Villaggio del Pescatore

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Villaggio del Pescatore
A 25-Year Project.

Perhaps not everyone knows that near Trieste, in Duino Aurisina, there is a paleontological site.
From this fossiliferous lens, two nearly complete dinosaur skeletons in excellent condition have been extracted and prepared
Our team carried out all the extraction and preparation work on the specimens from 1996 to 2019.

A Bit of History:

The discovery of the first fossil remains dates back to the late 1980s, thanks to some enthusiastic paleontrophiles.
The presence of these specimens, initially unrecognized as dinosaurs, led to a series of excavation campaigns in the early 1990s.

The first of these, granted by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities to the Natural History Museum of Trieste, uncovered a specimen that, after preparation, showed a pair of complete legs in anatomical connection. It was Prof. Eric Buffetaut from CNRS in Paris who, in 1994, unmistakably attributed the find to a dinosaur from the hadrosaur group. Era il 1994.

In the same year, a geology student at the University of Trieste, Tiziana Brazzatti, discovered another bone outcrop during a geological survey. This time, the bones belonged to a dinosaur’s front leg, and the rest of the skeleton was still encased in the rock.

This find became known as the hadrosaur commonly called ANTONIO.
The Ministry entrusted the work of extracting the specimen to our specialized team in the following years. The work was carried out in collaboration with the University of Trieste and the Civic Museum of Natural History.
This experimental project marked a significant milestone in international paleontological excavation history.
Over six months, the hill where the dinosaurs emerged was literally “sliced” using standard quarry techniques with diamond wires.
After the fieldwork, the blocks containing the dinosaur were chemically prepared using formic acid
After 3,500 hours of laboratory work, one of the world’s finest specimens of this type of animal was revealed, perfectly articulated and almost entirely intact.
In addition to Antonio, remains attributable to 10 other hadrosaurs, probably of the same species, were found, along with a possible leg bone of a carnivorous dinosaur and a wing bone of a flying reptile. Additionally, there were remains of two particular crocodiles, fish, crustaceans, and rare plants.

In 2018, with authorization and supervision from the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage of Friuli Venezia Giulia, excavations resumed at the paleontological site, revealing Antonio’s “brother,” the dinosaur Bruno. With almost an extra meter in length, Bruno is now considered the largest, most complete, and best-preserved Italian dinosaur.
This Paleontological Site represents one of the most important paleontological discoveries in Italy of all time. The specimens remain the only dinosaurs found in Italy in stratigraphic connection and the only ones uncovered through systematic and scientifically conducted excavation campaigns.



The presence of these reptiles in Northeastern Italy has necessitated a substantial revision of the geographical conception of the area, which, around 80 million years ago, was thought to be predominantly dominated by seas and lagoons. Dinosaurs, being exclusively terrestrial animals, required extensive land masses to live, which therefore must have been present. The geologically rapid changes in the area at the end of the Mesozoic Era make a valid reconstruction of the relationship between aquatic and terrestrial environments extremely challenging, and the presence of few fully prepared fossil remains does not provide significant support for realistic interpretations.

From 2013 to 2020, thanks to the collaboration with the Superintendence and the willingness of the landowner, our team managed public openings of the paleontological site. Thousands of people, over the years, have visited what was until 2020 the most interesting publicly accessible paleontological site in Italy.
Hundreds of reports, interviews, and articles have been produced about this internationally significant paleontological site. Notably, an episode of National Geographic’s “Dinosaur Hunter Mission Italy,” the last coverage before the site’s closure to the public in 2020, can be seen on Sky: National Geographic – Dinosaur Hunter Mission Italy. https://programmi.sky.it/il-cacciatore-di-dinosauri

Today, the skeletons of Antonio and Bruno are found at the Natural History Museum of Trieste. Natural History Museum of Trieste. https://museostorianaturaletrieste.it/

Detailed study: