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The rarities of Campania Mineralogical Museum of Vico Equense

Since 1992, minerals, meteorites, pre-historical fossils, gems and even dinosaur's eggs have been enriching the rooms of the Museum which involves the Fondazione Discepolo. Over five thousand the samples exhibited to the public. Among the so many finds and the wonders which can be admired in Sorrento Coast, there are also those kept in Vico Equense in Campania Mineralogical Museum which has its seat at 2, via San Ciro (a few steps from the central square Piazza Umberto). The museum has been risen thanks to the institution Fondazione Discepolo, founded in 1992 to give life to a synergy between the Municipality of Vico Equense and the family of Engineer Pasquale Discepolo who, in the run of years, has given life to an exceptional collection of minerals and fossils. In the course of various decades, in fact, the engineer has managed to put together almost 5,000 minerals – of various shapes and colours – belonging to 1,400 different species, which are now exhibited to the public. This abundant sampling offers numerous samples characterized by a significant state of crystallization and, so, by an aspect which only apparently does not look natural but due to the man’s intervention. The Museum is set up in various sections, among which there also those reserved to Vesuvian minerals, to fossils, gems and anthropological aspects. Many are those which can be considered authentic rarities, such as the lapis lazuli of Mount Somma and the wonderful crystals of vesuvianite (some of which found after the eruption of 1944), or such as meteorites and extra-terrestrial bodies of various chemical composition, fallen on Earth in different epochs. There are also dinosaur’s eggs, fossils of pre-historical epochs, a module of manganese found in the Pacific Ocean (at almost 3,000 – 4,000 metres of depth), some samples of fluorescent minerals which, under the action of ultraviolet light, achieve bright colours ranging from green to yellow, from azure to violet. Though being of recent foundation, the Museum has been enriched, in the course of years, with various “novelties”. In 1997, in fact, the paleontological section was created, where there are remains of reptiles of the Permian(250 million years ago), such as the Mesosaurus and the Nothosaur. In March 2001, instead, the new section entirely dedicated to gems and where there also numerous samples given by the Architects Enzo De Felice and Irene Sbriziolo was inaugurated. Finally, we have to remember that the Fondazione is a non-profit making moral body, among whose aims there are: the promotion of study and the divulgation of natural, physical, environmental sciences to diffuse the knowledge and the fruition of historical, artistic, anthropological, architectural resources, or in general, of cultural kind, present or existed in the area of Vico Equense, of Sorrento Coast and Campania. Fo further info: The gems and the pre-historical treasures of the Mineralogical Museum - In the museum of Vico Equense, we can admire teeth of mammoth, of dinosaur and shark besides slabs with prints of reptiles of the Permian, with fossils of amphibians, leaves of conifers and so much more. The amount of finds and rarities making up the collections on show in the Mineralogical Museum of Vico Equense is such that it is impossible to make a synthesis which can summarize properly the whole heritage contained in it. Nevertheless the section dedicated to gems is surely one of those causing more curiosity. In it there are samples of different geographical origins and of different sizes. They are gems belonging to the collection at first assembled by Engineer Pasquale Discepolo (which included natural samples of azurite, malachite, amethyst, quartzes and other pieces, cut and polished, of agate of various colours) to which 532 more samples have been recently added as given by Mr Ezio De Felice and his wife Mrs Irene Sbriziolo, an architect. Among these ones there are samples of agate, onyx, quartz, cornelian, jasper, amethyst, malachite and many minerals more. As interesting as this, is also the section reserved to fossils (which, since 1997, has been enriching Campania Mineralogical Museum) where there are remains object of the studies and deep analysis by the most experienced paleontologists. In this section we can see almost 100 fossils dating back from 600 million years ago until more recent times. Among these, outstanding are two eggs belonging to different species of dinosaur: that of the Sauropod (a herbivore) and that of the Velociraptor (a carnivore). Always in the same context we can also admire slabs with prints of reptiles of the Permian (270-220 million years ago) and with fossils of amphibians besides a very old slab with leaves of conifers and ferns.In the same section we can also find samples of some splendid fish of the Cretaceous (135-75 million years ago), besides trilobites, gastropods, echinoderms, ammonites and other sea animals.In a sequence which goes on exerting amazement and admiration, we can also see teeth of prehistoric animals (dinosaurs, mammoths and sharks), an insect in amber, a nothosaur and a mesosaur. Unusual is also the faithful reproduction of Ciro – looked after by the paleontologists of the Natural History Museum of Milan, that is to say of the Scipionys Samniticus, the baby dinosaur of Pietraroia (Benevento) – on show in a proper showcase. Further details about the Museum can be a achieved by consulting the institutional website at the address: For information on the opening days and times you can call the following number: 081/801 56 68. The Museum can be reached also on foot from the Circumvesuviana railway station of Vico Equense.

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