The Victory Lighthouse was born from an idea of the Trieste architect Arduino Berlam who, after the defeat of Caporetto and the battle of the Piave, wanted to design an imposing work whose functions included the commemoration of the sailors who fell in the First World War and the guide for the night navigation in the Gulf of Trieste.
The works began in 1923 and the inauguration took place on May 24, 1927 in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III.
The Lighthouse was built on the Poggio di Gretta site, 60 meters above sea level and with a large base that incorporates the round
bastion of the former Austrian Fort Kressich, completed in 1854. One of the most important defense structures in the gulf and in the city, built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1854, remained efficient for almost thirty years. 12 long 48-pound, 5 short 48-pound, 10 24-pound, and 20 8-pound guns, a gallery with musket slots, a moat, a drawbridge, wide and deep dungeons and the connection to Barcola, all this constituted the Kressich Fort. The 68.85 meters high structure is clad in Orsera stone in the upper part and in Gabria karst stone in the lower part.
At the top of the column, the coffa, decorated with scales, supported by a capital and built in Naples, contains the bronze and crystal cage of the lantern.
On top of the dome there is the statue of Victory, 7.20 meters high, by the Trieste sculptor Giovanni Mayer, built in copper and weighing 7 quintals, forged in Giacomo Srebot’s workshop in Via Donato Bramante, a gift from the Trieste shipowners The peculiarity of the statue was that despite being made of metal it was able to be elastic under the gusts of the bora and that is to move its wings. In fact, its builder had inserted inside the statue a steel rod with a diameter of 20 centimeters equipped with a strong sleeve at the height of the chest and armed with spiral rotating metal arms and on the latter he fixed the statue which then came equipped with a support core with a long and sturdy foot fixed in the masonry.In this way the external pressure due to the strong wind was compensated by the movement of the internal tie rods.Srebot had established that every fifty years it was necessary to intervene inside the statue to regulate the wings and allow a balanced movement of the entire system. Trieste says that a few years ago an old man who claimed to be a collaborator of Srebot and who had come to regulate the internal system of the statue presented himself to the lighthouse keepers. The guardians thought he was crazy and turned him away …. Who knows …
At the base of the lighthouse, above the pedestal, is the statue of the unknown sailor (8.60 meters high) by Giovanni Mayer, made by master stonemason Regolo Salandini with the use of 100 tons of stone from Vrsar and, under the statue ,
the anchor of the destroyer Audace is posted, the first Italian warship that, on November 3, 1918, reached the port of Trieste, mooring at Molo San Carlo, since then called Molo Audace. The anchor was donated on February 3, 1924 by Admiral Thaon de Revel and the plaque reads “Made before any other sacred by the waters of the gem redeemed on November 3, 1918”. Next to the anchor were two shells from the guns of the Austrian battleship Viribus Unitis which are now placed alongside the entrance. In total, the Victory Lighthouse cost 5,265,000 Lire.
The monument is dedicated to the sailors who fell in the First World War, as testified by the sentence of the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio on the base “SHINE AND REMEMBER THE FALLEN ON THE SEA MCMXV – MCMXVIII”.