The Pile-dwellings of the Valle di Ledro
The Valle di Ledro has been inhabited since the Bronze Age: many traces of this can still be seen in its extensive archaeological area and at the Museo delle Palafitte (Pile-dwelling Museum) in Ledro.
Renowned throughout northern Italy, the pile-dwellings of Ledro are actually one of the most important pile-dwelling sites in Europe: indeed, in 2012 the archaeological area of Ledro was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with 110 other “Prehistoric pile-dwelling sites in the Alps”.
The village, which dates back to about 4,000 years ago, can now be visited together with the rooms of the museum, which houses perfectly preserved artefacts and tools from the Bronze Age.
The pile-dwelling village
What are pile-dwellings? They are huts made of wood and straw built on water and connected to the land by a removable platform: in this way, the inhabitants of the valley were able to remain isolated and avoid any eventual attacks by fierce animals and parasites.
At Lake Ledro, the reconstructed huts are used as themed structures: we can visit the hut of the shaman, the artisan, the village chief, the farmer and all the people who were an essential part of prehistoric communities. Each hut also displays a number of artefacts from the Bronze Age, including arrows, bows, fishing nets, ploughs and other specifically reconstructed tools.
The Museo delle Palafitte (Pile-dwelling Museum) in Ledro
The museum, situated adjacent to the village, offers a comprehensive exhibition of artefacts found near the pile-dwellings during excavations, which are displayed on information boards and enhanced with descriptions of the period and their uses. Original tools and utensils are preserved here, including pottery, crockery, metal objects for daily use, for hunting, fishing and agricultural practices. The museum tour allows visitors to delve into the past and retrace the customs of our prehistoric ancestors. The museum is situated on the lakeshore near the beach in Molina di Ledro.
The Museum and prehistoric life experience
The Museum, now a territorial section of the MUSE, the Museum of Science in Trento, is very active in educational terms. During the summer, visitors can take part in games, workshops and events specifically designed for schools and children. Some of the most interesting initiatives have included “Palafittando”, “Living Prehistory” and “Una notte in palafitta” (A night in a pile-dwelling) so that visitors can learn about archaeology in an enjoyable way.
An interesting fact…
In autumn 1929, the water level of Lake Ledro was lowered to facilitate the building of the hydroelectric plant in Riva del Garda: this led to the discovery of an extensive area with more than 10,000 piles. The Pile-dwellings of Ledro were discovered after thousands of years and aroused the interest of the international archaelogical community.
For specific information on tickets, times and programmes, please visit the official website of the Museum: www.palafitteledro.it