The University of Trieste is a medium-sized university in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in northwest Italy. The university was founded in 1924 and consists of 12 faculties with about 23,000 students and 1,000 professors.
Before World War I, when Trieste was still a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Italian-speaking population strongly supported the idea of building a university in the town, but Austrian authorities repeatedly rejected the proposal. After the annexation of Trieste to Italy, the already existing Superior School in Commerce was granted the same rights of similar schools in Italy, and in 1924 it was turned into a university, by king's decree (8 August 1924, n. 1338). In 1938, with the institution of the Law faculty, the second after the Economy and Commerce faculty, the University became a Studium Generale (General Studies) one, and thus was given the title of Regia Universita degli Studi (King's University). In the same year, the construction of a new building to house the faculties began on the Scoglietto hill, in a position dominating the Old City.
The university main building hosts the directive board and some faculties was designed by architects Raffaello Fagnoni and Umberto Nordio. The first stone was posed in a ceremony on 19 September 1938 in the presence of the Italian Prime Minister and other authorities. World War II slowed down the planned enlargement of the University. After the war, Trieste was put under the joint control of the United Kingdom and the United States of America, in preparation for the establishment of a fully independent State, the Free Territory of Trieste, which nevertheless never came to exist. In 1954 Trieste was given back to Italy thanks to an agreement between the American and the Italian governments.
On the left side of the building a statue of Minerva is dominating over the city of Trieste. Originally has the drawing of the sculpture reached the university collections on the occasion of the National Exhibition of Contemporary Italian Painting, set up in the Aula Magna of the university in 1953. At that juncture, the organizing commission decided to request graphic proofs from the sculptors. Mascherini, like a few other colleagues, enthusiastically adhered to the Rector's proposal by presenting this simple tableau made in strokes and without chiaroscuro, which from a compositional point of view is perfectly in line with the compositional rhythms and cadences of his best sculptural works of those years: even if taken on the other side, the Minerva outlined in the drawing is in fact almost identical to the Sappho made in bronze the previous year.