• Itinerari

Excursion to Monte San Giorgio

Fossils and nature

From: Piazza Monte San Giorgio
To: Piazza Monte San Giorgio
2 ore
Uphill: 400m

Monte San Giorgio is a UNESCO site in Varese province near the Italy-Switzerland border. It is an ideal destination for anyone looking for nature, unforgettable views and walking.


Anyone wanting to explore Monte San Giorgio is advised to visit the Besano Fossil Museum and the former quarry area of Rio Ponticelli with its views over Lake Ceresio.

A straightforward footpath beginning at the Monte San Giorgio car park at Besano takes you to the Rio Ponticelli Park behind the Alpini building. It is an accessible path which takes you to Rio Ponticelli, where fossils were found and site of a relaxation area with great views over Lake Ceresio, in around half an hour.


From here you can continue to the former quarry area. In the past oil shale was extracted here, an organic material used as a source of lighting oil and ichthammol. It was this mining work which led to the discovery of the fossils in the 19th century. Here, too, the views of Lake Ceresio and its mountains are panoramic. 


Returning to Besano town, you can visit its Museo dei Fossili and see its fossils extracted from Rio Ponticelli and the former quarry too. The largest and most important of these is its Besanosaurus, a marine reptile found in 1993 which would have weighed 500 kg when alive.



prima tappa: Rio Ponticelli

seconda tappa: Museo dei fossili di Besano


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