Most important sites
a north-south oriented valley, 80 km long, in the Lombards Alps, north of Brescia
and Iseo Lake, almost two hours by car from Milan.
His name took origin by a pre-indoeuropean people named Camunni, conquered by Rome in 16 BC.
The engraved zone (40 km long) corresponds to
the lower part of middle valley, between the peaks of Concarena and Pizzo Badile
Camuno (3000 meters high).
All the engraved figures are pecked in a hard permian sandstone, heavily polished by the Wurm glacier. A beautiful natural blackboard, collecting hundreds of thousands figures from various prehistoric periods.
Pitoti, meaning puppets in the dialect of Valcamonica, is the term used by the indigenous population for the figures engraved by their ancestors.
The engravings of the CAMUNNI were only noted in 1909 when Walter Laeng, a Brescian geographer, gave news about two engraved boulders at Pian delle Greppe of Cemmo in the municipality of Capo di Ponte: these two boulders are now one of the most important Copper Age monuments in Italy.
During this centrury many other sites were found
by scholars: here a short description of the most
Naquane (Capo di Ponte)
Park of Engraved Rocks of Naquane (475 m high) at Capo di
Ponte was created in 1955 by the Archaeological Superintendence
of Lombardy, realizing an old dream of veteran pioneers, Laeng
an Bonafini. It is unique in Italy. Inside you find 104 engraved
rocks: the masterpieces of Iron Age Rock Art. Best known
are the rocks n. 50, 1, 35, 57... and going on with beautiful rock
waves polished by the glacier.
Inside also Copper Age stelae taken form Ossimo (Ossimo7-8) and Cemmo (Cemmo 3-4).
To visit it you need two hours (or a week, it depends). It is closed on Monday. Five dollars the ticket.
You can reach Naquane from Capo di Ponte (15 minutes by feet), and Capo di Ponte by train from Brescia. It is visited by over than 80.000 persons each year.
The first site in Valcamonica recognized in
1909 by Walter Laeng: two rocks with vertical surfaces engraved in many phases
during Copper Age.
Here are the Remedellian daggers, with triangular blade and half-moon shaped handle, a "fossil guide" in Rupestrian Archaeology. It is possible to find them also in many Copper Age stelae from the Alps (Aosta, Sion, Arco). The real objects were found in Remedello sud necropolis (grave 83).
Animals take a big place in these boulders: aligned deers, chamois, foxes are engraved in regular rows. All figures take place in the panels with an order typical of Copper Age style, showing perhaps a religious aim.
The two boulders were completely re-traced by Footsteps of Man in 1993 for "Le Pietre degli Dei" (God Stones), an exhibition organized by the Bergamo Archaeological Museum.
The first engravings were found at Luine
in 1955. Now a Comunal Park is established, with more than 50 big rocks
engraved. The most interesting Bronze Age Rock Art is here, unfortunately
very difficult to see.
Even more difficult to see are the few figures engraved in the so-called Palaeolithic or Post-Palaeolithic style: some big animals naturalistically represented. Between them a deer and an elk.
One of the richest zones in Valcamonica Rock Art is on the mountain side of the Municipality of Paspardo, which take part in the inter-municipal Rock Art Reserve (Cemmo - Cimbergo - Paspardo). Many sites here: Scale di Paspardo, Dos Sottolajolo, In Valle, Vite, Capitello dei Due Pini, Dos Costapeta, Dos Sulif. Rock Art periods from late Neolithic to Iron Age and Medieval are represented.
At Vite two distinct periods in 30 rocks: late Neolithic-first Copper Age with topographic engravings, overlapped by Iron Age warriors and duels. Near an engraved rock was found a stone polished axe.
At In Valle one of the largest engraved rocks in Valcamonica, well known for facing deers and big Iron Age warriors with shield and spear.
At Dos Sottolajolo a very easy zone to reach, close to the village.
Inside the village a topographic engraved rock (late Neolithic-first Copper Age), called the "Roccia degli Spiriti" (The rock of the spirits).
At Capitello dei Due Pini (Two Pines Capitel) a very good panoramic point facing all the middle valley, and the famous Copper Age panel (see tracing in Copper Age section of Rock Art periods page).
Every year at Paspardo Footsteps of Man take a fieldwork in surveying and tracing engraved rocks.
Foppe di Nadro
A very interesting Regional Park is situated
at Foppe di Nadro, not far from Capo di Ponte and in the border of Naquane
National Park. Many large polished rocks show thousands of figures.
More than 100 pairs of footprints (middle Iron Age) in rock n.6, Bronze Age weapons and Iron Age itifallic warriors at rock n. 4, huts and camunnian roses at rock n. 24.
At the beginnig of the Park you can find a wodden sperimental reconstruction in natural size of an Iron Age granary, like the ones engraved.
Other important sites at Bedolina (well-known Iron Age topographic engravings), Seradina (rock n. 12 is one the largest, with interesting ploughing scenes), Corni Freschi di Darfo (Copper Age halberds), Sellero (Hercules' god representation, topographic engravings, cup--marks) and Sonico (concentric and radiated circles, meanders, palettes).
Very important Rock Art panels, linked with Valcamonica, has been found also in Valtellina (Grosio, Teglio).
A guide book:
- ARCA' A.- FOSSATI A., 1995*. Sui sentieri dell'arte rupestre,
le rocce incise delle Alpi, CDA, Torino
* In italian. A guide to the most important rock art sites in the Alps (France-Italy-Switzerland-Austria, included M. Bego, Valcamonica (100 pages), Valtellina, Garda Lake), with archaeological introductions to 14 different "areas" and 44 itineraries to go everywhere.
of the UNESCO
World heritage List
- Valcamonica chronology (Tracce paper)
- Warriors and duels (Tracce photogallery)
- Paspardo Rock Art (book)
Valcamonica fieldworks (details and infos)
Sui Sentieri dell'arte rupestre
Le rocce incise delle Alpi, storia, ricerche, escursioni
44 escursioni alle più importanti aree incise delle Alpi. 184 pagine in bianco e nero e a colori.
Acquistalo ora online (Paypal - carta di credito): 10 € in sconto web comprese spese di spedizione (Italia).
Walking on the rock art paths (in Italian). The most complete guide to the Alpine rock art . 184 pages, 44 full described trails (I-FR-CH-AU). 158 tracings and pictures, 20 maps, 21 boxes on Alpine culture.
Buy it directly online (Paypal or Credit Card): 10 € (Italy) or 15 € (Europe) shipping included.