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The Botanic Palaeontology Centre of the Fossil Forest in Dunarobba

The fossil forest of Dunarobba - Avigliano Umbro

The discovery of the forest

The Fossil Forest came to light in the late 1970s, within a clay quarry intended for the manufacture of bricks for construction. Much of it is still buried by sediment, however, the remains of about fifty trunks of giant conifers are clearly visible.

These constitute exceptional and rare evidence of some of the plant species that inhabited this part of the Italian peninsula several million years ago.

The forest dates from between 3 and 2 million years ago, that is, in the geological period known as the Pliocene, when atmospheric upheavals and significantly warmer temperatures characterized the climate.

The logs, although largely severely tilted, are still in their living position and have retained the characteristics of the original wood. They have undergone continuous burial that occurred within a gradually sinking marshy area.

The huge swamp of geologic Lake Tiberinus.

The forest was located on the plain where, in the Pliocene, a huge river flowed, the western branch of what geologists call Lake Tiberino. It was a vast basin of salt water, shaped like an inverted ipsilon, that forked just at the height of Perugia.

Much of Umbria was submerged, and its plains were subject to continuous flooding and overflowing, as well as long periods of water stagnation.

Deposits of sand and clay first, and tectonic movements later, changed the setting, allowing Umbria and its forests to emerge permanently.

The study and preservation of the site

The Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Umbria, in the years following the discovery, began a long documentation effort aimed at the study, preservation and conservation of the paleontological site.

The Plant Paleontology Center, in particular, was established in the late 1990s to support study activities on the Dunarobba Fossil Forest, reconstructing its geological, climatic, and faunal characteristics through artifacts, explanatory panels, and scale models.

Currently, the major efforts are aimed at counteracting the weathering of the wood, the main cause of degradation. The site is located in fact, completely in the open air.

It can only be accessed by taking an organized guided tour, which can be booked in the contacts provided on the reference site.

Click here for information

Since it is completely outdoors, sneakers and a k-way are recommended in the winter season / closed shoes and a hat with a visor in the summer season.

Where and geolocation

Center for Plant Paleontology of the

Dunarobba Fossil Forest

Voc. Pennicchia, 46

05020 Dunarobba - Avigliano Umbro (TR)


Hours for visiting the site vary with the season. Click here for updated information.

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