A few kilometers from Loano you can admire the famous caves of Toirano, a complex of four caves where prehistoric remains are preserved rich in history and charm. You will surely be enchanted by this place, which we will now discover together thanks to an itinerary that retraces the interior of the caves.
What to see
– Cave of the Basura or witch’s cave
Certainly it is the most interesting and important cave on the international level, thanks to the human and animal remains found there, but also to the suggestive forms of stalactites and stalagmites that have been created. The hall of the atrium was discovered already at the end of ‘800, while in 1950 other internal halls that can be traveled today were unearthed, in a track of about 450 m.
Here are still preserved evidence of the presence of the cave bear, the ursus spelaeus, who spent the hibernation sheltered by the cave. The evidence of his presence is the bone remains, footprints in the ground and signs of scratches on the walls. But not only animal traces have been found but also some attributable to prehistoric man, of particular interest: it is possible to admire footprints, hands and knees dating back to 12000, 12500 years ago.
In the antrum renamed “Hall of the Mysteries” clay balls are still visible along the walls: probably they were thrown during the execution of some ritual. Of these legacies are responsible men of the Upper Paleolithic period, dedicated to hunting and gathering that used the caves not as habitation but to perform ceremonials.
– Colombo’s Cave
It is higher than the previous one and consists of a gallery of about 50 meters. This cavern has been excavated several times since the end of the 19th century and prehistoric remains dating back to 300,000 years ago have been unearthed. Because of the uniqueness of this remains, the cave is not open to the public.
– Cave of Santa Lucia Superiore
The archaeological excavations that were made here in the ’60s have allowed the discovery of stone tools probably made by the Neanderthals during the last ice age. But recent studies have shown that even before the cave was frequented by the archaic homo sapiens.
Other things to visit
Along the way you can also admire:
• the Morelli Room: here a partially rebuilt cave bear skeleton is exhibited
• the Living Room: area with very suggestive and particular limestone formations
• the lake: here there is an ancient underground lake
• the Corridor of the footprints: so called because there are footprints of hands, feet and knees, together with those of the cave bear
• Cibele’s Antro: unique in its genre thanks to its mammellonary creations.
• the Pantheon: where you can see a stalagmite covered with crystals of aragonite, so beautiful as to have been renamed the pearl of the cave
• the Tanone: it is the final part of the cave, which was used during the war as an air raid shelter. Today it is used for cultural events and festivities.
Guided tours of 70 minutes start from the Basura cave, then continue through the tunnel in the lower Santa Lucia cave.
The opening hours are as follows:
- from 9.00 am to 12.30 am
- from 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm
Also remember that:
- There are no toilets inside the caves
- There are many steps and the ground is often wet and slippery so it is required to wear appropriate clothing and footwear
- The spaces inside are large and spacious and even those who suffer from claustrophobia should have no problems
- It is good to remind children not to touch the rock formations in order not to risk damaging them
- The route is not recommended for people with psychomotor disabilities.
For all other information about timetables, ticket prices, how to get there take a look at the official site of the caves of Toirano.