Walks of Italy has a passion for history and we love sharing it with everyone who is interested in traveling to Italy. We’d love to show the history and culture of Italy to you if you enjoy our guides.
Although the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Rome are amazing, they are not the most ancient in Italy. You can read our guide for visiting Pompeii to find out more. But if you’re looking to see ruins that are truly old (going back to the 8th century B.C. This is the list for you. It’s unique, fascinating, and off-the-beaten-path. These are five of our favorite prehistoric sites in Italy.
1. Avellino’s “Prehistoric Pompeii”, an eruption that occurred during the Avellino eruption
Mt. Vesuvius was blown to the top by a catastrophe known as the Avellino Eruption. It had the same consequences for nearby towns, despite its different name, as it did in 79 A.D.
Nola, a Bronze Age village located at Croce di Papa in Campania was “frozen” in time. It contained huts and pottery as well as footprints of fleeing residents. Even furniture was preserved. This remarkable find was one the most significant for Bronze Age archaeology worldwide!
The prehistoric village Nola is currently closed due to water damage. But, stay tuned to see when it may reopen.
2. Sardinia’s Giants’ Graves
Sardinia is more than just sun and sand. From the 18th century B.C., this was home to the Nuragic civilization. They left an indelible mark, from the 18th century B.C. all the way to the 2nd Century A.D. We love the “Giants’ Graves”, which are monumental tombs that date back to the Bronze Age. There have been 321 of them so far! While you don’t have to see them all, a few should be on your list of things to do in Sardinia.
3. Val Camonica’s Stone carvings
Val Camonica is one of the most beautiful valleys in Italy’s Alps, and it’s near Lake Como or Lake Garda in northern Italy. The largest collection of prehistoric stone carvings from Europe is found in this valley, which includes more than 300,000. The Mesolithic period is when the earliest carvings were made. They date back to the 8th century B.C. It is the most important UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site in Italy. You can find more information about the area in our guide Lake Garda.
4. Nuraghi of Sardinia
These mysterious structures were left behind by the Nuragic people, along with the Giants’ graves and temples, and sacred pits. They are called nuraghi or nuraghe if only one exists, but we don’t know why they were there. Temple? Fortification?
The mystery is made more intriguing by the fact that there are so few nuraghi on this small island. A few hundred thousand are left, but they still guard a lost culture.
5. Matera’s Neolithic Caves
One of the earliest human settlements in Italy is located in Matera, in the southern region. Paleolithic settlers created cave dwellings from the rocks as early as the 13th century B.C. It is the only settlement in Italy that has survived for more than three thousand years. Matera is also worth a visit for the many other structures carved from stone, such as its famous frescoed churches. You can read our 7 Tips for visiting Matera first.