Paleoseismological techniques have been used to investigate gravitational deformations at the Mortirolo Pass (Valtellina region, central Alps), in order to improve the knowledge on the activation mechanisms and the evolution of deep-seated gravitational slope movements. The deformation has been responsible for mass sliding towards the Valtellina depression through the activation of several-hundred-metre-long shear planes. Minor shear planes dipping towards the mountain played the role of antithetic structures. Four trenches were excavated across scarps representing the surficial expression of shear planes affecting the bedrock and Late Pleistocene-Holocene deposits. The excavations enabled to investigate the stratigraphy of Quaternary deposits and the geometry and kinematics of the shear planes affecting them. Radiocarbon analyses on organic material contained in sediments and paleosols enabled to define a succession of displacement events which occurred during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene. Collected data indicate the persistence of the activity until recent times (last movement related to 1810-1540 cal. BP). A sudden movement has been detected along one of the main shear surfaces (dipping towards the valley) with a vertical displacement of several metres. In contrast, numerous displacements (with lower vertical offset) have been detected along the antithetic shear planes. Different hypotheses have been proposed in the past to define the origin of huge gravitational movements (glacial retreat, uplift of the Alpine chain, fault activity). However, the Late Pleistocene cycles of glacial loading and unloading on the mountain slopes seem to be the most probable factors causing deep-seated gravitational movements in the investigated region. A recent dramatic landslide in an area adjacent to the investigated one (Mt. Zandila-Valpola) testifies to the paroxistic evolution of the large scale gravitational deformations. The densely inhabited Valtellina region is affected by a large number of gravitational structures similar to those of the Mortirolo area. In consideration of the possible effects of the paroxistic activation of these structures, detailed studies on the chronology and kinematics of the deformations through the application of paleoseismological techniques should therefore be encouraged.