Recently I was looking through a small travel guide that I have had for awhile, entitled 'Italian Lakes (Insight Compact Guides; 1996). While scanning through it, I found two important pieces of text. One positive, and one negative for us.
Let's get the negative one out've the way first. On page 9 under the heading "Language," it states: Un omm al gheva a düü fiö ("A man had two sons") could be the opening of any local fairytale, and anyone who's just done a course in Italian will be annoyed to discover that he doesn't understand a word. The strange language is Lombardian. Never fear, however, only a few small communities high in the mountains continue to communicate in it. The language of Dante - which marked the beginning of Italian literature - was Tuscan, and over the centuries Lombardian was gradually squeezed out by Tuscan Italian as the favored dialect.
Would I be overreacting to conclude that what I just read was someone gloating over the fact that a major part of one of the world's cultures was almost gone? The wording of it, at the least, showed a mindless slant towards the mere temporary visit of a tourist. Heaven forbid, should a person actually believe that Lombardia should still be a sovergn nation, still officially speak their own "strange language," and still be maintained as a intrinsic-homeland for the Lombardian people.
The second one was on page 54 of the chapter entitled 'Route 7' (Lake Iseo). It states: One very rewarding car excursion from the Lago d' Iseo is to Capo di Ponte, halfway up the Val Camonica to the northeast, famed for its prehistoric rock engravings. Around 158,000 of these have been discovered, and they date from different periods - some even from Neolithic times (8,000 years ago). The engravings, many of which show hunting scenes and religious symbols, can be admired in Capo di Ponte's National Rock Engravings Park (Parco Nazionale delle Incisioni Rupestri), which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.
The Neolithic dating for some of the Camunian symbols is very significant. It shows an incredible continuity of culture. This was long before the Celts migrated to this region. These were very ancient Alpine people who predated Mediterranean and Nordic peoples in Europe (both having later migrated westward from the Middle East and northern Eurasia). Also, the religious nature of some of the artifacts is significant. Imagine our ancestors, who had great knowledge of the stars, observing them on a perfect night.... 8,000 years ago. Lastly, this second revelation of Neolithic origins gives a perfect basis for why the first is such a negative.