Ranked #60 of 73 attractions in Trieste
The Marine Aquarium of the City of Trieste dates back to 1933, a legacy from Habsburg times and the successor to the...
The Marine Aquarium of the City of Trieste dates back to 1933, a legacy from Habsburg times and the successor to the Sant’Andrea Marine Zoological Centre (1875 – 1915) where prominent scholars such as Sigmund Freud studied. The project was conceived by the zoologist Giuseppe Müller, who, at the time, was director of the Trieste Municipal Natural History Museum and the Trieste Aquarium remains one of the City’s leading scientific museums. The Aquarium of Trieste is located in a privileged position facing out to sea and the technical layout reflects the building’s original plan with water being collected directly from the sea at the end of the pier and pumped up to 18 m (almost 60 feet) in the Clock Tower from where it is piped to the tanks. The architectural layout of the building, largely reflecting its original plan, does not allow for the large tanks found in modern aquariums and each tank, down corridors and past columns, presents a specific theme or story on marine animal and plant life, species at risk and fishing techniques, particularly those typical of the Adriatic Sea, an enfilade of mussel farms, submerged artificial barriers, wrecks and port settings, reefs, rocks and sand on the bottom of the sea, together with a deep-sea scenario in a 10,000-litre octagonal tank that is home to sharks and rays from the Gulf of Trieste. The Marine Aquarium of the City of Trieste offers examples of exotic fish and coral reef species, but mainly presents local marine fauna, often more familiar as a line on a menu or for sale at a fishmonger’s. The upper floor is home to a reptile house where several snakes, lizards, amphibians and tortoises can be admired. Trieste - located between the sea and the karst plateau – has a long tradition of studies on vipers, reptiles and pond fauna begun by Giuseppe Müller, who started the Aquarium project. Local species are at the heart of the display, along with unusual exotic animals such as iguanas, pythons and boas that have been rescued after being abandoned, abused or let loose in and around the city. Next to traditional terrariums, where one can observe almost all species of vipers and snakes present in North-eastern Italy, there is a reconstructed karstic pond where the loudly-croaking frogs reproduce regularly.