Alta Via dei Monti Liguri is one of the beauties of the region of Liguria (Italy). Alta Via is formed by thousands of kilometres of paths and mule tracks. These tracks connect the two extremes of the Region, from Ventimiglia to Ceparana, in other words from the province of Imperia to the one of La Spezia.
The paths are viable all year long and from here is possible to observe, at different points, the Alps and the Apennines, the sea and the wide grasslands, in a wild environment that cannot be discovered by car but just on foot or mountain bike. In some points is possible to admire, at the same time, Corsica, Monviso and Monte Rosa mount.
The Ligurian hinterland is perfect for whoever wants to live an adventure, even just for a weekend, or for whoever wants to relax in uncontaminated nature. The path of Alta Via is marked by little red and white flags with the writing “AV”. In this article, we propose you Alta Via dei Monti Liguri in eight stops, for eight unforgettable weekends.
Stop 1: Nervia Valley
The first stop of Alta Via dei Monti Liguri we propose to you is the one of Nervia Valley. The path starts from Ventimiglia, and it arrives at the forest Testa d’Alpe, passing by the fossils cliffs of Roverino. The path was built for military reasons in the 30’, to prevent fire from the French lines. Walking on this path you will have the opportunity to go through terraces of olive trees and vineyards of Rossese. While you will head to the top of the mountain you will have the opportunity to observe scented bushes of thyme and lavender.
Once you will reach the top of the mountain you will have the possibility to observe rare alpine flora, difficult to find in other places. If you are lucky, you can have the opportunity to spot wild mountain fauna, such as eagles, chamois and wolves or the typical Mediterranean one, like the ocellated lizard. You can find the most suggestive landscape on the path of Alpini, a track dug into the rocks which extend along the slopes of Pietravecchia and Toraggio mounts. From here you will have a breathtaking view of the Ligurian sea.
Stop 2: Ligurian Alps
The second path we propose to you is located in the Ligurian Alps. This track goes through dense coniferous woods and wide grasslands. Thank to this uncontaminated environment, which has been kept as much as possible at its natural state, is possible to find a rich alpine fauna composed of animals such as hares, chamois, martens and marmots in addition to a rich birdlife.
Once you enter the Natural Park of Ligurian Alps, you reach the peak of Saccarello mount. From here you can enjoy an amazing view of the sea and mountains. At the slopes of the mount, you can visit the ancient typical Ligurian villages of Realdo and Verdeggia. In the surroundings of Colle di Nava is also possible to observe the first Savoy fortifications, built to defend the Kingdom of Sardinia.
Stop 3: Melogno
On this third stop, we enter the Passo del Melogno. This section of the track is characterised by three mountains: Galero, Rocca Barbena and Carmo di Loano mount. Nearby the peak of Galero mount is possible to observe wonderful sculptures of rocky conglomerate, called “Giganti di Pietra” (literally “Giants of rock”). From the peak is possible to observe the charming perspectives of the Tanaro and Pennavaira valleys.
At this stop is possible to observe typical Nordic floral species such as blueberry, juniper and alpine rose, thanks to the different microclimate that characterised this area. Once you passed Carmo mount you can go deeper into the beech forest of Melogno, a source of richness for the local population. Besides beaches, you can also find birches, white firs, scots pines, maples and ashes.
Stop 4: Beigua
This fourth stop is particular since is located in an area densely forested. Here the path enters dense woods, where is possible to find nineteenth-century fortifications and military buildings. If you are a lover of natural parks, this stop is the one right for you: in the location of Meugge, the itinerary goes along for a few kilometres to the Natural Reserve of Adelasia. Once you reach Colle San Giovo you enter the Park of Beigua. At this point, Alta Via enters the altiplano of the mount, a few kilometres far away from the coast.
Thank the environmental and climate characteristics of this area, in the woods you can observe fallow deers, while in the rocky areas nearby you can spot diurnal raptors.
