• Active & Green

Spine-tingling Lombardy: discovering 5 mysterious places in our region

Lombardy is an ancient land, steeped in history and full of charm: its welcoming and generous lands have been home to many different peoples and cultures: the Etruscans and the Umbrians until 400 BC, followed by the Gauls, Romans, Barbarians and Lombards, and then again, in more recent centuries, the French and Spanish.

 

Their culture, traditions, customs and myths survive in the legends, the tales and the rural, architectural and religious works that tell us today about the lives and secrets of times past. Of course, the stories lose their detail over time, leaving gaps which are filled by mysteries. Here are 5 destinations for an unusual visit to Lombardy. In Rezzato (province of Brescia), for example, in the wood surrounding an ancient Franciscan monastery, hides a strange, centuries-old curiosity: it is said to represent the face of the devil... 

 

Face to face with the devil, at San Pietro in Colle 
In Brescian dialect they call it “Diaol” or “Mostasù”, meaning 'ugly face', and it is not easy to find. And it's even harder to understand. As you step deep into the wood on the hill where the Franciscan monastery of San Pietro in Colle (11th C) stands in Rezzato, you come to the Rasa path that leads from the building and takes you among the ancient trees, until you reach the large rock between the path and the slope. Look carefully, and carved into the rock you will see a disturbing bas-relief: "the face of the devil", a face that is half-human, half-beast, the guardian of this ancient spot. Numerous legends surround the face, some going back to the mysterious date (1798) engraved in the stone, relating to a man's death, and others saying that it is the very face of a demon and that witches' Sabbaths were held in the sacred wood. Between the faun and the satyr, Mostasù, more prosaically, resembles the Green Man, the Celtic guardian spirit of the woods, also known as Pan, the ancient god of fauna and fertility.

 

How many ribs does a dragon have?
The Santuario della Madonna di Sombreno in Paladina (1443) and the Romanesque Basilica of San Giorgio in Lemine, Almenno San Salvatore (1171), both in the province of Bergamo, share an extraordinary curiosity. From the roofs of these two ancient buildings, since the beginning of time, the ribs of a dragon have hung! Legend has it that these ancient relics belonged to the ferocious dragon that lived near the Brembo, later slayed by Saint George. A symbol of the victory of good over evil, the mythical dragon's ribs are, in fact,... those of a whale. A cetacean even older than the dragon, dating back 5 million years, to the Pliocene Epoch, when Lombardy was submerged in what is now the Adriatic Sea.  

 

Erratic blocks and rock tombs of the Lario Triangle 
In the areas of Torno and Blevio in the heart of the Lario Triangle (province of Como), two impressive blocks of rock, the mushroom-shaped Pietra Pendula and the Pietra Nairola, a large flat table jutting out of the mountain, attract the curious tourists. As the legend goes, the devil liked to play ball on the Pietra Nairola and the protruding, balancing part of the rock is the work of the Madonna.  In fact, they are erratic blocks, large isolated masses of rock, transported from glaciers during the Quaternary Period. Some are natural monuments, recognised by the Region of Lombardy in 1984. In Torno, you will also find mysterious bathtub-shaped rock tombs (5th-6th Cent. AD) dug into erratic blocks: the tombs of Maas, Rasina, Piazz, Negrenza…

In Montevecchia, pyramids as in Egypt
In Valcurone (province of Lecco), the three pyramids of Montevecchia were discovered in 2001, thanks to a satellite observation by the architect Vincenzo di Gregorio. The three terraced hills, on a 44 degree slope and 40-50 metres high, resemble the pyramids of Egypt and have the same astronomical orientation as the Pyramids on the Giza Plateau. Who built them? Certainly man, as they have been modelled into the limestone rock. Why? To observe the sky, the phases of the moon, the eclipses. They are ancient astronomical and sacred sites. This theory is confirmed by the finds discovered on one of the three, and which date back to the Celts (500 BC). 

