Finale Stone

The living beings of the Miocene In the stone

In Finale both the natural and the anthropized environment is strongly characterised by the presence of Finale Stone. The stone is a bioclastic organogenic limestone, that is partially detrital with shades of colour that go from white to light brown and pink, and has always been used for building.

These rocks contain a huge number of fossils and show the animals that lived in the Miocene sea: shells, corals, seaweed, sea urchins but also fish, whales and sharks of large dimensions such as the gigantic Carcharodon.

The Finale Stone, as the Verezzi Stone (with reddish brown shades of colour and is particularly rich with fossils) was formed around 28 and 11 million years ago by the sedimentation of deposits in a marine inlet with shallow water and warm water.


The genesis of these rocks can be divided into three big geological phases.

Between 28 and 23 million years ago, on the Pretertiary substrate, in the ancient Ligurian sea a gulf with a high coast was formed on which the seabed at the feet of the cliffs, where between the early Oligocene and the Miocene more or less fine sediments deposited and constituted the base for the Finale stone.

In the middle and late Miocene, from 23 to 11 million years ago, the sea advanced in the gulf that became a large sheltered inly that communicated with the sea through an isthmus. In a period of subtropical climate other sediments were deposited that gave life to the real Final stone rich with limestone and fossils.

In the central parts of this marine environment, no deeper than 60 m, with calm and warm water, green algae and corals thrived, cemented by calcium carbonate that generated the light-coloured Finale stone. On the sides of the basin, under the coast, instead bivalves with ostreidae, balanidae and bryozoa predominated and characterised the pink Finale stone.

Lastly, between 11 and 0 million years ago the area rose gradually and the sea receded and the formations that emerged went through an intense process of being modelled and of erosion linked to karstic phenomena, both superficial and deep, with the formation of various caves.

The water courses carved deeply the original platform constituted by the sedimentation of Finale stone and created the current plaques of Verezzi and of Orera, of Rocca di Perti, of Monte Cucco and Rocca degli Uccelli, separated by deep valleys with high cliff walls.

At the beginning of the 90’s of the previous century for economic and environmental protection reasons the cave, where the Finale stone and the Verezzi stone were extracted, was closed down. The old quarries with their extraordinary and unexpected sceneries linked to the different types of extraction have to be considered as part of examples of Industrial archaeology, testimony to a millennial history.

Furthermore, the high cliffs and the fascinating geological environment linked to the Finale stone have become since a few years an important attraction for “climbers” and other “outdoor” enthusiasts coming from all over the world.

On the steep eastern slope of Val Ponci, between the Acqua and Voze bridges, there is a vast area where Finale stone was extracted with three big quarries. The extraction areas were at an altitude between 217 and 238 m a.s.l.
The main stratigraphic series of the Ligurian Brianconnais zone can be found within the few square kilometres of Finale Ligure. Località Le Mànie features a unique Gneiss outcrop of ancient crystallized rocks that emerged through a tectonic window.
On the western side of Rocca di Perti, in a dominating position over the Pora valley, there are the tall walls of the Rocca di Perti quarry. One of the most prestigious types of pinkish coloured Finale stone was extracted from here.
Finale is a gift of water, as its genesis is strongly tied to water. It all started 28 million years ago, during the Oligocene, when the sea flooded a large coastal depression thereby forming a lagoon.
Going up the Perti valley one comes across the fossil valley of Pianmarino that faces a suggestive quarry of light-coloured Finale stone that opens on a slope of Bric Scimarco.
Following the path for Orco along the northern side in the final part of the small and narrow valley, just before the river Cornei meets the river Sciusa, one encounters some scenic quarries of light-coloured Finale stone that is typical of the area.
The landscape of Finale originates from the close relationship between the territory and man whose presence in this area of western Liguria is at least from 350.000 years ago: it’s an infinite time…
On the western slopes of the Caprazoppa ridge, in the territory of Verezzi, there are the impressive walls of the Colle quarry, from which the local prestigious red stone was extracted.
Coastal cliffs and detritic slopes are home to halophytic vegetation, which grows, and even thrives, in saline environments thanks to mucilage-rich cells allowing for efficient water-retention and salt-tolerance.
The old “quarry of the church” takes its name from the San Martino church that is close to it. It is set on top of the Verezzi ridge just beyond the Crosa village.
The limestone plateaus inland of Finale are home to the typical variety of Mediterranean wildlife, ranging from pioneer to climax species.
Olive farming in Liguria goes back to ancient times and olive trees feature strongly all over the local landscape. Originally from Asia Minor, olive trees grow on the mild sea-facing slopes of Liguria.
On the mountain range of Verezzi in a spectacular setting that is projected over the Ligurian Sea up to the Gallinara island and Capo Mele there is an ancient quarry of Verezzi stone known as the “old quarry”. It was surly active already in the 16th century when the reddish-brown stone was extracted by hand and destined to the prestigious aristocratic buildings in Genoa and in the feud of the Doria family in Loano.
Nocturnal and diurnal birds of prey play an important part in Finale’s unique biodiversity. As predators at the top of the food chain, their presence within a natural habitat shows that the entire ecosystem is healthy and balanced.
Bats, or Chiroptera, are the only mammals that are capable of flapping flight. Local bat species are nocturnal animals that hunt for mosquitos or small insects, can eat as much as 30 or 40% of their bodyweight and use echolocation to find food.
Seasonal bird migrations are among the most fascinating natural spectacles on the planet. The South-West to North-East migratory route over the Mediterranean is one of the main ones.
Mediterranean plants, Mediterranean scrub, scented herbs; essential oil; resin; foot paths; rue; summer savory; thyme; helichrysum; rosemary; legends
Within the complex morphology of the Ligurian mountain range, the outstanding beauty of the Finale plateau with its unique Finale Stone outcrop that rises over 400 metres above sea level, creates a sharp colour contrast with the green of the surrounding vegetation.
In the pass that precedes the top of Rocca di Perti, in proximity to what has been defined as the Acropolis, there is a small quarry of Finale stone that is called the “Crocetta quarry”. It was dug close to the Iron Age “castellaro” known as the “Village of the Souls” and to some suggestive Finale stone pinnacles that were formed by phenomena of karst erosion.
Finale’s famous free-climbing cliffs are populated by chasmophytes - creepers that grow inside rocky cracks in craggy habitats.
Nowhere else along the Ligurian coast is this “number” as high as in Finale - proof of how precious this small stretch of the Western Ligurian Riviera is in terms of natural beauty.
On the steep Bric Spaventaggi slope, on the eastern side of the Aquila valley, up the hillside a spectacular quarry opens from which a light-coloured variety, rich with fossils, of Finale stone was extracted.

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