The frigate Novara and her circumnavigation

The Austrian frigate Novara was built as a military vessel at the Venice Arsenal between 1843 and 1850 and afterwards she was chosen by Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg to carry out the first Austrian circumnavigation of the globe for scientific purposes between 1857 and 1859. Converted into a mixed sail and steam propulsion ship (pirofregata) in 1862, her subsequent history is linked to the events of Maximilian and Charlotte of Habsburg and the Third War for Italian Independence on the Adriatic theatre, until her operation as a school ship and decommissioning in 1899.

Video introduction

Frigate Novara Timeline

This interactive timeline provides the opportunity to follow the progress in time and space of the circumnavigation of the globe by the Habsburg frigate Novara. Advancing from one stop of the Austrian expedition to the next along the timeline, it is possible to read a short extract from the voyage report concerning each port-city where the ship stopped, learn more about the naturalistic findings collected in that particular place by the scientists onboard the Novara, and access the printed accounts of the circumnavigation in the German, Italian, and English editions.


This section collects contents and insights related to the Novara circumnavigation. It is possible to consult the original accounts of the circumnavigation and browse through the printed articles that provided the European public with information on the expedition. Using simple geographical filters or clicking on points of interest on an interactive map, it is also possible to learn more about the naturalistic findings brought on board by the scientists as a result of their field research, and partially still available in the Museums of Natural History in Trieste and Wien.

Interactive 3D models

See the Novara digital interactive 3D models in its sail version (1843-1850) and mixed sail and steam propulsion (pirofregata, 1862). They have been created out of models of the ship built in different scales and comparing the original documentation of the construction phases. Thanks to the interactive functions, the ship can be “disassembled” and viewed in all details at 360°.


Mixed sail/steam propulsion

A Historical Geodatabase of European Global Navigation (1500-1900)
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