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San Giusto Castle – The Melon

The traditional symbols of the city of Trieste are two: the halberd of Saint Sergius and the so-called “Melon”. Both of them were located on the top of the bell tower of San Giusto Cathedral.

We already talked about the halberd (see here), whereas today we are going to talk about the Melon. The Melon is actually an acroterion made of sandstone. An acroterion is a carved decorative element in the round placed on the apex of the roof of a building. In this case, it is molded into twelve wedge-like ribs, to which we owe the popular identification with the fruit.

Standing 1.13 meters high, it has a maximum circumference of 2.15. Moreover, it is crowned by a faithful copy of the halberd of Saint Sergius, whose original is kept in the Cathedral’s Treasury.
It is said that in April 1421 lightning struck the bell tower of Trieste Cathedral. The spire was seriously damaged, so that it was decided to demolish it. On May 10, 1422 the Melon was removed and the high spire was replaced with a tiled roof, corresponding to the present form.

The Melon was then placed on the little wall that delimits the square of the Cathedral on the side of the homonymous street, just in front of the bell tower.
However, its wandering was not yet over. Moved in 1873 on the opposite side of the street of the Cathedral, it entered ten years later in the collections of the Civic Museums of History and Art, to then find its definitive location at the entrance of the Castle of San Giusto, bringing back to the memory of the citizens this curious and beloved symbol of the “civitas tergestina”.

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