The Cave of the Candid Arenas of Finale Ligure
From 6 July to the end of September 2019 it will be possible to visit the Arene Candide Cave in the hinterland of Finale. After the exciting participation by the public last summer, when the cave was exceptionally open for tours, this year it was decided to replicate. Guided tours are planned with expert archaeologists who will explain the history of the cave and much more.
Discovering the Arene Candide Cave
Inside this cave, findings have been discovered that prove the presence of man between the Upper Paleolithic and the Byzantine periods; these important findings make this cave one of the most important in Europe thanks to the remains preserved in it. The history of this cave begins about 30,000 years ago even though it was discovered much more recently, more or less 150 years ago, and the archaeological research inside it has not been interrupted yet.
The Cavern of Arene Candide is located at 89 meters above sea level, in the Caprazoppa promontory that divides Finale Ligure from Borgio Verezzi. The name derives from the now disappeared white sand quartz dune, which until about 1920 reached the shores of the sea.
In the Paleolithic period the cavity was the place of several and important burials, among which we remember that of a young hunter who lived 28,000 years ago: together with his body many objects and rich ornaments were deposed, so much that he was given the nickname “young prince“; this finding is undoubtedly one of the most important in all of Europe.
There is no lack of artistic artefacts, including painted pebbles and rock carvings, which have been attributed to the late Paleolithic. To that same period belongs a massive necropolis that preserves the remains of adults and children, probably the last examples of hunter-gatherers.
The most numerous ruins were attributed instead to the Neolithic period, between 5800 and 3600 BC. Within the cave the first farmers arrived from the sea, who found here a safe and favourable place to settle.
Between 5000 and 4200 BC the cave was exploited for various purposes: inside it lived, worked for the production of food, such as for example the grinding of cereals, they dedicated themselves to the creation of objects such as ceramic vases and figurines, they made tools and various tools. They had also built covers to shelter from the rain and there are also numerous residues of hearths, used to cook food and to keep warm. Furthermore, the cave was also an ideal place to take care of the livestock – the main livelihood activities were in fact agriculture and livestock – and suitable space for the burial of the members of the community.
In later times, in the metal age and in the Roman and Byzantine periods, the cave has always been a refuge, as well as a place for the preservation of food and for many other activities related to agriculture and breeding.
Thanks to the research carried out over the years in the Caverna delle Arene Candide it has been discovered that the culture, habits, conditions and standard of living of the populations that lived in the Finale area in the Neolithic period were very much circulated. Not only that, these studies have allowed us to understand and specific information about the economy, resource management and the relationship with the environment. From this point of view the prehistoric site was an important source of news that has no equal in the whole Mediterranean.
But the most important trace that attests the presence of man between the upper Paleolithic and the Byzantine age and that makes the Cavern of Arene Candide one of the most important prehistoric caves at international level, is a complete and articulated stratigraphy whose levels bear witness to various activities related to human life: fragments of pottery, bones, shells, burials, coals, manure and ashes.
How to get
From the Borgio Verezzi level crossing, continuing foot for about 2 km with a journey time of 30 minutes. Following the indications, the following roads will be followed: via Verezzi, via della Cornice, Napoleonic road.
For guided tours you can go to the cave every Tuesday at 10.00, 11.00 and 12.00 and Saturday at 16.00, 17.00, 18.00 in July, August and September. It is advisable to book at 019690020. It is also recommended that the maximum number of visitors is 30 people at the same time. Comfortable and suitable clothing is recommended with sneakers or trekking shoes and we suggest you to bring with a bottle of water.
The cost per person of the guided tour is
• Full ticket € 10.00 per person
• Reduced ticket € 5.00 per person. For children under 10 years, people over 65, IISL members, ICOM members, Italian Touring Club members, university students with identification cards, visitors to the Archaeological Museum of Finale who will present the ticket at full price (the visitors who will go first to the Cavern and then to the Archaeological Museum will be able to pay admission for the latter only € 3)