Barma Mondon – Villar Pellice

Today I’d like to show you a really curious place that I visited this summer in Pellice Valley: we are in a place called “Barma Mondon” (named after the owner of the land), in the municipality of Villar Pellice, above Bessè township. What’s there to see? First of all such a beautiful landscape! …moreover, as I was resting in the cool under the barma I looked up and I saw strange drawings on the stone… wow, some rock paintings!
The barma is quite long and few meters deep, but the paintings are at more than 3 meters above the ground! Around it you can see a series of dry stone walls that served as a barn and storage for farming tools, but for many years they have been abandoned and weeds have grown. Today this area is in fact used as pasture for goats.

The paintings on the rock seemed to me very faded, but it is only because they’re really ancient! In fact, who painted these images probably chose this sheltered place knowing that his work would last long time: can you see the three grids with vertical bands? They are surrounded by smaller figures composed of two rows of people holding hands. Then you can see two upside down figures (perhaps human) and a tree (or spike) shape.

When do these paintings date back to? Experts think, comparing them with other similar paintings, to a period that goes from Neolithic (or the last period of Stone Age) to Copper Age… we are talking about the 4th millennium BC (I feel dizzy thinking about that!).
Even their meaning is rather mysterious … it seems pretty clear that the grids indicate the cultivated fields (just like those that you can still see today looking out of the window of the barma), but it may be that the intent was to draw a sort of map or representation of a ritual or festive dance scene dedicated to the cyclicity of nature and the cultivation of earth.

This time, as it already happened in other occasions, I will not give you indications to arrive in this place because it is not a route accessible without an expert guide (as I had!). Moreover, these very precious paintings, already in a state of natural decay, cannot risk being damaged by vandals … their inaccessibility has preserved them until today! 😉