A land rich in history and traditions with more and more international recognition.
After the first four sites – Camonica Valley Rock Engravings, Santa Giulia and Capitolium in Brescia, Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps on Lake Garda, and Camonica Valley – Alto Sebino Biosphere Reserve – UNESCO adds another Brescian name to the heritage list, making it a province even more full of wonders: transhumance.
A unique event which captures the curiosity of adults and children alike, transhumance is the ancient practice of seasonal migration from and to pastures. Herds of sheep and cows travel with their shepherds and dogs to reach the meadows high in the mountains in the spring and come back to their sheds in autumn. They pass through meadows and the alleys of old towns accompanied by the cheerful sound of their bells and the clicks of the many cameras trying to capture this moment.
On 11th December 2019, Transhumance was included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List as a tribute to this ritual which is still very much in use in Brescia’s valleys. From Bagolino, which every year in October organises a big festival to celebrate the passage of sheep, cows, and goats to other villages in Sabbia Valley – Vobarno, Treviso Bresciano, Pertica Alta, Preseglie, Pertica Bassa, Bione, Agnosine, and Mura. From upper Lake Garda, in particular Tremosine, to the municipalities of Camonica Valley like Borno, Edolo, Esine, Monno, and Corteno Golgi. Transhumance is still alive and ready to strike a chord in you.
Established on 26th July 2018, Camonica Valley – Alto Sebino Biosphere Reserve protects a priceless environmental ecosystem which stretches from Lake Iseo to Tonale Pass and the Adamello glaciers. It’s a unique combination of landscapes, natural environments, biodiversity, historic and cultural values, art, crafts, and identifying symbols encompassing no less than 1,360 km² and 45 municipalities along Oglio River.
This serial site is composed of 111 settlements across France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The recognition promotes the remains of pile dwelling villages which can be dated between 5000 and 500 b.C. Of the 19 Italian sites, several are in the province of Brescia between Lake Garda and the morainic hills: Lavagnone (between Desenzano and Lonato), Lucone di Polpenazze, and the submerged site of San Sivino – Manerba del Garda.
On 25th June 2011, San Salvatore, Santa Giulia Monastery and Roman Brescia Archaeological Park were listed as World Heritage by UNESCO as part of the serial site “Longobards in Italy. Places of Power (568-774 A.D.).”
Of exceptional value and composed of elements of different styles and ages, the monastery includes the Lombard San Salvatore Basilica with the crypt, the Romanesque Santa Maria in Solario Oratory, Coro delle Monache, and the 16th century church of Santa Giulia. The complex today hosts the City Museum, which also displays the remains of old Roman houses. In the nearby Roman Archaeological Park, you can admire the Capitolium Temple (73 A.D.) – the new house of the Winged Victory – and the interesting remains of the Theatre.
In addition to Brescia, the serial site includes other six Italian places.
Learn more about Brescia’s UNESCO site.
Camonica Valley has no less than 8 rock engraving parks included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. This ancient art made the area famous all over the world, thanks to the richness and variety of engravings made mostly between Upper Palaeolithic (around 10,000 years ago) and the end of the 1st millenium b.C.
One of the most popular sites is Naquane Park in Capo di Ponte, first Italian archaeological park and first Italian site to be included in the UNESCO list in 1979.
This 14-hectare park includes 104 sandstone rocks smoothed by the glaciers. The engraved scenes are among the best known in the rock engraving space: farming activities, hunting, fights, and huts but also geometric figures and symbols. It’s a complex, fascinating world which tells us the story of our ancestors.
In Capo di Ponte old centre you can visit MUPRE, Camonica Valley’s National Museum of Prehistory. It displays steles, boulders, and everyday objects and is a perfect complement to the valley’s incredible rock engravings.