Le Grotte di Toirano

 

 

The grottes or caves of Toirano are a wonder of nature and are one of the ten most beautiful caves in Italy.  Located on the Italian Riviera there are two caverns and as many as 50 caves, 1280 meters of underground tunnels, dug by the action of centuries of water running onto and over limestone.

 

 

 

Discovered in the 1950's the most famous of the caverns is the Grotta della Basura or the Witches Cave. Basuras were the witches, who lived in underground holes connected to hell and defended by spellbinding  ocellatae lizards (these are the biggest lizards in Europe, 60 centimeters long). The second cavern is the cavern of Santa Lucia named after the centuries old chapel dedicated to Saint Lucia, the patron saint of eye illnesses, which is built into the outer hillside of the cavern.

 

 Be prepared to walk when going to explore the caves of Toirano. From the ticket counter it is 10-15 minute walk up the side of the mountain to get to the entrance of the caves. Then you'll have an hour and a half walking tour lead by a local guide through the two caverns. The caverns were discovered separately and are now connected by a man made passageway. Upon entrance into the mouth of the cave my tour group was split into two sections those who spoke Italian and those who spoke English.

 

The first thing I noticed upon entering the cave was water. Water dripping down the back of my neck and the slippery ground with puddles you were forced to wade through or try to step over. Then there was a skeleton lit and set behind plexi glass of Ursus spelaeus, the prehistoric cave bear that first inhabited these caves. Our guide informed us that this skeleton had come from a cavern, which at some point in history had ended up flooding thus trapping bears that were inside. Their remains can be seen inside this cavern, which has been labeled the bear cemetery. In addition to the fossils of the bears found inside the cemetery there are paw prints on the ground and scratches in the rock walls of the various caverns. After the cave bears died away the caves were occupied by prehistoric cave men. Some speculated they came as hunters looking for the bears others say the bears had died out before the cave men took up residence. Like the bear there are footprints and knee prints of these prehistoric men women and children.

 

Stalactites and stalagmites tens of thousands of years old jut up from the ground looming much larger than a modern man and hang precariously down from the ceiling of the caves. Awe inspiring to behold these rock formations are tens of thousands of years old. Fanciful, otherworldly and unreal the colors, textures and shapes appear to come from the imagination of some Hollywood art director, rather than from Mother Nature.

 

The architecture of the caves remain unfinished as water continues to do it's slow work of transformation dropping from over head and below the streams carve their way over stone as they run into pools of water, which are inhabited by translucent fish under 7mm long, from the crustacean family. Today with the exception of tourists wandering around and the occasional stray cat getting caught in the cave, these fish are the only living residents of these ancient marvels.


 

Top of Page

lasplash.com
Join Splash Magazines

Feature Article

Tempflow™ and Tempur-Pedic® Reviews - What 35 Hours of Research Uncovered

Want Your Business to Male a Splash
<!-- #wrapper -->