Pyramids of Zone – Cislano, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Pyramids of Zone

Cislano, Italy

A unique form of erosion created an uncanny landscape of boulders perched atop slender columns of clay. 


Zone is a quaint Lombard village near Lake Iseo that would be all but forgotten if it weren’t for the Pyramids.  Unlike their better known Egyptian counterparts, the Pyramids of Zone are the product of nature, making them, if not more majestic, at least more intriguing.  

Located in a clay reservoir, the Pyramids are hoodoos (also known as tent rocks, earth or erosion pyramids, or fairy chimneys), which result from prolonged erosion.  Layers of clay are washed away all around boulders, with the latter protecting the clay deposit directly underneath them. 

Year after year of such erosion has left a surreal landscape marked by boulders perched on top of spindly towers of clay, some reaching as high as 30 meters (98 feet).

The scenery can be taken in from the road, but it is worthwhile venturing down the steep trail that snakes through the Pyramids.  Although part of the trail can be challenging, it is relatively short, and it could be completed in 30 minutes.  However, allow at least one hour for appreciating the spectacle from down below.  Bear in mind that the site is in continuous change due to erosion, and caution must be taken when walking under the Pyramids.

Know Before You Go

Public transport reaches Zone but it is best accessed using own vehicle.

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