What it is and where it is
One walks among apple orchards and vineyards, intoxicated by their scent and enhanced by the panoramic view of the Bressanone valley, until a small path opens onto the road. The entrance is narrow and half-hidden by vegetation, as if hiding a secret. At this very point, a marker indicates to us that this is the path to a distant time: we are about to arrive at the "witches' chute." It is a smooth, sloping rock surface that folk tradition sees as the scene of witch gatherings and fertility rites.
Why it is special
The slide 's great magical powerwould seem to date back to the distant Neolithic period, to which cup marks carved into the rock date back. These are arranged to form a quadrilateral consisting of three rows of three cupmarks, which, according to some, hints at the nine-month cycle of gestation. Other similarly eroded cupels are arranged in rows along the chute. The very reference to a numerology related to pregnancy must have contributed to the belief that a woman who slipped on this rock would soon have a child. According to the smoothness of the rock, there were certainly many who tried!
Not to be missed
Between ancient engravings and mysterious beliefs, the slide is a small journey through time where we immerse ourselves in a distant past ranging from the Neolithic, to the early Middle Ages, appreciating its cultural and spiritual nuances that have resulted in popular beliefs deeply rooted in the area. If to all this we add the enchanting landscape, the magic is complete.
A bit of history
The presence of slides is remarkably attested on both sides of the Alps, but also in Sweden, England, France, and there is no shortage of them on the African continent either. Similar to what is observed, e.g., in Velturno, the reference to the world of witches seems a way of tracing unexplained or believed very ancient manifestations back to a pagan, non-Christian sphere. What we are in is an area of high archaeological interest, thanks to Neolithic and Roman evidence. In addition, a second slide called Bildstein is located on the southern slopes of the Pinatz Hill.
But what were witches doing here , were they also trying to get pregnant? No, although some versions of the story include the presence of children. Apparently, witches gathered here at night to perform their dark rites. When it was time to leave, one by one they would slide down the rock and take flight into the valley. According to rumors, if an extra push was needed, a child-based ointment was used to lubricate the slide.
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