There is a town in the province of Verona also known as the magic village with the living stones. Located on a hilly and undulating territory. At 900 meters above sea level. With the name of Bolca, and at a glance, it seems one of the many municipalities in the area, typical of the Veneto’s Prealps.
You may already heard of Bolca because famous throughout the world for a peculiarity that makes it unique. Those gentle hills that stand out on the horizon are extinct volcanoes that once surrounded by the tropical sea. Those rocks, which seem to be the same as many others, contain an incredible number of fossils. For example: fish, plants and fossil amphibians. Preserved remarkably, for an extraordinarily long period. The oldest fossils date back to about 55 million years ago.
There is a quarry known as a “fishpond” open to the public by appointment. From which thousands of fossilized fish have emerged. Anybody could go there and search fossils by splitting a slab of limestone.
All those species are extinct, and it is only thanks to the Bolca deposits that we know that they had existed. The layers of the “fishpond” date back 48 million years, in the Eocene. When the area of Bolca and all the Lessinia region was occupied by tropical lagoons. With a depth of a few meters, which made the area look more like Krabi, Thailand, than a European territory.
The fossiliferous area of Bolca has been known for centuries. It was a sort of curiosity because of those strange fish findings, then incomprehensible.
It is curious to note that for two hundred years a family in Bolca, their surname is Cerato, has been responsible for research and care of the place. This is a unique case for Italy. It was promulgated by the Parliament, a law which confirmed that this family has the exclusive right for the research and exploitation of these fossiliferous deposits.
Many Italian schools visit us every year, and all students go there to search for fossils. With hammer and chisel in hand, with the help of Cerato. The research is regulated but free and if groups from Hong Kong or China want to visit Bolca. And try their luck by hammering some slabs, they will be welcome.