A friend from Verona made me aware of the use of the reddish or pink marble from Verona, in many areas of Venice. He also showed me examples of fossilised ammonites embedded in this marble, while I was in Verona.

So, when I remembered to look down, I was treated to a visual feast of these ancient treasures in Venice.

And, not in the red marble, but still stunning. I wonder how old they are?

Isn’t it extraordinary that we humans can look at, and even walk upon the remains of these creatures? It’s likely that, wherever you live, you’ll be able to see ammonites and other fossils, at least in a museum near you.

For some information about the way the ammonites lived, visit a site such as this one:


Filed under Venice

32 responses to “Ammonites

  1. Sig. Nonloso

    I haven’t seen them perform either–only seen him walking around town–but I love the video.


  2. If Venice keeps flinging these things in our paths, we’ll follow them, eh? But, if Fausto and The Lord of the Wells hadn’t tucked me under their wings, I’d never have seen all that cool stuff.

    Do you know the Venetian jazz group Ska-J? Here is their take on So Figo. I want/need to see them perform one day.


  3. Sig. Nonloso

    You never fail to surprise me, Yvonne. Che figo! (Jen tells me I can’t use that around Sandro as “figo” also refers to the male member–and is probably the only meaning S knows for the term [those bad bad pre-schoolers!]. So I use it here & assure you my intended meaning was not obscene.) Can’t wait to go check these out near Florians w/ the little delinquent. And the larger one, too.


  4. Hi, Caroline. By the time I get back to Venice, you’ll have a nice list of recommendations for the best spritz, best caffรจ, best ….


  5. Caroline

    Very interesting, Yvonne – I’d never noticed this phenomenon before, except when it was pointed out in the floors & balustrades on a tour of Mount Stuart (stately home, Isle of Bute, Scotland) – for some reason I’d never thought to look for fossils in stone elsewhere. I grew up in an area of Jurassic limestone so it was not uncommon to find ammonites in the soil; or even more commonly, something we knew as ‘Devil’s toenails’.

    Wearing my furry hat most of the time here at present, which rather interferes with looking up – so this is a good reason to look down! (Mind you, this afternoon I was able to remove my coat for the first time when enjoying an al fresco Spritz!)


    • Good morning (or buona notte in your new home), Caroline. Have you read Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures, by any chance?

      Is it still that cold in Venice? And, where did you have your spritz?


      • Caroline

        Hi Yvonne. No, I haven’t – thanks for the tip, I must look it up! I read & enjoyed TGwaPE. I’ve read ‘The Aspern Papers’ since arriving but am on the verge of giving up on ‘The Wings of the Dove’ which I’ve found almost unreadable so far, 2 chapters in.

        Still quite cold (for me) in the shade & when there’s a bit of a breeze, but removing my hat (but not gloves) more & more. Ooh, let’s see – so far we’ve had Spritzes (?) in Campo San Barnaba, on the Zattere at Nico (a few times) & the wee bar next to the Gesuati, and in Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio. (The Zattere is really my favourite part of Venice and on previous holiday trips we generally had a pre-dining-out Negroni at Nico.). After working on practicalities earlier in the day we’ve been taking a long passeggiata from c.3pm each day, which has to involve a Spritz when I need a loo break – I know, it is kind of a vicious circle!


  6. Hi, Jan

    I’ll have to spend more time looking down in that porticoed area. Trouble is, when you look up, there are all of those carvings on the arches. Not as old as Steve’s ammonites, though.


  7. Jan pag

    Morning Yvonne, we spent a fascinating half hour last February looking down at the floor by Florian’s – the only time of year that it is sufficiently people-free, but very cold. I’ve just asked Steve (originally a geologist) how old ammonites are and love the precision of his answer ‘millions of years, they were around for a long time, ended with the Permean era’


  8. Hi, Susie. There’s just no end to it, is there? You find out about one thing, it leads you to another …


  9. Hi, Joanne

    The next post will show you where they are, as well as a lot of other gob-smacking stuff!


    • Susie L

      Wow, I am breathlessly awaiting this next post!

      Fascinating as always, Yvonne! This makes me want to go back to Parma and make a thorough inspection of the baptistery, built with that beautiful marble from Verona.


  10. Joanne Hoefer

    I second that on location. I would like to see them without having to walk all over to find them and show them to some people I will be with.


  11. Rob C

    }#%^* autocorrect ๐Ÿ™‚


    • You’re funny, Rob! I was going to ask you if you wanted me to edit your first comment, and then I thought it was a lot more fun to just leave things alone!


  12. Rob C

    Fossils, one in the eye for Creatuonists, aren’t they?



  13. Yes, I had read that information, thanks, Bert. Sometimes, I think just a little information goes a long way.


  14. Bert

    Is ‘Other Yvonne’ the same as the lady who posted as ‘Yvonne’ recently? If not, then it just goes to show that Yvonne is not such an uncommon name as Yvonne(1) thought it was.
    Why are ammonites so called? From the Greek word, Ammon, for the Egyptian ram-headed god, Amun. The ammonites were thought to resemble the coiled horn of a ram. You’re glad to know that, I bet. We also get ‘ammonia’ from the same source, though the route is slightly unsavoury. I’ll leave those interested to delve further.
    Beautiful photos, Yvonne(1)! Well spotted! Whatever next?


  15. Great post!
    I recognize the last one, between the Ala Napoleonica and the Procuratie Vecchie, because I did a post some time ago under “Picture of the week” at But can you give us a clue where you found the other ones? The second to last resembles the paving on the Piazza, right? but the other ones, I don’t know where to start!
    They are all so good!
    You always amaze us.


    • You’re right about the second last one, and the other one. I just have to get my directions correct for you, to let you know where those other stunners are from. People got used to me gasping “Another ammonite”, after awhile.


  16. Hello, O.Y. Crumbs, with Venice, there are too many treasures to absorb in a lifetime.


    • Other Yvonne

      Yvonne you must have be a wonderful teacher, just had a look at the link for the stars of today’s show. So today I learned these little fellows are at least 65 million years old. Bet you knew that already. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Amazing and thanks for the heads up about the heads down in Verona.


  17. Other Yvonne

    Oh, youv’e been holding onto some treasures. Anyone playing cards with Yvonne, beware, she keeps a few tricks up her sleeve. What else do we have to look forward too???


  18. Michelle

    Way, way cool, Yvonne! I need to be looking down to avoid tripping anyway although that is hard to do in Venice (look down…not the tripping part…Barb will attest to that).


    • I reckon you need to go through any area at least 4 times. Once to look right, once to look at what was the left but is now the right, another time to look up, and then to look down!


  19. Excellent post! How dearly we need to stop and actually see rather than just pass by. “The rare moment is not the moment when there is something worth looking at but the moment when we are capable of seeing.” (Joseph Wood Krutch, “The Desert Year”). You are very observant!


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