Park of Lessinia

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Lessinia, the mountainous area north of Verona, is another zone of ancient origin, noted especially for its abundance of fossils. Significant traces of human settlement have also been discovered here. Not to be missed are: the fossilised fish at Bolca, the basalt columns of San Giovanni Ilarione, the valley of the sphinxes and the caves of Rovere Mille.

Founded in 1990 with the aim of preserving the cultural, natural and ethnic heritage of the Veronese territory, the Natiural Park of Lessinia extends over 10000 hectares on the upper plateau of Monte Lessini until the foothills of the Piccole Dolomiti, or minor Dolomites, reaching between 1200 and 1800 m. On this land, which runs through meadows, dense woods and deep valleys, the Germanic people known as Cimbrians settled in the 2nd century A.D., a feature which gives the area particular ethnological and linguistic interest in addition to its already notable natural attractions. The fascination, as well as historical, lies in the intermixing of two traditions, the Nordic and Latin, to the extent that local fables are personified with Celtic mythological figures, and the ancient Cimbrian dialect is still spoke in certain parts even today.

The most prominent feature in the park is the characteristic geological formation, which gives rise to the dolinas, caves and natural bridges sculpted from the rock. The most famous is the one in Veja, aorund 9 m thick and 50 m long, which crosses a still-running stream. These types of features are of great scientific interest, and offer fascinating and fantastic scenery to the visitor. Of great note are also the fossil deposits of Bolca-Pescaia and Monte Postale, though in fact the whole plateau is rich in fossil remains, and thus provides a true paradise for aficionados of palaeontology and archaeology.

The flora and fauna of the region is also of great interest. Recent additions to the park's attractions are seven museums, all of which are theme-based, and which illustrate the natural, ethnographic, and historical aspects of the territory. Among the most important are the one dedicated to fossils at Bolca and the ethnographic museum revolving around the Cimbrians at Giazza.

Recommended visits include: the waterfalls at Molina, the còvolo (canal) of Camposilvano and Valle delle Sfingi, the cave of Rovere Mille, the natural bridge in Veja, the forestos of Giazza, and the ancient beech trees of Bosco Chiesanuova ed Erbezzo, more than a hundred years old. For the visitor interested exclusively in skiing the area offers well-equipped districts for winter tourism in Bosco Chiesanuova, Malga S. Giorgio, Branchetto, Monte Tomba and Campofontana.