Comune di Montecchio Maggiore

Room 6: Monte Nero

Scilla autumnalis - Monte Nero, Montecchio Maggiore
Foto Lorenzon

Various aspects of Monte Nero: geology, botany and zoology are here presented. A scale model helps to visualize the peculiarities of the place.

On the slopes of the hill on which the well-known "Castles of Romeo and Juliet" lie, near the town of Montecchio Maggiore, one can observe an area characterized by an outcrop of dark rocks that stand out clearly on the surrounding lighter limestone. This area, known as the "Black Mountain", is made up of a basaltic rock from explosive eruptions whose origin is related to the volcanism that affected the area during the Oligocene (about 30 million years ago). The included basalt are often rich in small cavities coated with beautiful crystallization of different minerals, especially zeolites.
The perfection of the crystals of Monte Nero attracted, since the 1700s, many experts who analyzed and illustrated them in many publications. Since then, the name of Montecchio Maggiore appeared in almost all the major treaties of descriptive mineralogy and continues to be quoted even today.
This site has also an unusual flora and fauna. As a result of a combination of lithology (basaltic rocks), geomorphologic (south-facing and low altitude), climate (strong insulation and dryness) and historical factors (land use - excavations, grazing - which favored the retention of primitive land ), there are peculiar forms of vegetation of pioneer type and dry-thermophilic-steppe.

Two major interventions were recently performed on Monte Nero:

  • a nature trail was created by the Town Administration and the Museum (please ask for guided tours);
  • an experimental rehabilitation to contain the invasion of exotic Broussonetia papyrifera by Veneto Agricultura in agreement with the Municipality.


Address and opening times


Villa Lorenzoni, Piazza Marconi, 17
Montecchio Maggiore (Vicenza)
Tel. 0444/492565 - Fax 0444/496109


sabato 15.00 - 18.30
domenica 9.30 - 12.30 / 15.00 - 18.30.

The Museum is usually open on bank holidays (please call to make sure) and by appointment for groups

Admittance: € 3,00
Under 18 and over 60 years old: € 2,00
Up to 10 years old: free