all of these are but I’ll try to identify things I do recognize. So now, enjoy the photos!


Oil lamp with frog


I believe these guys are Serapis






Painted wood face and hands




Blue glass bowl


Bronze helmet


I think this one is a drinking horn


Pitcher with gryphon




I don’t know who this one is but the wings and bird feet are interesting


This looks Mithraic to me

These are from the lapidary garden, a wide variety of pieces from different periods.


Column capital


This guy needed a dentist


Faces from the walls of Trieste


Arabic inscription, maybe a headstone?


Hebrew headstone


Blossoms in the garden


Goat head


Do those look like eyes to you?


Retired ironwork from a balcony


Salvaged from someone’s headstone

Now we’re in Winckelmann’s cenotaph area.


Part of the gallery around the cenotaph




Greek inscription


I’m guessing more Greek funerary art

And this is from the upper level of the lapidario.


Tails of nereids?


Columns and a bit of the cathedral

And, finally, the Arco di Riccardo.


Trieste’s Roman arch, 1st century CE


8 thoughts on “Civico Museo di Storia ed Arte

  1. Question…what was the “hat” that was on Herecles’ head? Looks like part of an animal.
    Great stuff, Samster. Keep it up. Mummy is impressed ❤

    • Heracles wore the skin of the Nemean Lion, which he had killed as the first of his twelve labors. It’s one of the ways to tell if a statue is Heracles – look for a lion skin. Glad you like the pics, momster!

  2. The first picture you have of the Nereids seems to also have a Palaimon (or perhaps Taras) at the bottom–i.e. little kid on a dolphin! 😉

    Also, you do know Winckelmann is a MAJOR Sanctus because he studied so many of the Antinous sculptures owned by Cardinal Albani, and may have been a secret cultist of his, right? 😉 I didn’t know he had a cenotaph there, though–very interesting!

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