At the end of Val Varatella, shortly after Toirano, you will find a large promontory of grey dolomite. In its many jagged ridges you will find over 50 caves and grottos, which are a magnet for geological researchers. The caves here in Toirano, which were opened to the public after some construction work in 1953, are managed by the municipality and is one of the biggest tourist attraction of the Riviera di Ponente, with over 150,000 visitors a year.
Grotte Della Básura (Grotto of the witches)
The Grotte della Básura is definitely the most striking of the caves. For millenia it was home to hibernating bears. Proof of their existence comes to us in the form of bones, fossil spoors and scratches, which can still be seen.
The most iteresting feature is the evidence of cave dwellers. In the “Hall of Mysteries” one finds many impressions made by feet, hands and knees, and also the many shards of pottery that were at one point thrown against the wall in what is thought to have been some kind of ritual.
Grotte Di S. Lucia Inferiore
This grotto can be reached by following a 120 metre corridor stemming from the end of Grotte della Básura. Wonderful images of flowers, made up of aragonite, cover the walls. In some of the caverns here you will find huge stalactites, which are also covered in aragonite(orthorhombic mineral form of crystalline calcium carbonate).
Grotte Di S. Lucia Superiore
The Grotte di S. Lucia Superiore, which was discovered in the middle ages, received its name from a pilgrimage church from the 15th century. Behind its altar the cave stretches out into a 240 metre long corridor. Some of the lower beds of the cave originate from the last ice age, and contain rudimentary stone tools accredited to the Neanderthals.
Normal: 9:30 – 12:30Uhr / 14:00 – 17:00Uhr
Summer: 9:30 – 13:00Uhr / 14:00 – 17:30Uhr