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Between Myth and Legend: the Marocche di Dro and the City of Kas

by Isabelle Yrma Pace
Reading time 3 minutes
There is a legend that tells of a population destroyed by the landslide which caused one of the most interesting geological spectacles: the Marocche di Dro. Let's find out about it together!

The myths and legends of a region are often one of the most fascinating ways to tell the story of particular places and corners which, thanks to these stories, acquire mystery and beauty.

Like the Marocche of Dro in Garda Trentino.

What are they? How did they come into being? What are they hiding?

Science, or rather geology, answers the first two questions.

The Marocche are the largest landslide system of stone material in Europe, kilometers and kilometers of stones stacked on top of each other.

A real system because they were not created through a single collapse, but with at least a dozen over the course of time.

But the third question remains to be answered: what do the Marocche of Dro conceal? We can answer this question with the myth.

In fact, there is a curious legend that tells of the licentious city of Kas, whose inhabitants led a life of lust and vice until the landslide, that caused the Marocche, intervened to put an end their dissolute lifestyle. Legend has it that this natural event was the “divine punishment” for their excesses.

Something happened in 1922 which reinforced the mythical story: during an excavation to expand the pipeline of the Fies hydroelectric plant, the workers found a piece of tile at a depth of forty metres. This proves that there were actually settlements in the area dating back to the Roman era and that the last collapse must have occurred in quite recent times.

The Artist Franco Pivetti’s Exhibition

Between Myth and Legend: the Marocche di Dro and the City of Kas Culture Garda Stories
@Franco Pivetti

Franco Pivetti, born in Modena but, by adoption, from Garda, is an all-round artist who, has created an excellent artistic project based precisely on the legend of the city of Kas.

Pivetti on the other hand is a multifaceted artist. In 1984 he was entrusted with the role of the administrator of the “G.Vittone” House of Artists Consortium, a body concerned with cultural initiatives promoted by the municipalities of Tenno, Riva del Garda, Arco and Nago-Torbole.

Among the most significant events which he has planned there are also much loved ones such as “Rustico Medioevo”.

But this sensitive and imaginative artist has also created a curious and fascinating exhibition: “the treasure of Kas, the story of a mythical buried city, told by a contemporary artist”.

Pivetti started from history, from the evidence of the facts, from the boulders of the Marocche. Nothing prevents us from thinking that the gigantic landslide of 2000 years ago buried a city. Not necessarily Roman, not necessarily Rhaetian.

It may be that the ancient inhabitants of Kas worshiped the Moon, the centre of a primitive (monotheistic?) religion at the top of which there was a priestess figure, also identifiable with the queen of the city, always adorned with splendid jewels that testified to her rank. In Kas there was an evolved society, probably matriarchal.

Another mysterious and fascinating element of Kas, probably connected with the religion of the city, was a huge reptile, similar to a lizard, which the inhabitants of Kas feared. They tried to appease its anger with prayers, sacrifices and magical rites.

Between Myth and Legend: the Marocche di Dro and the City of Kas Culture Garda Stories
@Franco Pivetti

From this information, combined with the imagination that only a curious and multifaceted artist like Pivetti can have, his exhibition was born: it included impressive silver articles, drawings, engraved stones, graffiti on sand, sculptures and raku ceramics made by Pivetti himself. They told how the inhabitants of this city, which mixes history and myth, could have lived, if the legend were true. It is a fantastic and imaginative journey, original and legendary, in history through one of the most picturesque corners of Trentino, the Marocche between Dro and Drena that you can admire in all their sensational beauty by mountain bike or on a wonderful trekking excursion.

This protected natural area of Garda Trentino makes any visitor feel truly “on the moon” and in the midst of dinosaur footprints (the footprints discovered in 2000 were left around 190 million years ago by different dinosaurs, at least a large herbivore of 6-7 metres long and a carnivore) and the stark contrast between “white rocks and green mountains” it will really seem, if you close your eyes, to relive the legend of the city of Kas.

Walking on the “moon”: an excursion in the Marocche Natural Reserve

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