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Monte San Giorgio, the charm of a lost world

Lugano and its surroundings in Switzerland will surprise you with all their natural beauties and attractions. Discover Monte San Giorgio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important fossil deposits in the world.
Dating back 200 million years, discover all the charm of a lost world at the Monte San Giorgio Fossil Museum built around the region’s vast paleontological heritage. The fossils of San Giorgio are known for their variety and for their exceptional state of preservation. Designed for a public of all ages, thanks to interactive technologies, the exhibit allows non-experts to immerse themselves in the complex world of the Triassic period. Highlights of the exhibit include animal and plant fossils documented by short explanations based on current knowledge as well a number of three-dimensional models and a graphic reconstruction of the marine environment at that time. In fact, during the Middle Triassic (247- 236 million years ago), Monte San Giorgio was not the mountain as we know it today but rather a fairly shallow ocean floor. The environment was defined by the presence of small islands and a sand bank that separated the coast from the open sea, forming a sort of lagoon. Unlike other deposits of world renown, as many as five distinct fossilferous levels were uncovered on Monte San Giorgio, each containing more than one fossil specimen. In fact, until now, more than 20,000 fossils have been extracted from these five levels. Overall, these include 25 reptile species, 50 fish species and more than 100 invertebrates, together with a variety of plant species, mainly of a coniferous nature. The museum, designed by Ticino architect Mario Botta, provides visitors with multimedia audio guides, “touch screens” featuring an animated version of the evolution of reptiles, fish and the seabed which has now become a part of the mountain.

Via B. Peyer, 9 (6866 Meride – Switzerland)
T: +41 916400080
Fax: +41 916461737
www.montesangiorgio.org