The Monte San Giorgio

Monte San Giorgio is located in the Southern Alps, in Canton Ticino (Switzerland) and regions of Monte Pravello and Monte Orsa in the Province of Varese (Italy). It is surrounded to the north by Lake Lugano and either side by its two southern branches. The mountain reaches a maximum height of 1097 metres on Swiss territory.

Monte San Giorgio is counted among the world's most important deposits of marine fossils of Middle Triassic age (247–235 million years ago). Unlike other famous deposits – which generally represent a unique fossiliferous level attributed to a precise period in geological history – Monte San Giorgio shows at least five different levels, each of which can contain more than one fossil association. This aspect allows the evolutionary study of specific groups of organisms assigned to the same environment over an interval of several million years.

From these five levels more than 20,000 fossils have so far been collected. Overall, approximately 25 species of reptile, 50 species of fish and over 100 species of invertebrates have been recorded in addition to various species of plant, most notably conifers.