Photo by Cristian Buda. In Italy there is a true “prehistoric paradise”, absolutely fascinating and full of wonders to discover. We are talking about the Toirano Caves , a place that will capture the imagination of young and old. You are ready to take a leap in Liguria and discover them with us.

Where they are and how to get there
The Toirano Caves are located in Liguria, in the town of the same name in the province of Savona . Reaching the Toirano Caves is simple and can be reached by 3 different means:

  • By car : A10 Autostrada dei Fiori: exit Borghetto Santo Spirito, then take the provincial road to Toirano (3 Km). From Via Aurelia, instead, crossroads at Borghetto S. Spirito, direction Toirano (4km) – Get Directions
  • By train : Get off at Loano station. From here, move to one of the stops along the nearby Via Aurelia and wait for the connection with public transport to the Toirano Caves (see below). Taxi service is available at Loano station.
  • By bus : Daily departures are made from Pietra Ligure, Loano and Borghetto S. Spirito with arrival in Piazzale delle Grotte at 15:00 (departure from the coast takes place half an hour earlier). Return from the Caves at 5.15pm. For more information: – ​​Toll-free number: 800 01 27 27

Timetables and prices

  • Hours: 9:30 – 12:30 / 14:00 – 17:00. Duration of the visit 70 minutes, entrances approximately every 30 minutes. Last admissions half an hour before closing (minimum 5 paying people). Reservation required only for groups and schools.
  • Ticket price: full € 12.00 (from October to March) / € 13.00 (from April to September). The ticket allows a free visit to the Ethnographic Museum of Toirano and the reduction on the entrance fee of all the Italian caves and the Archaeological Museum of Finale Ligure.
  • Reductions : children 5 – 18 years and school groups: € 6.00 from October to March / € 7.00 from April to September; booked groups of over 20 people: € 8.00 from October to March; € 10.00 from April to September; reduction for families with more than one child between 5 and 14 years € 5.00 for each child.
  • Contacts : Tel 0182.98062 – 0182.989938 / email [email protected]

What to see and how to visit the Toirano Caves
Photo by Rinina25 / Twice25. They are a complex made up of 4 main cavities: the Grotta della Basura, the Grotta del Colombo, the Grotta Santa Lucia Inferiore and Superiore.

The most spectacular is certainly the Grotta della Basura . In 1950 a beautiful series of rooms was discovered inside where the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) found refuge there for millennia to spend hibernation. The presence of large animals is attested by a large number of bone remains, footprints on the ground and traces of claws on the walls.
Not just the bears. Prehistoric man , about 12,000-12,500 years ago, here I leave important testimonies. In fact, you can still see footprints, hand and knee prints. Furthermore, in the so-called Hall of Mysteries you can admire numerous clay balls attached to the wall. They were probably hurled at the latter for ritual purposes. Our ancestors were probably men and women of the upper Paleolithic, hunter-gatherers. They frequented the region and almost certainly used this cave for ritual purposes and not as a dwelling.
Here are 12 things to see in detail inside the Toirano Caves :

  1. The Morelli Room : here a partially reconstructed skeleton of Ursus Spelaeus is exhibited;
  2. Il Salotto : beautiful area with millenary limestone formations, very particular and interesting;
  3. The Corridor of Footprints : where the prints of human feet, hands and knees mixed with those of cave bears are imprinted in the clay;
  4. Il Laghetto : site of an ancient underground lake. In the waters of the caves lives a small crustacean of the genus Nyphargus which does not reach the centimeter in length, depigmented and blind due to its evolution inside the caves themselves;
  5. The Bear Cemetery : a vast deposit of bones of Ursus spelaeus, dating back to 27,000 – 24,000 years ago;
  6. The Hall of Mysteries : contains numerous testimonies of archaeological interest, such as footprints of prehistoric men and cave bears, traces of torches and the clay balls we spoke about earlier;
  7. Cybele’s Cave : when it was discovered it was underwater. It is unique in the world for its mammellonary concretions (breast-shaped stalactites);
  8. The connecting tunnel : connects the Grotta della Basura to the Grotta di Santa Lucia Inferiore, under 150 meters of rock;
  9. The Crystals : you will observe beautiful calcite flowers and aragonite formations;
  10. The Pantheon : where there is a stalagmite covered with aragonite crystals defined for its beauty the pearl of the cave;
  11. The Sala dei Levelli : marked by a sort of limestone cornices, it testifies to the presence of an ancient underground lake;
  12. Il Tanone : it is the final part of the cave, devoid of concretions, which has always been known. In 1944 it was used as an air raid shelter by the population of Toirano. Today, however, it is used as a particular place where cultural events and events such as concerts and ballets take place.

Advice, info and contacts
The Caves are accessible to people of all ages but the nature of the route is not suitable for people with psycho-motor disabilities . The length of the course is 1,300 meters; the temperature of 16 ° C. Appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn.
The Toirano Caves are a place that will certainly capture the imagination of the little ones who will feel like real Indiana Jones. In the final part of the route there is an area dedicated to workshops for schoolchildren . The guided tour lasts about an hour.
For more information about the organization of the tour you can contact the numbers 0182.98062 / 0182.989938 or send an email to [email protected]
A good idea is to go to the Toirano Caves in the summer for two reasons:

  • the location is close to the sea . You can take advantage of the opportunity for a stay in the Riviera delle Palme;
  • the first weekend of August in Toirano the Festa dei Gunbi takes place . It is a village festival with typical and local dishes, live music and local wines. A good reason to visit the medieval old town, with its original alleys and its characteristic squares.

Finally, here are 5 useful tips and indications to keep in mind for a visit with children :

  1. inside, obviously, there are no services;
  2. the route is simple, fully protected and easily accessible. There are, however, many steps and the ground is often wet and slippery. It is therefore important to wear suitable shoes and maybe even a k-way;
  3. babies can be carried in the special backpack. There is a tight spot that will require the parent to sag a little. The rest of the route is easy;
  4. the spaces inside are quite large and even those who are slightly claustrophobic do not generally suffer from any disturbance;
  5. It is good to explain to the children that the rocks should not be touched, otherwise they will be damaged. The curiosity for strange shapes could lead them to want to test textures and surfaces with their own hands.

Caves of Toirano – photos and videos
Caves of Toirano – detail of concretions

Caves of Toirano – internal path

Caves of Toirano – caves of Bsura and Santa Lucia Inferiore

Caves of Toirano – internal lakes and limestone formations

Caves of Toirano – internal lake

Caves of Toirano – concretions breast


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