Inside the Castle of San Giusto, the 16th-century Bastione Lalio houses the ‘Lapidario Tergestino’. This collection includes more than 130 items, mainly inscriptions and sculptures, which illustrate the history of Roman ‘Tergeste’: its monuments from the Capitoline hill, the sacred buildings, the Theatre and the necropoles.
The first room houses some of the better-known monuments, including the inscriptions which were affixed near the city gates to celebrate the building of the city walls and towers, whose construction had been commissioned by Octavian in 33-32 BC; and the base of the equestrian monument dedicated by the plebs tergestinorum to Lucius Fabius Severus, an eminent local citizen who became a Roman senator and thus managed to pass some laws that were beneficial for his native city. Additional items comprise an architrave dedicated to admiral Clodius Quirinalis, the base of an equestrian monument to Valerius Festus and two pyramidal altar tops bearing the symbols of Jupiter, Minerva and Juno.
The second room displays imperial inscriptions honouring the interventions of emperors Adrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius in the construction of public buildings in the city. The room also houses material from the ancient Roman Basilica, whose monumental archaeological remains can still be seen today in the square at the foot of the castle.
The large upper room houses sepulchral monuments. These are divided according to their place of origin and comprise altars, steles, cippi, urns and sarcophagi bearing the names of ancient local citizens. The room also includes a sector devoted to places of worship and deities, with dedications to Jupiter, Cybele, Silvanus, Bona Dea, Hercules and Minerva. The exhibition continues with material found during the excavation of the Roman Theatre. This consists of an exceptional series of statues, which used to decorate its scene. They include Venus, Bacchus, Apollo, Minerva, Hygieia and Aesculapius.
The Lapidario Tergestino’s last room is dedicated to the mosaics which were found in a lavish seaside villa in Barcola, on the outskirts of the city. These mosaics can be dated to between the end of the 1st century BC and the middle of the 1st century AD; they are characterised by the elegant taste of their rich owners and their attempt to imitate the villas of Augustus, Tiberius and Nero.
A fragmented marble statue of an athlete stands in the middle of the room. This is a copy from the time of Nero of the original bronze statue created by eminent Greek sculptor Polyclitus in the 5th century BC, and was also found in the villa. This statue itself shows how richly decorated the building must have been.
Comune di Trieste
Video by TCD
With the contribution of Friuli Venezia Giulia