Fossano River Stura Forest of Fossano

In the bed of the Torrent Stura de Demonte, near the town of Fossano, the Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments outcrop in an area characterized by a gradual passage of marine sediments (Lower Pliocene) to continental sediments (Middle Pleistocene), covered then by quaternary alluvium. In this context of transition, of a clearly marine phase of waters more deep (Lugagnano Clays), we pass during a short episode to shallow water (Sables d'Asti) then evolving towards the more frankly continental environments of the Villafranchien, which in the Fossano area are set up from the lower Pliocene to the Pleistocene way. The Fossil Forest is preserved in the Villafranchian sediments of the lower Pliocene, in what is called the “Villafranchien A”; these sediments are dated to around 4 million years ago.

Scientific concept

The region of Fossano and the bed of the Stura were a source of inspiration for the geological research of a young man named Federico Sacco, a native of precisely this city. Studying exactly outcrops along the Stura, Sacco identifies rocks typical of the continental environment, rich in terrestrial and freshwater mollusks, which he will analyze in great detail, thus managing to classify and describe them as species new to science . For these outcrops, Sacco invents the term “Fossaniano”, now obsolete, to attest to the unique character of the Plio-Pleistocene lands on which the Stura flows. In 2017, following the discovery of the trunks of the Fossil Forest, a new interest in the geology and paleontology of the area was born, leading then to new research, coordinated by the University of Turin, and to several projects of valuation aimed at the conservation and enjoyment of this extraordinary discovery.

Links to other 22 sites

The Fossil Forest outcrops along the bed of the Stura de Demonte over a part of about 500 meters long and the erosion due to the river gives us a glimpse of what is preserved underground. In fact, the full extent of the Fossil Forest is not known but it surely covers a large area between Fossano and the neighboring towns to the east and this is important proof of the presence of underground geological treasures. which have attracted, and continue to do, the attention of specialists from many disciplines and the general public interested in the ancient and recent history of our planet.

Landscape link news

The area of ​​the Fossil Forest is exposed to continuous erosion of water, which on the one hand destroys or degrades the paleontological pieces visible today, but on the other hand always gives off new ones. The alternation of the seasons, the variations in the water level, and the dynamics of erosion clearly underline the interrelations that exist between the territory of Fossano, the surrounding mountains and the plain which extends towards the East. Thanks to its particular position, the Fossil Forest makes it possible to make the ideal link between the sea, at the origin of all the physical elements that constitute our region, and the land in the landscape that is familiar to us.


The Fossano Forest of Fossano is a very recent discovery (2017), which we owe to the passion of one of the inhabitants of this territory, Pier Luigi Beraudo, explorer in search of ever new natural forms. After the discovery and its announcement to Researchers as well as to the Archaeological Directorate in order to put in place the necessary protective measures, an international team, led by Professor Edoardo Martinetto of the University of Turin, carried out a scientific study on the Forest, describing its plant community and comparing it to that of other Italian fossil forests.