Grotta di Val de Varri

Grotta di Val de Varri

Rock art engravings

Lazio – Pescorocchiano (Rieti)

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Val de Varri rock art site

Paintings none
Engravings 22+
Site dimensions 2235m lenght
Site orientation South-West
Site altitude a.s.l. 825m

Val de Varri is a stream sink cave where water from the Rio Varri river enters underground passages. Currently, the cave can be explored for 2235 meters, with a vertical drop of -120 meters between the sink and the innermost part (Mecchia et al. 2003:364-367). This karst system was first explored in 1929 by members of the Speleological Club of Rome and is now cataloged in the Lazio cave database with the record number 288/La. The initial section, accessible from the right of the entrance waterfall, comprises a large room (15x15m) locally known as “Grotta Superiore” (Upper Cave). This room was inhabited during the Middle Bronze Age.

Presently, Val de Varri is a tourist cave with specific schedules and appointments required for visits

The entrance of Val de Varri cave (photo from

Val de Varri rock art figures

In 1929, the cave’s first explorers reported the discovery of a ‘primitive idol.’ This curious find consisted of a white concretion with a distinct anthropomorphic shape, which starkly contrasted with the dark concretions and deposits found within the so-called ‘Upper Cave’. Positioned atop a mud accumulation of sediments that spread outwards from a concentrated source on a wall of the ‘Upper Cave,’ this supposed ‘idol’ occupies a strikingly suggestive location. While it is clearly a natural formation, some authors suggest that this concretion may have influenced ancient visitors to the cave.”

The rock art engravings were discovered in the late 1990s by local archaeologists and are situated along the side walls of the ‘Upper Cave.’ The rock art of Val de Varri predominantly features geometric figures, including concentric circles, semicircles, dots, and lines

The supposed "idol" reported by the first explorer (photo from Güller and Segre 1948)
The rock art of Val de Varri (photo from Sebasti and Camara 2001)
The rock art of Val de Varri (photo from Sebasti and Camara 2001)
The rock art of Val de Varri (photo from Sebasti and Camara 2001)
The rock art of Val de Varri (photo from Sebasti and Camara 2001)
The rock art of Val de Varri (photo from Sebasti and Camara 2001)
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Mattioli, Tommaso

L'arte rupestre in Italia centrale : Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo Book

Ali&no, Perugia, 2007, ISBN: 9788887594997.

Links | BibTeX


Mecchia, Giovanni; Mecchia, Marco; Piro, Maria; Barbati, Maurizio

Le Grotte Del Lazio: I Fenomeni Carsici, Elementi Della Geodiversità Book

Agenzia Regionale Parchi - Roma, 2003.



Sebasti, Fabio; Camara, Samou

Testimonianze di arte rupestre scoperte nel grottone di Val de Varri (Rieti, Italia) Journal Article

In: Atti del II Convegno internazionale di archeologia rupestre "Archeologia e arte rupestre: l'Europa, le Alpi, la Valcamonica”, pp. 57-61, 2001.



Sebasti, Fabio; Camara, Samou

Prehistoric paintings in the Val De Varri’s cave Journal Article

In: TRACCE, vol. 9, 1997.

Links | BibTeX


Tusa, Sebastiano

Problematica sui luoghi di culto nel Lazio dal Neolitico all'età del Bronzo Journal Article

In: Quaderni del Centro di Studio per l'Archeologia Etrusco -Italica, Centro di Studio per l’Archeologia Etrusco-Italica, vol. IV, pp. 143-147, 1980.



Güller, Alfred; Aldo Giacomo, Segre

La stazione enea del grottone di Val de' Varri nell'Appennino abruzzese Journal Article

In: Rivista di Antropologia, Istituto Italiano di Antropologia, vol. 36, pp. 269-281, 1948.



Leva, Marcello

La grotta di Val de Varri e una serie di interessanti scoperte eneolitiche nel carseolano (Abruzzo) Journal Article

In: Le Grotte d'Italia (Istituto Italiano di Speleologia), vol. 5, iss. 2, pp. 85-87, 1931.


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