A show that has been going on in Asti for five million years. Welcome to the Fossil Museum.
Sailing in a sea that no longer exists and trying to imagine a world far away, but which was as real as it was pernicious. It is the world in which Tersilla lived, the whale that was wounded and ran aground on the seabed, where the hamlet of San Marzanotto now stands. It was a rare specimen, one of the first whales to become extinct, and perhaps that is the reason why it made its way back and was found, probably to tell its story and the life in those depths that are now green hills covered in vineyards. It was found in 1993 by a farmer who was working the land: he immediately realized that it was not just a fossil, one of the many that can be found in these areas. The bones were big and they seemed to be endless. It was 7 metres long and lived in the Po Sea some 3.5 million years ago. The cause of her death is not known, but it is certain that her body fed on large sharks that sunk their jaws into the carcass, perhaps too vehemently, to the extent that some of their teeth are still there, stuck in poor Tersilla's bones.
A magical place, within the walls of an ancient monastery, which has the potential to ideally transport you to the "Pliocene basin of Asti".
Tersilla, named after the lady who owned the land where the whale was found, has come down to us and, along with her, some of her distant relatives too. She is in the company of the splendid Viglianottera (found in the vineyards of Vigliano d'Asti), some prehistoric dolphins and a multitude of fossils, all perfectly preserved and housed in the Museo dei Fossili - Parco Paleontologico Astigiano (Fossil Museum - Palaeontological Park of Asti) in a wing of the large Complesso del Michelerio (Michelerio complex): a historic building dating back to the 16th century, originally a convent with a beautiful church, which later became an orphanage and today a museum and cultural meeting place. Nearby evidence of distant seas in the historic heart of Asti and in the protected areas overseen by the Palaeontological Park of Asti, such as the Val Sarmassa Nature Reserve in the municipality of Vinchio, Vaglio Serra and Incisa, the Cortiglione Geological Site and the Valle Andona, Valle Botto and Val Grande Nature Reserve, all of which can be visited and regularly provide a series of workshops and educational activities.
A museum that speaks to the young and enchants the old.
Fossils from ancient times that seem to watch over our present. The Po Sea or the Miocene and Pliocene eras: there are two visitor trails, one where you can admire the fossil skeletal remains of cetaceans, dating back to the time when the Po Valley was submerged in water, and a second trail that presents general and territorial palaeontology. Finally, there is the charm of the colours of a large tropical aquarium to rediscover the emotion of the sea that withdrew from these lands, making way for other forms of life and other stories.
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