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Camonica Valley is known worldwide for its outstanding wealth and variety of engraved rock art. In 1979 it was the first Italian site to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It is a truly unique place of beauty and charm, where Humankind interacted with the environment since Prehistory, characterizing it as the “The Valley of Landmarks”.
UNESCO’s heritage n. 94 nomination, “Rock Drawings in Valcamonica”, testifies a bounty of engravings scattered along the entire valley, with more than 180 sites spread over 24 municipalities, covering more than twelve thousand years of history. Its chief importance refers not only to the amount of engraved subjects and their chronological evolution, but also to the close relation between the engraved figures and Human history: discovering and getting to know Camunian rock art is the first step toward a unique and unforgettable journey into European prehistory and protohistory, to arrive, through engravings of historical ages (Roman, medieval, modern) at the threshold of the 20th century.
Currently there are eight parks where you can enjoy your visit to rock art, but their number is due to increase, not only for the wealth of archaeological finds in more areas of the Valley, but also thanks to the Local Institutions, engaged in the promotion of the land’s cultural heritage and aware that it contributes to social-economic development.
Threading your way through Camonica Valley’s archaeological parks you may wonder at the hunters, warriors and farmers, carts and ploughs, horses, oxen, deer, water birds and dogs, huts and medieval rooks.... many more engraved figures and symbols, and their associated theories!
The site introduces the visitor to this fascinating cultural heritage, where art intertwines with history, religion and Humanities. A tour of these places is a fundamental step to experience in person an exciting journey backward in time.
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The rock art heritage of Camonica Valley, the first UNESCO Italian site since 1979, is divided into eight great archaeological parks.
From the ancient-most marks at Luine Park to the mysterious geometric symbols of Sonico Park, it’s easy to see why a visit to Camunian rock art is a dive into places, colours, lights and smells that let you savour sites which may be neighbouring but each of them with unique characteristics. In the Seradina and Bedolina Park you may be charmed by the sinuous lines of the horsemen-hunters of Rock 12 and by the bright purple colour of “Opuntia compressa”, a small prickly pear that carries you away to distant places.
Over a short hill, accompanied by a gurgling mountain creek, visitors to Sellero Park will meet the biggest engraved “Camunian Rose”.
NaquanePark amazes for its Great Rock, where some unique symbols, such as looms and the labyrinth, tell tales of past life or legends. In Cemmo Park you may observe the engravings first discovered by scholars as far back as 1909 and Ossimo Park is reconstructed today as a ceremonial site of the 3rd millennium BCE.
The eight rock art parks of Camonica Valley are placed in this broad context, unfolding from the lower valley with Lake Moro Intermunicipal Park, which comprises Luine Park and the Corni Freschi site, in Darfo Boario Terme, all the way to the “Coren delle Fate”, a polythematic pathway in Sonico, in the upper valley.
Discovering CamonicaValley’s National Museum of Prehistory
Camonica Valley is world-famous due to its extraordinary collection of figures engraved on rocks, most of them from prehistoric times. But while this ancient iconographic heritage is well known to the general public, less known are the daily aspects of life. The folks known since the Iron Age as Camunni, where did they live? Where did they work? Where did they pray their gods? Where did they bury their dead? These questions will be answered by the new Museo Nazionale della Preistoria della Valle Camonica, which will be officially opened at the start of 2013.See Museum
Planning Your Visit
Plan a Visit
Eight rock art parks can be visited today (2012), situated all along Camonica Valley, with differing natural and landscape characteristics.
In this website you can find pages describing each park, guiding visitors to the best choice according to their interests and needs: some parks present level pathways with facilities, others can be trodden only through mountain trails; the vegetation cover varies depending on the altitude and the slope; rock art also presents different themes and symbols, depending on chronology and cultural traditions.