The Sacred Rocks of Brovello Carpugnino

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How to get

By car: from the A26, exit at Brovello Carpugnino. After the village of Graglia, a few dozen metres from the bridge over the River Crisana, take the old mule-track to the left and go on for about 500 metes.
By train: the nearest railway station is Stresa, 8 km away.


Graglia is a pretty little village near Brovello Carpugnino which has an incomparable view over the Borromean Gulf. The village is famous for its huge “collection” of cup marks, small round depressions carved into the rock, sometimes connected by channels or “gutters”, which are still a puzzle for researchers.

There are about a hundred of these marks here on the great rocky outcrop near the village. The meaning of the cup marks is not yet clear, though there are various interpretations linking them to ancient religious cults. Oddly, the area has several other rocky outcrops, but without engravings; the probable reason is that the particular type of rock where the cup marks appear was held to be sacred by the early inhabitants of Graglia.

On the highest of the six groups of boulders beyond the village you can see a footprint-shaped engraving, a particular type of rock engraving interpreted as a symbol of “presence” or “possession” of a certain area. Some have interpreted these engravings as the footprints of brides which were cut into the rock during the wedding ceremony.