THE LANDMARKS OF NATURE
The charm of a pristine land
In Valle Camonica it is easy to plunge into nature : you just have to lift your gaze and notice the snowy peaks , forests , side valleys furrowing the mountains. Just move along the paths or the mule tracks, go up toward the huts, to feel you are entering the secrets of nature .
More than half of the Camunian territory is safeguarded by protected areas, among which the Stelvio National Park and the Adamello Regional Park, lands hosting a rich and varied fauna, as well and spontaneous vegetation which grows thanks to the merging of the glaciers’ cold and Lake Iseo’s temperate climate.
But Valle Camonica is an authentic territory . Along with the natural setting, in fact, it allows you to rediscover numerous aspects of the human presence : medieval hamlets and tourist resorts , the manufacturing activities and the agricultural traditions , the great cycles of Renaissance art and the craft tradition of widespread knowhow.
Valle Camonica is its nature and its history : it is the Valley of Landmarks.
THE LANDMARKS OF HISTORY
The long story of human presence
Valle Camonica’s history is rich and ancient, indeed prehistoric!
More than 10,000 years ago a civilization of prehistoric people, the Camunians, settled down in this territory and left an indelible mark of their presence through their rock engravings. Three hundred thousand engraved images on the stones, the largest concentration of prehistoric rock art of Europe, the first Italian site acknowledged by UNESCO as humankind’s World Heritage.
After the Camunians , the Valley underwent a quick Roman influence, with the first settling of the Romans starting from the 1° century b.c.e., whose evidence is still visible today in the archaeological sites of Cividate Camuno and Breno.
Castles, strongholds, ancient hamlets are the marks of history progressing all the way to our days, with evidence of the early industrialization, with the first blast furnaces, the forges, the hydroelectric power plants, the tragic blows of the Great War on Mt. Adamello.
Valle Camonica is the long story of European civilization.
THE LANDMARKS OF ART
From the great masters of the past to contemporary art
Valle Camonica has always been a boundary area, where people passed and met. Even more so in the genius of many travelling artists, who passed through these paths and mountain roads to meet these generous and refined communities, who received them and often guarded them as valuable signs of civilization.
From the elegant classicism of Giovanni Pietro da Cemmo (15th cent.), to the popular realism of one of the most renowned Lombard artists, Girolamo Romani, called Romanino ( 16th cent.), who did engaging route among the full-blooded faces of the valley, transposed into sacred representations amazing for the “expressionistic" notes in his latest pictorial phase.
In this, as in many Alpine valleys, the tradition of sculpture also as great value, testified by the presence of important schools of intaglio and sculpture, such as the Edolo Ramus workshop (17th cent.), which sculptured the baroque altars of all the Upper Valle Camonica churches, culminating in the astonishing Way of the Cross of Cerveno, sculpted by Beniamino Simoni in the 18th century, all the way to the contemporary art by Franca Ghitti, an worldwide known artist, who has been able to translate this tradition in her works together with the secrets of "iron-working”.
THE LANDMARKS OF FAITH
The Valley of the Sacred
Since Prehistory Valle Camonica has hosted rites and man’s intimate devoutness towards the sacred. Today the Camunian territory continues to be a highly spiritual place: its churches and its saints, the retreats and the monasteries, the religious and popular traditions are the spaces and the feelings of the residents’ daily life. They are also a continuing invitation to dialogue, to the sharing of reasons and meanings of existence.
The territory, with the strength of its landscape, is the background that unites these multiple and authentic expressions of spirituality: from the cult sities of prehistory to the statue of the gilded Christ King of Bienno, which welcomes from a high stance the visitors going up the Valley, from the Spinera sanctuary near Breno, dedicated to the cult of the waters and the goddess Minerva, Cevo’s Cross of the Pope, folding upon itself, as if to safeguard the intimate sacred space of the mountain. And the popular faith explodes in the ten-yearly procession of the Cerveno Santa Crus, in the majestic flower decking of Gianico and Berzo Demo.
THE LANDMARKS OF TRADITION
The sound of the future, the echo of the past
Valle Camonica listens to the future, but always with a heedful ear to the echoes of its history and its distant origins. The ethnographic museums, numerous and spread along the whole territory, support by documentary evidence the farming and pastoral past of the Camunian people, who have always had to deal with the very harsh conditions of life due to the hard and wild mountains.
The Network "Museums of Valle Camonica" puts together these museums, along with the structures that testify the art of iron working, very common around Bienno, in the little Valle dei Magli (Valley of Hammers). The Musil, Museum of Hydroelectric Industry in Cedegolo, with its enchanting setting tells of the early phases of the costruction of the big hydroelectric crafts, while the Museum of White War reconstructs the painful occurrences of World War I on Mt. Adamello. And then the Camus, the Camunian museum in Breno, tells in a commendable and concise way the historical, familiar, artistic happenings of Valle Camonica.
THE LANDMARKS OF TASTE, WELLBEING AND SPORTS
A chest of jewels for all interests
The food production in Valle Camonica is a passion and a tradition that every family as always carried on.
The typical Camunian products are many and distributed all over the territory: from the olive oil produced on the shores of Lake Iseo to the high mountain pasture cheeses. Certainly the first place goes to the local cold cuts and cheeses, but the Valley is known also for the production of honey, wine, distillates, cereals and for the chestnut products, such as sweets, pasta and liqueurs.
These are the products of the territory, which are found on the cultivated fields and in the terraced along the slopes, which many young people come back to farm. It is heroic agriculture, to rediscover the values ??of a land with the aim of reinforcing own tourist calling.
Today the Valley really offers many possible discoveries and entertainment; in ski areas it is also possible to practice snowboard, sled-dog, cross country skiing, alpine skiing, walks with snowshoes, and there is never a lack of competitive events.
From spring to autumn, then, the Valley is crossed by motor bikers, trekkers and hikers, free climbers, as well as cyclists and mountain bikers.
And after so much sport, a stop at the spa is a must to relax body and mind. Historical is the Boario Spa, a reference point since the ‘700s, praised even by Alessandro Manzoni.
THE LANDMARKS OF A SUSTAINABLE VALLEY
In the countryside new paths and ancient suggestions
Valle Camonica, in these latest years, as been strengthening its own tourist offer remarkably, through the introduction of new routes and the rediscovery of most ancient suggestions.
To cross the Valley on a bike, without too much effort, you can choose the cycle track which runs from Pisogne to Capo di Ponte: a route which is continually expanding and getting nicer, with more than 50 kilometers of existing paths.
But the countryside of Valle Camonica can also be crossed on foot, through the historical Via Valeriana, a path of about 130 km, starting from Fantecolo, in nearby Franciacorta, to arrive at Aprica and Tonale passes. An authentic immersion in all the natural and cultural resources of the Valley can be made through another long route which retreads the legendary path of the army led by Charlemagne, who conquered, according to the legend, all the Camunian territories and founded numerous churches and Christian cult sites.
A long route is also arranged for those who love horses: 200 km of horse trail which, through paths and mule tracks, link Mt. Adamello to Lake Garda.
("Vallecamonica . A territory of meetings")