Monte San Giorgio rises up between the southern arms of Lake Lugano. Besides the magnificent view of the lake landscape, the 1,097-metre high mountain provides a window to prehistoric times. 240-million-year-old fossils can be found within it. Where there was once a sea basin with different reptiles, fish and plants, Monte San Giorgio formed along with the development of the Alps. Perfectly maintained fossils have been found and investigated here for 150 years. The region is one of the best testimonials to sea life from the Triassic period. The Fossil Museum in Meride, which has been renovated by the architect Mario Botta, ensures insights into this long extinct world. Natural Heritage since 2003 (2010 extension).