 

The ghosts of the Castle on the Adda
At last, a real ghost story: the tale of those haunting the Castello Visconteo di Trezzo d’Adda, outside Milan. Built in 1370 on the instigation of Bernabò Visconti, the ancient fortress, over the centuries, has witnessed disputes, fighting, intrigue, betrayal and murders committed in the tower, in the wells and in the creepy hidden areas underground.  Bloodthirsty deeds that have left their victims roaming the castle. Whom might you meet at the Castle, after midnight? The ghost of Federico Barbarossa (1122 – 1190), the Holy Roman Emperor who protects his hidden treasure, still kept safe and sound; the ghost of Bernabò Visconti himself (1321-1385), killed by his nephew Giangaleazzo, and the ghost of his daughter, who was thrown into the well because she was in love with a groom; the ghosts of medieval maidens and warriors, the shadow of the lady of the castle who killed herself… If you would like a bloodthirsty weekend, the castle and its ghosts are waiting for you! P.S. don't forget to book...
 

On the same topic

Autumn in Valtellina

  • Active & Green
Trekking among the Woods

Bergamo Valle di Scalve, nature, peace and quiet

  • Active & Green
Bergamo Valle di Scalve, tra natura e tranquillità

Snowshoe walking in Prato Valentino: Anello Verdomana

Silenzio ovattato, inebriante profumo di bosco, tracce di animali selvatici sulla neve e fantastici panorami. È quanto si può godere compiendo un'attività fisica alla portata di tutti e poco dispendiosa: le escursioni con le racchette da neve.
  • Active & Green
Snowshoe walking in Prato Valentino: Anello Verdomana

The joy of running

Enjoy your training in Cremona
  • Active & Green
The joy of running

Where to Go Fishing in Lombardy

Carps, chars, trout. River and lake fish. Some advice on where to go fishing in Lombardy. From Pavia to Como
  • Active & Green
Where to go fishing in Lombardy, hints and ideas

Parks and gardens to explore online

Green virtual tours in Lombardy
  • Active & Green
Parchi e giardini da scoprire online

A green escape in Milan

  • Active & Green
A green escape in Milan

The Park Colonie Padane is open!

Come and discover the park!
  • Active & Green
The Park Colonie Padane is open!

Gardens Pavia

Not just the city: a walk through botanic gardens and oasis for a green break
  • Active & Green
Gardens Pavia, discovering Lombardy

4 passi per tutti - I maggenghi di Caspoggio

Sant'Antonio (1337 m) oppure la Motta (1480 m)
  • Active & Green
4 passi per tutti - I maggenghi di Caspoggio

Brescia Nature, taste and traditions: Val Sabbia

From multiple-day treks with night-breaks at mountain huts, to shorter walks open to all: a charming valley for all tastes set against the background of the little lake Idro
  • Active & Green
Brescia Natura, gusto e tradizioni: la Val Sabbia

Gardens Bergamo

An unforgettable journey through the wonders of the Bergamo landscape
  • Active & Green
Gardens Bergamo, the green side of Lombardy

Journey to the centre of the earth in Lombardy

Discover the secrets of Lombardy's mines: history, culture, mystery, and trade in the heart of the mountains
  • Active & Green
Viaggio al centro della terra, in Lombardia

Galbusera bianca

Rediscover the taste of life slowly immersed in unspoiled nature, visit the Oasis of Galbusera Bianca.
  • Active & Green
Galbusera Bianca

Trekking with Alpacas

Alpacas la Foppa: the first alpaca farm in Valmalenco.
  • Active & Green
Trekking with Alpacas

4 passi per tutti - Il giro dei 3 ponti

Chiareggio
  • Active & Green
4 passi per tutti - Il giro dei 3 ponti

Shades of fall - excursions to discover the foliage

  • Active & Green
Shades of fall - excursions to discover the foliage

Ski touring in Valmalenco

Valmalenco is a synonym to ski touring. Every spot of the valley is suitable for nice ascents.
  • Active & Green
Cresta delle Belleviste - Valmalenco

Gardens Brescia

Let yourself be enchanted by the splendor of the green and the thousand colors of the nature of the gardens of Brescia
  • Active & Green
Gardens Brescia, the greener side of Lombardy

Excursions to Zelo Buon Persico

An itinerary to discover the canals and natural beauty of Lodigiano
  • Active & Green
Excursions to Zelo Buon Persico