Palazzo Pompei, headquarters of the Civic Museum of Natural History of Verona, is among the most important buildings of the city from an historical and architectural perspective. Commissioned by the wealthy Lavezzola family between 1530 and 1550 to the brilliant architect Michele Sanmicheli, it belonged later to the Pompei family; in 1833, Count Alessandro Pompei donated it to the Municipality of Verona, to house exhibits as well as artistic and scientific collections of great prestige and importance for the city. The original core of the building was expanded, since 1858, progressively including adjacent areas and houses.
Today, inside the broad spaces of this Palazzo are included fourteen exhibition rooms, the library, the laboratories, the collections depositories and the offices of the Museum. The Civic Museum of Natural History of Verona houses the scientific departments devoted to the study of minerals and rocks, paleontology and zoology, whereas the prehistory and botany branches are held in the "Palazzina Comando dell’Arsenale Austriaco di Verona". The scientific material collected by the researchers of the Museum, as well as by many naturalists in the course of nearly five centuries, today is being prepared and catalogued, studied and finally included in the collections or shown to the public in the exhibit rooms. Therefore, the Museum carries out a central and decisive role in scientific research and in the publishing of scientific studies and popular works. Its education and communication department is devoted to the dissemination of the natural science culture toward different public groups (schools, adults, families, associations, etc.) and it is also very active.
A section of the Civic Museum of Natural History of Verona is entirely dedicated to the fossils of Bolca: a most extraordinary evidence of Earth’s evolution impressed in the rock as it were the pages of a book. From the Bolca area in the Lessini Mounts, 50 km from Verona, come fossil samples of more than 250 species of animals and 200 plants; a fascinating cross-section of life on Earth 50 million years ago.