Dinosaur footprints in Pelmetto

Posted in Geosites



Municipality: Zoldo Alto (BL)
Address: Forcella Staulanza

GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES: N.46°25.244' E.12°06.293' (Forcella Staulanza) - 46.411042°, 12.121943° (dinosaur footprints)


  • wheelchair accessibility: not accessible
  • recommended season: Summer/Autumn
  • directions to reach the starting point: The site can be reached either from the Zoldo Valley coming from Belluno-Longarone or the Fiorentina Valley, stretching from Agordo-Alleghe-Selva di Cadore. The footprint is located in the fork area near Staulanza, on the scree of Pelmetto. As starting point is given the Staulanza shelter, following an accessible footpath for approximately 5 km, with longer stretches of going up and down the wood, which ends in one final steep climb that leads to the scree.


At the foot of the Pelmetto, at an altitude of 2,050 meters, Vittorino Cazzetta founded a block of Dolomia Principale where various footprints of small dinosaurs, dating back to 200 million years ago are visible.
The visitor of the Museum of Selva di Cadore dedicated to Vittorino Cazzetta is led through the entire geological history of the valley using explanatory boards, drawings, photographs, detailed and elaborate reconstructions of dinosaurs, rock samples with an extraordinary fossils collection - all these unfold the events and phenomena which have moulded this area during the Triassic period. This geological period which lasted roughly between 250 and 200 million years ago, is undoubtedly the most documented timespan in the Dolomites.
The hall is overshadowed by a gigantic boulder revealing the surface of a typical dolomite rock which had tumbled down at the foot of Pelmetto. These rocks contain various imprints of vertebrates which have been identified, for the first time in Italy, as dinosaur footprints. The imprints constitute the theme element here - a "holographic" projection on this rock implies the existence of a real dinosaur trail.

This discovery gave an impetus for innumerable similar footprint finds nearly everywhere in the Dolomites. In addition to several smaller boulders at Pelmetto's foot, such footprints and trails are meanwhile known to exist near the Giau Pass, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, on the Moiazza, in Val Pegolera, and many other.

The dinosaur footprints (photo by Giacomo De Donà)The dinosaur footprints (photo by Giacomo De Donà)
The rock with the dinosaur footprints (photo by Giacomo De Donà)The rock with the dinosaur footprints (photo by Giacomo De Donà)

The Masiere of Vedana

Posted in Geosites


municipality: Sospirolo
locality: Masiere
geographic coordinates: 46.156398, 12.113580


  • wheelchair accessibility: not accessible
  • recommended season: all year
  • directions to reach the starting point: Ponte Mas (Sedico); Gron (Sospirolo); Mis (Sospirolo)


Our last legend will take us to the creation of the "Masiere di Vedana" - an enormous landslide located at the mouth of the stream Cordevole in Valbelluna. The dolomitic formations which are ubiquitous in the northern part of the Province of Belluno are quite rare here. Instead, there is an abundance of partially dolomitized limestone that belongs to the so-called Grey Limestone and Limestone of Vajont.

From the widening riverbed of Cordevole, emerging from the narrow valley that descends from the Agordino, once stood the very rich Pieve di Cornia, right at the foot of Mount Martino (Mount Peron), but inhabited by very little generous people. Once two wayfarers passed there - Jesus and St. Peter - asking for alms and receiving insults as an answer. Only when they arrived at the house of a poor widow did they find hospitality: the woman regretted the strangers because she had no food to offer them, but when she looked into the pantry, she found all kinds of delicacies. St. Peter, Jesus and the widow's son then walked to the top of the mountain where the child hit the rock with a hammer and the mountain instantly collapsed destroying Cornia but leaving the house of the courteous woman intact.

The vast pile of stones that forms the Masiere of Vedana was indeed caused by the fall of one or more landslides. Its area of detachment is clearly visible on the southern slope of Mount Peron. During the rise of the Dolomitic chain, the whole mountain body was crisscrossed by numerous fractures that were then impregnated by mineralising fluids. This process led to the dolomitization of ample portions of the original limestone. This maze of fissures and unevenness had weakened the rocky mass, facilitating the occurrence of landslides.

The landslide probably occurred several million years ago, shortly after the retreat of the glaciers and it could not have possibly damaged any residential areas.

The Masiere of Vedana (photo by Danilo Giordano)The Masiere of Vedana (photo by Danilo Giordano)



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