The roots of the territory: archaeology and prehistory

Most visited attractions Culture and tradition Nature and adventure Music and entertainment Sport Families and children Piety Must-Eat Foods Wellness Unesco sites Rainy day?


Attracted by the mild, hospitable environment, human beings have lived in this area since time immemorial, and have left us considerable evidence of their presence.

Neolithic cup-marks – small round depressions carved into rocks and boulders –  are scattered throughout the territory.  What they were for is still a matter of controversy, but it is thought that they are linked to some kind of ancestral cult. Especially common in Piedmont, cup-marks can be seen at Brovello Carpugnino, where there are rocks with as many as a hundred engravings, or on the path that winds from Bèe round Monte Cimolo. Ancient communication routes are full of these prehistoric marks; some thirty cup-marks are engraved on a triangular boulder on the panoramic mule-track between Cossogno and Cicogna, and the Colma di Craveggia has the largest collection of rock engravings in the whole of the Vigezzo Valley.

The prehistoric Golasecca civilization, which developed along the western shores of the Ticino and in all of the surrounding territory, dates from the late Bronze-early Iron Age. Archaeological finds from the Golasecca site, comprising grave goods and pottery, are now conserved at the Civic Museum of Sesto Calende.

History and legend, myth and reality come together in the Muro del Diavolo (Devil’s Wall) at Crodo, a massive dry stone wall testifying to some ancient civilization and the sacred rites in which it was involved. Equally, the so-called Mascherone, a Celtic Face found near Vogogna, is evidence of a Celtic tradition in the area.

Roman civilization is also well-represented in the Lake Maggiore area. In Romagnano Sesia, for example, there is a votive cippus depicting two Roman magistrates, while the remains of a Roman fortalice are to be seen in Gravellona Toce.

This itinerary will take you to discover our ancient roots – and allow you to explore the treasures of the Lake Maggiore area.