Toirano and its Caves

Grotte di Toirano
Grotte di Toirano – Photo © Rinina25

The area of karsts in Val Varatella, included in its territory, contains over fifty caves that even open in the sheer walls of the small side valleys and in the spectacular Salto del Lupo. All the archeological finds made in these caves are on show in the Museo Preistorico della Val Varatella.

The locality was inhabited in the Roman era and during the Middle Ages belonged to the bishops of Albenga, under whom it obtained its own statutes. Disputed between the Genoese and the marchesi di Finale, it was assigned to Genoa by Pope Urban VI in 1395.

Toirano - Photo © pulce
Toirano – Photo © pulce

The characteristic town still has a number of structures from this period, including several large towers, part of the ancient walls and a bridge with three arches. The parish churches of San Martino and the Rosario date from the seventeenth century.

The shrine of Santa Lucia, above the cave of the same name, has a spring that is believed to have miraculous powers for the restoration of sight and attracts many pilgrims. The church of San Pietro dei Monti, which once belonged to the ancient and powerful Benedictine abbey, stands on a panoramic rocky hill offering a view of the whole town.

A link with the farming community of the past is provided by the Museo Etnografico della Val Varatella, housed in what used to be the stables of the palace of the marchesi del Carretto, formerly the Palazzo dell’Aste.

The institution was set up in 1982, when a collection of implements and objects connected with the growing of olives and the production of oil began to be assembled. The museum now boasts collections of various kinds, relating to the agriculture, crafts and daily life of the Val Varatella, with a total of a thousand objects on show, dating from between the beginning of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.

Where to stay in Toirano

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