Located in Cassino, Italy, the Ladin Ursus Ladinicus Museum takes you back in time to a prehistoric era. Hence the Latin term “ursus”, meaning “bear” in English, this museum is centred around the remains of the 40,000 year old bear “Ursus Ladinicus”. The bones were found in a cave underneath the summit of the Conturines towards the end of the 1980s. It is known that this particular species has been extinct for a long-time.
UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Dolomites
The tour leading through the museum starts on the upper floor, presenting you anything there is to know about the formation of the Dolomites 250 million years ago. Numerous fossils are evidence of how the Dolomite mountain range was formed, which is nowadays a listed UNESCO world heritage site. The samples were all found during archaeological excavations in the region.
Subsequently, you learn how the Conturine caves were formed, wherein the Ursus Ladinicus was found, how it was found and the way the archaeological excavations were conducted. It is thus the highest known bear cave in the world.
In the Bear's Den
On the basis of original finds, the bear's life in the cave and its natural habitat has been reconstructed. In the basement of the museum you meet a “sleeping bear” in its den. Since 2013 a brown bear has been exhibited to allow a direct comparison to its ancestor.
In 2011 the museum was opened as a branch of the Museum Ladin, focusing on the history and culture of Ladinia, an Italian Alpine region that is spread over three different neighbouring Italian provinces: Belluno, South Tyrol and Trento. The origin of the area's name is derived from its inhabitants, the Ladin people, who in turn speak Ladin, a Rhaeto-Romance language.
The main museum building is located in San Martin de Tor, Austria. The Museum Ladin Ćiastel de Tor is accommodated in the Thurn Castle, built in the 13th century. From 2001 on all visiting guests have had the chance to take a glance at the archaeological finds deriving from the region and get informed about the history of Ladinia as well as its history of tourism.
Upon the purchase of a ticket for the Ladin Ursus Ladinicus Museum you enjoy free access to the Museum Ladin Ćiastel de Tor in Austria.
How to get there
To get to Alta Badia, you first take the Brennerautobahn motorway until you get to the exit Brixen/ Vahrn. You then continue on the Pustertaler Staatsstraße (SS49) and follow the road towards St. Lorenzen. Change to Gadertaler Staatstraße (SS244) and keep driving until La Villa. Here you then turn to Strada Altin that leads towards San Cassiano. At the first roundabout, you take the second exit (Micurà de Rü), just where you'll find the museum located.
If you decide to travel by train, you purchase a ticket to Bruneck. Here you'll find buses provided by the SAD agency taking you San Cassiano.