The museum focuses on thematic areas of geology, geomorphology, paleontology, archaeology and human history in relation to significant local findings.
The paleontological and prehistoric archaeology sections of the museum are most noteworthy as they are both closely tied to significant local discoveries. An enormous plaster cast reproduction of the surface of the boulder of Dolomia found at the foot of Monte Pelmetto where the fossilized footprints of several dinosaur species were discovered provides a visually striking backdrop for this part of the museum.
The prehistoric archeology section features the globally significant discovery of the mesolithic burial of the “man of Mondeval”, found near an erratic boulder at Mondeval de Sora. This exhibit is complete with a display of grave goods found at the site.
Museum visitors are greeted by the geo-paleontological and prehistoric archaeology sections. A large panel near the entrance maps the origins of material collections on display at the museum. Also near the entrance is a large print of Vittorino Cazzetta, the self-taught scientist and explorer with roots in Selva di Cadore to whom the museum is dedicated. Cazzetta was responsible for numerous local discoveries. In the entrance corridor, geological processes that led to the contemporary Dolomites landscape are illustrated -- from ancient tropical sea to alpine peaks. Specific attention is dedicated to Val Fiorentina where the museum is located. A section on mining describes the extraction of local minerals and ores and the nearby mine of Fursil which can be found above the “Strada della Vena” and various other “iron roads” used to transport ores for processing.
In the large room, a collection of fossils and rocks document processes of transformation of the Dolomites during the Triassic. The exhibit is enriched by a large plaster cast which reproduces the face of boulder found at the base of Monte Pelmetto containing dinosaur footprints: a holographic projection on this surface suggestively portrays the dinosaur’s movement along its trajectory as it left its prints.
The archaeology section contextualises the mesolithic burial at Mondeval in a prehistoric phase of seasonal semi-nomadic migration through the alpine areas of the Dolomites. The importance of the archaeological site of Mondeval de Sora (2150 m above sea level) is highlighted as the highest prehistoric burial in Europe, dated to 7500 years before present. The section also explores the subsistence economy practiced by groups of hunter-gatherers that frequented high alpine grasslands. This section also hosts, aside from a collection of artifacts associated with the site, a hypothesized reconstruction of a dwelling used by the group of temporary settlers in Mondeval in correspondence to the erratic boulder on the site of the burial. The museum itinerary concludes with a suggestive reconstruction of the burial site as it was discovered by archaeologists.
A final human history section on the second floor of the museum contains protohistoric, Roman-era and historic artifacts. Visitors to this section view exhibits in a chronological sequence. A first section details historical use of the local area between the late Neolithic and the copper age, with lithic complexes from the findings of Mandriz (1750 m above sea level). The next section proceeds with an exhibit of a plaster cast of an inscribed stone in the ancient Venetic language, discovered in the Monte Pore area. Finally, visitors may view plaster casts of inscriptions on Roman-era stone boundary markers along the ancient border on the nearby Monte Civetta. Following is a museum section containing artefacts from a variety of sporadic discoveries from the medieval period which attest to the frequentation, especially of pastoralists, of the surrounding alpine grasslands, even those at high elevation considered to be most impervious. Next is an exhibit consisting of ancient precious animal skin parchments documenting the history of Selva di Cadore and its connection with the surrounding area, especially in relation to the important mineral resources of the valley. The historical section of the museum concludes with a stone carving of the lion of Marciano which corresponds to the final period of the Serenissima, together with a gonfalone (banner) of the Municipality of Selva di Cadore.
Video presentation of the Museum
The dinosaur footprints on the boulder of Monte PelmettoDuration: 3h
Location/map: The suggested itinerary begins from Passo Staulanza (1766 m). The trail is marked on the map, “Tabacco 1:25.000 number 015”. For trail descriptions, see also altocadore.it and magicoveneto.it.
