The Museum

Paleontological Museum of Priabona

Paleontological Museum of Priabona

Just a few kilometres from the entrance to the Buso della Rana cave is the Priabonian Study Centre and its fascinating museum, located in the piazza in front of Priabona village parish church.

Strange as it may seem, geologists and academics from all over the world visit this village in the midst of the mountains of Vicenza. They come to study a particular rock stratification: the Priabonian stratotype. For the Mediterranean area this represents the rock succession of reference associated with the Late Eocene geological stage and covers the period from about 37 to 34 million years ago. It was identified in 1893 by Munier-Chalmas and De Lapparent.

The Fossil Room named after these two French geologists contains a series of illustrative panels and glass cases that display exhibits ranging from the Cretaceous to the Miocene. Here the visitor can take a close look at the rocks and at the phenomena that generated and later modified them, discovering that in the long distant past the Vicenza area was a tropical paradise with its own coral reef, and that the subsequent birth of numerous submarine volcanoes disrupted this environment and covered it with basaltic lava. Three display cases are reserved for the Priabonian stage. Among the exhibits of particular interest are fossil crabs from the middle and late Eocene, a fossil log from the Bartonian (40 million years ago), plus petrified corals and fish teeth from reefs dating back to the Oligocene (30 million years ago). There are three glass cases displaying some spectacular macrofossils and archeological remains found in the surrounding hills. There is also a section dedicated to the karst phenomenon, which is characteristic of the area and of which the Buso della Rana cave is a fine example.
Fossil Room guide in english: Download PDF

The Quaternary room named after Aldo Allegranzi was designed by Professor Benedetto Sala of Ferrara University and was inaugurated in 2004. Illustrations, diagrams and photographs describe the phenomena linked with the most recent, Würm, glacial period (from 130,000 to 15,000 years ago) and exhibits include Pleistocene fossil remains of cold climate animals: marmot, micromammals, capercaillie, wolf, bison, deer and cave bear. The most important exhibits are a wolverine skull and an almost complete skeleton of a young elk, which probably died giving birth to the foetus also on display (the only exhibit of its kind in Italy).

The third room, named after Dr. Andrea Rigoni, is dedicated to the fossilised Oligocene coral reef and the thousands of fish teeth found amongst the alluvial sands and in the caves in the surrounding hills. The room was designed by Professor Andrea Tintori of Milan State University and set up with funding from Monte di Malo municipality.

As well as receiving scientists from all over the world, the Antonio Marchioro Priabonian Study Centre collaborates with important European universities, receives parties and school groups on appointment, can offer five different guided nature walks and has a collection of specialist publications, studies and dissertations.

Museum opening times

The museum is open to the public on the first Sunday of the month, from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Parties, groups and school trips can make an appointment to visit the museum by emailing to:

Entrance is free of charge but donations are gratefully received.