The Mysterious Rock Formations in Lombardy: The Pyramids of Zone

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Northern Italy’s Lombardy region holds some of the most mysterious, natural rock formations in Italy. Known as the Piramide di Zone or the Pyramids of Zone, these strange formations are named after the area- Zone (near Brescia). In geology, these particular formations caused by erosion are known as hoodoos.


What Causes These Formations

Hoodoos also go by the names of tent rocks, earth or erosion pyramids, or fairy chimneys. They can be found all over the world with the most famous being in Utah’s Bryce Canyon in the U.S. In Italy, besides the Zone Pyramids, they can also be found in the South Tyrol region. These oddly-shaped pillars are formed over centuries due to both physical and chemical weather erosion. Wind, acid rain, and frost slowly break down the rock until only these other-worldly towers remain. Some of the spires are 30 meters tall (98 ft) and balance a massive boulder that seems to teeter on top.

The Pyramids of Zone Reserve

The park was created in 1984 and encompasses an area of 21 hectares. Within the reserve, there is a challenging trail (for more experienced hikers) that will allow you to walk amongst the hoodoos and get up close and personal. It’s not recommended for inexperienced hikers or families with young children. If you can manage it, it is the best way to take in the awe-inspiring sight. Otherwise, you can see them from the road in your car.


Helpful Info

Entrance to the park is free and under normal circumstances, is open year-round. The best time to visit is during the late spring and early summer.

The closest train station is Marone and from there, you can get to Zone by bus.

If you cannot make it to the Pyramids or Lake Iseo, this website provides a wonderful 360 virtual tour of the major sites in the area.

Helpful websites in English: Visit Lake Iseo