Civico Museo di Storia Naturale di Trieste

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Civico Museo di Storia Naturale di Trieste
Trieste - Museo di Storia Naturale.jpg
LocationVia dei Tominz, 4 Trieste
Coordinates45°38′25″N 13°48′02″E / 45.640405°N 13.800529°E / 45.640405; 13.800529
TypeNatural history museum
Public transit access11, 22 buses

Civico Museo di Storia Naturale di Trieste is a natural history museum in Trieste, northern Italy. It contains several collections, including more than two millions botanical, zoological, mineralogical, geological, and paleontological specimens.


The museum was opened as a zoological museum in 1846 with the name "Gabinetto Zoologico Zootomico" and set in Palazzo Biserini in Piazza Hortis (ex Piazza Lipsia) in 1852, where has coexisted with the Civic Library and the literary museums until 2010. In 1855, under the protectorate of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, the museum was renamed "Civico Museo Ferdinand Maximilian". Through many donations and as a result of several international expeditions (such as the Novara frigate), the museum has developed a range of exhibits. While keeping a zoological address, it now has flora, geological, and paleontological specimens and a large library containing works in various languages.

In 2010, the museum moved to the new headquarter in via Cumano (entrance from via dei Tominz 4), next to Civico Museo della Guerra per la Pace Diego de Henriquez, with whom is part of an only museum center.[1]

Curators and Directors[edit]

Heinrich Koch - Honorary Director (1846-1852)

Heinrich Freyer - Curator (1852-1864)

Adamo Simeone de Syrski - Director (1866-1876)

Charles de Marchesetti - Director (1876-1921)

Mario Stenta - Director (1921-1928)

Giuseppe Müller - Director (1928-1945)

Edoardo Gridelli - Curator (1945-1957)

Renato Mezzena - (1960-1987)

Sergio Dolce - (1990-2010)

The collections[edit]


Botanical collection contains over 1,500,000 specimens, including herbaria of vascular plant from Italy and, especially, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in addition to seaweed, moss, wood, seed, and fruit collections. All the sections have the name of the scientist who carried out the collection.[2]


Zoological collections consist of several parts:


Paleontological collections consist of an historic collection and new addictions. The 19th century collection includes fish and leaf fossils from Bolca, Eocene specimens from Istria, and Late Cretaceous specimens from the Karst, such as fish and reptilian fossils from Komen (Slovenia). The collection contains also 300 fishes and nine reptiles, including Carsosaurus marchesettii ed Adriosaurus microbrachis. Among Quaternary specimens, the fossils from breccia di Slivia and the specimens of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) from Caverna Pocala (TS) are the most important. New addictions include fossils from Villaggio del Pescatore paleontological site. Among these, Antonio dinosaur, a specimen of Tethyshadros insularis dated 75 million years ago, is the most important exhibits of the museum.[3]

The museum include an exhibition hall referred to human evolution. This hall contains the Lonche mandible, a human mandible dated 6400 years ago. It is the first archaeological evidence of a dental filling treated with some substance, in this case beeswax.[4]


Mineralogical collection includes thousands exhibits, mostly from former Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy. In addition, core sampling from Grotta Pocala (TS) and Borgo Grotta Gigante are part of the collection.[5]

The Halls[edit]


"Wunderkammer is a place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited".[6] The museum has a hall dedicated to the original "Cabinet of Curiosities" that was established in 1846. The museum states on their official website that the hall is "a fundamental nucleus of any museum".[7]

The Scientific Cabinet[edit]

The Scientific Cabinet showcases the Enlightenment Period from the late 1700s. Its exhibits include apothecary stations, alchemist labs, and the natural sciences.


This hall is referred to paleontology in the Province of Trieste. Through its exhibits, the hall teaches visitors how fossilization occurs, both in water environment and in terrestrial environment. The hall contains a showcase with Rudists, ancient marine bivalves living on sea bottom became extinct 65 million years ago, that are the most common fossils in Karst calcareous rocks. Another showcase displays how the Province of Trieste and, especially, the Karst have developed from the geopaleontologic point of view. The last part of the hall is referred to the Villaggio del Pescatore paleontological site.[8]


This hall contains the dinosaur called Antonio (Tethyshadros insularis), a hadrosauroid dinosaur dated 75 million years ago, discovered in Villaggio del Pescatore paleontological site.[9] It is one of the most complete dinosaurs that have been collected. 4-meters long and 1.3-meters tall, Tethyshadros lived on an island in the Western part of Tethys Ocean, between Africa and Northern Europe.

The hall includes other dinosaur exhibits from the same locality: front legs, a vertebra, a pelvis bone, a skull. A showcase displays the linked fauna: fishes, crocodiles, shrimps, a pterosaur bone, and maybe a theropod one.

The Food Chain[edit]

This hall consists of three rooms. The first two rooms contain a parade of animals corresponding to their place of the food chain. The third room takes visitors into the city to observe the food chain and inner workings in a modern setting.


  1. ^ "La Storia | Civico Museo di Storia Naturale – Comune di Trieste". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  2. ^ "Collezioni Botaniche | Civico Museo di Storia Naturale – Comune di Trieste". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  3. ^ "Collezione di Paleontologia | Civico Museo di Storia Naturale – Comune di Trieste". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  4. ^ Bernardini, Federico; Tuniz, Claudio; Coppa, Alfredo; Mancini, Lucia; Dreossi, Diego; Eichert, Diane; Turco, Gianluca; Biasotto, Matteo; Terrasi, Filippo (2012-09-19). "Beeswax as Dental Filling on a Neolithic Human Tooth". PLOS ONE. 7 (9): e44904. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044904. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3446997. PMID 23028670.
  5. ^ "Collezione di Mineralogia | Civico Museo di Storia Naturale – Comune di Trieste". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  6. ^ "Wunderkammer - definition of Wunderkammer in English | Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  7. ^ "Civico Museo di Storia Naturale – Comune di Trieste". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  8. ^ "Le sale della fossilizzazione | Civico Museo di Storia Naturale – Comune di Trieste". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  9. ^ Vecchia, Fabio M. Dalla (2009-12-12). "Tethyshadros insularis, a new hadrosauroid dinosaur (Ornithischia) from the Upper Cretaceous of Italy". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 29 (4): 1100–1116. doi:10.1671/039.029.0428. ISSN 0272-4634.

External links[edit]