Bolca is an open air paleontological park

bolcaBolca is a village in the Lessini Mountains in Veneto, famous for its extraordinary fish fossils that were discovered in several areas of its territory, such as Postale, Pessara, Vegroni, Mount Purga and Spilecco. All these places together form the “paleontological park”.

Pessara (which means fishbowl) is the most famous location because this is were thousands of fish fossils were found in excellent condition. These specimens were so well preserved that you could see the amber color of the skin and even the internal organs were present. Postale is another scientifically important site, for the presence of brachiopods, gastropods and crustaceans. Vegroni is famous for the discovery of palms and sea turtle fossils, while Mount Purga is known for the discovery of a “crocodile” inside a mine. A total of 250 different species of fish fossils, besides other animals and plants have been discovered in Bolca.

The most famous of these fish fossils is the Mene rhombea, but other species include the Mene oblonga, the batfish Eoplatax papili,the spadefish Exellia velifer, the “angelfish” carangid Ceratoichthys, and a snake, Archaeophis bolcaensis.

All these fossils can be admired in the Fossils Museum in Bolca. Here you can learn about the history of the place, the methods used to extract the specimens and their conservation. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 12pm and from 2pm to 5pm November through February; and from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 6:30 pm March through October. Tickets are usually €4.00 for adults and €3.00 for kids and people over 65.