The Triassic time scale is poorly constrained due to a paucity of high-precision radiometric ages. We present a 206Pb/238U age of 230.91 ± 0.33 Ma (error includes all known sources) for zircon from an ash bed in the upper Carnian (Upper Triassic) of southern Italy that requires a major revision of the Triassic time scale. For example, the Norian stage is lengthened to more than 20 m.y. The section containing the ash bed is correlated with other Tethyan sections and, indirectly, with the Newark astronomical polarity time scale (APTS). The dating provides also a minimum age for some important climatic and biotic events that occurred during the Carnian. We note a coincidence between these events and the eruption of the large igneous province of Wrangellia, but the possible link between volcanism and climatic and biotic events requires further scrutiny.