The Eocene limestones around the Italian village of Bolca occur in a series of distinct localities providing a unique snapshot of marine life in the early Cenozoic. Famous for its fishes, the localities of Bolca also yield diverse invertebrate faunas and a rich, but relatively understudied flora. Most fossils from Bolca derive from the Pesciara and Monte Postale sites, which bear similar fossils but are characterized by slightly different taphonomic and environmental profiles. Although not precisely contemporaneous, the age of these principal localities is well constrained to a narrow interval within the Ypresian Stage, c. 50–49 Ma. This places Bolca at a critical time in the evolutionary assembly of modern marine fish diversity and of reef communities more generally.