Description of itinerary: The hike to the boulder follows an easy trail, but requires some route finding skills as the final section, involving a steep ascent to the boulder is not clearly indicated. The itinerary follows CAI trail number 472, starting at passo Staulanza. The trail proceeds through a forest for about 2.5 km with moderate elevation gains and losses. On arrival at the fork in the trail, excursionists should see a sign indicating the direction for “orme di dinosauro”. Following the sign, this new trail proceeds upward on a detritus slope towards the walls of Monte Pelmetto above. After leaving the main trail, the path becomes more difficult to discern and is not well marked. Regardless, the large boulder containing dinosaur footprints is clearly visible from below, which should make it easy for hikers to reach. The final uphill section of the itinerary should take about thirty minutes, and is well within the abilities of young walkers. From the vantage point of the boulder, walkers may take in a magnificent panorama of the Valle di Zoldo, and in particular, the Civetta and Moiazza mountain groups.
It is possible to see around one-hundred individual footprints and around five distinct trails belonging to dinosaurs of various sizes on the exposed face of the large boulder. The boulder consists of Dolomia Principale, formed from sediments of a tidal mud flat 230 million years ago. Dinosaurs hypothesized to have been responsible for the footprints include Theropoda, probably Ceratosaurs which left footprints of 6-7 cm in diameter, Prosauropods with a footprint diameter of around 15 cm, and primitive Ornithischia with a footprint diameter of 12 cm. The prints can be traced to the Upper Triassic (Norian/Rhaetian stage).
Season recommended: May-October
The mines of Fursil and the “Strada della Vena”, or “Iron Road”Duration: 1.5-2.5h
Location/map: The recommended itinerary begins at Troi (1407 m), located above the town of Colle Santa Lucia, but it is also possible to begin from the museum at Selva di Cadore if desired. The route is marked on the map, “La Strada della Vena”, published by the the Comunità Montana Agordina.
Description of itinerary: The “Strada della Vena” runs through the Alto Agordino and ties the mining site of Fursil, found above the town of Colle Santa Lucia, with processing sites and centers of exchange located elsewhere. The mines were the most important source of iron (extracted mainly from siderite) in the Province of Belluno and remained active from the end of the 12th until 1945.
Season recommended: June-October
- Dinosauri nelle Dolomiti: Recenti scoperte sulle impronte di dinosauro nelle Dolomiti. Paolo Mietto, Matteo Belvedere e Mara Barbuni. Belluno: Fondazione Angelini in collaborazione con l’Università degli Studi di Padova (Dip.to di Geoscienze), la Cooperativa di Cortina.
- Guida al Museo Vittorino Cazzetta di Selva di Cadore.Comune di Selva di Cadore, 2011.
- L'ascesa della famiglia Crotta e le miniere agordine nel '600: ut leo fortis in adversis. Orietta Ceiner Viel; presentazione di Raffaello Vergani. Belluno: Nuovi sentieri, 2005.
- Il Castello di Andraz e le Miniere del Fursil: un itinerario storico culturale nelle Dolomiti. Mostra in Ciasa de ra regoles, Cortina d'Ampezzo. A cura delle Regole d'Ampezzo, dicembre 1993.
- Geomorfologia del Monte Pelmo : note illustrative della carta geomorfologica del Monte Pelmo. A cura di Mauro Del Longo, Giovanni Battista Pellegrini, Giacomo Renzo Scussel. Regione del Veneto, Centro valanghe di Arabba, 2001 (Firenze : SELCA). + Cartografia (scala 1:10000).
- Mondeval de Sora: importante scoperta preistorica. Elisabetta Gerhardinger e Antonio Guerreschi. Archeologia Viva, anno 7. n. 1-4, 1998.
- L'uomo di Mondeval : le rivelazioni di un luogo magico. DVD video (60 min). Direzione scientifica: Antonio Guerreschi e Federica Fontana, Paolo Mozzi ; un documentario di Andrea De Lotto e Gianni Ferraretto. 2007.
- Sepolture preistoriche nelle Dolomiti e primi insediamenti storici. Atti 1992: convegno 19 settembre 1992. A cura di Andrea Angelini e Ester Cason. Belluno: Fondazione G. Angelini, 1994.
- Miniere e metalli in Cadore. Serafino De Lorenzo. Pieve di Cadore: Edizioni Comitato Cadore 1848-1998, stampa 1999.