On the weekend of September 2nd and 3rd, the tenth edition of the Maker Faire Trieste will take place at Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste. The event marks a grand celebration of ingenuity and makers, providing a showcase of creativity and technology by featuring inventors, creatives, attractions, experiments, and technological and scientific workshops for all ages. The event is organized by ICTP and the municipality of Trieste, with the support of the Regional Administration of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Over the course of two days, the main square of Trieste will transform into a true wonderland of makers, digital and traditional artisans, inventors, and researchers, all of whom will be prepared to accompany visitors, both young and old, on an exhilarating journey through creativity, technology, and science. The event will attract participants not only from the four provinces of Trieste, Udine, Gorizia, and Pordenone but also from beyond. Among the exhibitors, there will also be representatives from various Italian regions and European nations, including Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria.
The Maker Faire Trieste has undergone a significant evolution over its 10-year history, attracting thousands of visitors and hundreds of makers with their innovative ideas. After its start as Trieste Mini Maker Faire in 2014, the event has now gained international recognition, thanks to the efforts of the organisers, Carlo Fonda and Enrique Canessa from ICTP's SciFabLab. “The concept of the Maker Faire originated in the United States as a celebration of inventors and creatives. Back in 2013, Enrique and I visited the Maker Faire Roma, the first event of its kind in Europe beyond the United States,” recalls Carlo Fonda. “That event deeply impressed us: the enthusiasm, the abundance of ideas, and the variety of projects were astonishing. And so, upon returning to Trieste, we began to understand how we could replicate a similar event in our city.” This gave birth to the Trieste Mini Maker Faire in May 2014. This event was initially confined to a regional level and took place within the ICTP campus for just an afternoon. “For us, it was a leap in the dark; we didn’t know what to expect,” shares Fonda. During those years, the concept of makers was not yet fully understood or widespread.
From this small event, an important realization emerged: there was a strong interest in such initiatives and a genuine hunger for exploration and creation. However, in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, a permanent space where these creative individuals could come together was still lacking. Although ICTP had a 3D printing lab, it was exclusively reserved for scientists and inaccessible to the public. “The transformation into a FabLab required openness to the public. Thus, immediately after the first edition of the Trieste Mini Maker Faire, we converted the 3D printing lab into an authentic FabLab. This space not only remained available to scientists and researchers but was also opened to the maker community,” reveals Fonda.
Since that first Maker Faire in 2014, the event has been annually revived, growing in size and appeal. Starting from 2020, the Maker Faire found a new home in Piazza Unità d’Italia. “We transitioned from organizing an event aimed at expert and specialized individuals to an event that enlivens a vast square, appealing to a wider and more varied audience. Over the years, the event has undergone a transformation, evolving into a mass gathering,” Fonda continues.
But what does this tenth edition hold in store for us? In addition to the numerous creations and inventions by makers, the event will host a segment entirely dedicated to scientific outreach through a format called Science Picnic. This format aims to engage a younger audience, leading them to explore the creative side of human knowledge and develop a passion for science through play. Moreover, there will be the opportunity to explore interactive museums, listen to Trieste’s scientists as they present a series of lightning-fast talks to explain their research to the public, and even journey back in time to admire the giants of the Ice Age through a captivating exhibition. The event also will be populated by a variety of workshops and labs, providing an engaging and unique experience.
In its first decade, the Maker Faire Trieste has established itself as a beacon of creativity, innovation, and sharing, inviting each of us to discover, experiment and, above all, be inspired. Creativity is the foundation of human growth and development; creative thinking should be nurtured and encouraged at all ages. As stated by ICTP founder Abdus Salam, “Scientific thought and its creation is the common and shared heritage of mankind.” These words resonate particularly powerfully within the context of the Maker Faire.