Stop 5: Praglia
This stop is characterized by the fact that is located in an elevated area. Don’t be scared, you can reach it very easily thank to the railway lines located in Masone and Crocetta d’Orero, where “trenino di Casella” passes by. From Bric del Dente you will pass in front of the fortification Bric Geremia, to reach, after a few kilometres, the surroundings of the Memorial of Martiri del Turchino. The memorial is known to be the place where numerous partisans and political prisoners were murdered. Later, the path continues towards Piani di Praglia. Here you can observe numerous graves, as a memory of the various events that involved the partisans.
Because of the characteristics of the soil, this area has no greenery but is this characteristic that makes it charming and different from the others. Particularly interesting is the area that surrounds the Gorzente lakes and Passo della Bocchetta, where you can still admire some “neviere”, a system used for water supply during summer months.
Stop 6: Scoffera
At this stop, you can find something very interesting. An ancient funicular from the first years of 900’ and a railroad, will bring you to the ancient villages of Righi and Casella. In this way, you can reach, easily and ecologically, the ancient “Salt Way” which was used to connect Genova with Padana Plain.
In Noci Valley, you can find the homonymous lake and you will pass by farmers’ villages. Later, you will reach the mounts Alpesia and Candelozzo, until you arrive in the ancient villages of Canate and Scandolaro. At mount Lavagnola different paths take different ways. One of them leads to mount Antola and the other one brings you to Passo della Forcella. During this stop, you can admire wonderful mountains, like Ramaceto mount, which is noticeable thanks to its curious shape, like an amphitheatre.
Stop 7: Zatta
If you like natural parks, besides Beigua stop, you cannot miss this one. From Passo della Forcella you enter the heart of the Regional Natural Park of Aveto. This area is prestigious from a naturalistic point of view thanks to the continuation of typical activities, rich in tradition. Here you can observe ancient medieval paths, with well-conserved flooring.
Once you pass Cappelletta delle Lame, you can access, thank a quick deviation, a group of little glacial lakes located on the slopes of mount Aiona. Once you pass the beech wood located on mount Zatta, you reach Passo dei Cento Croci, which divided the Republic of Genova and the Dukedom of Parma.
Stop 8: Vara
The last stop on Alta Via dei Monti Liguri we propose to you is the one in Vara Valley. This area is characterised by large woods and a not-common alpine flora and fauna. Here is also located Gottero mount, the highest mountain in west Liguria. Nearby the mount you can find Foce dei Tre Confini (literally “Estuary of the three borders”), called like that because once here it was located the border between the Republic of Genova, the Dukedom of Parma and the Dukedom of Tuscany. Once you pass Passi di Calzavitello and Rastello you arrive at an observation spot where you can admire Apuane Alps and Poeti Gulf. Going on and passing the birches wood in Vallecchia, you can also visit the historic centre of Bolano.
Where can you stay during your trip?
During your weekend in nature, you cannot miss staying in eco-sustainable accommodation. For this reason, Ecobnb has selected four amazing accommodations for you.
Le Fontane organic-oriented farm
This eco-sustainable farm is located in Camporosso, nearby stop number 1, the one of Nervia Valley. This bed and breakfast is immersed in olive trees, near the sea and in the middle of the Mediterranean greenery. From here is possible to reach the sea and the mountains, so it’s a perfect starting point for Alta Via dei Monti Liguri.
This B&B is located near stop number 1, precisely in Dolceacqua. It’s a place that is immersed in nature, where the highlight is the vegan, organic and Km0 cuisine. The B&B uses energy from renewable sources, thanks to a photovoltaic system that produces electric energy and a thermodynamic one that produces warm water. This place is perfect for your eco-stay.
Tir na nog
This chalet nzeb is located in Pontivrea, at stop number 4, the Beigua one. In this chalet, every detail is hand-made, in balance with Mother Nature. This is the right place for a relaxing weekend in touch with wild nature. The owners are always willing to give you information about hikes, and sometimes they can even come with you.
Le sorgenti del Gromolo
The last facility we propose to you is Le Sorgenti del Gromolo, located in Sestri Levante, in the area of stop number 7. This ecologic farmhouse is an excellent starting point for Alta Via, but from here you can also reach the coast quickly.
So, if after reading this article you are curious to spend a weekend in one of these wonderful stops in Alta Via dei Monti Liguri, don’t wait anymore and book your next stay!
On the cover picture by Giorgio Rodano via flickr.com