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Sunday, July 3rd 2016:



As usual, it’s that time of the year when Rapallo gets ready to celebrate the anniversary of the apparition of Mary (on the Montallegro hills) with a colorful array of fireworks, as well as with the burning of its castle. Shall we renew our tradition of hiking on a trail leading to the Montallegro shrine?

Since it shouldn’t be too hot and we haven’t treaded for 3 years on the “0” trail that connects Rapallo to Mt Pegge, I would go for this one: basically, the idea is to do the hike that’s described on (only difference is that we would go the opposite way and would make a slight detour to Mt Pegge… which means that hike will take around 3,5 or 4 hours and is rated as “E”/medium: it’s not arduous at all, but has a whopping 770 metres of elevation gain)

Highlights of the hike include: the Montallegro shrine, featuring the Byzantine portrait that the Virgin Mary herself supposedly gave to a peasant on July 2nd 1557, and is behind all celebrations; the chapel of the “Black Madonna” (which we failed to spot last time.. but should be hidden somewhere on the S.Agostino hills); the peak of Mt Pegge, which is possibly one of the most panoramic picnic spots that I’ve seen, since it features a welcoming meadow atop a mountain overlooking the Tigullio gulf.

Once we get to Montallegro, we can head down to Rapallo via cable car, so as to have more swimming time. We’ll probably get to Rapallo around 5:30pm.

You may read more about the festival on:

This year we’re very lucky, as the festival (which is strictly held on July 1,2,3 since those are the days of the miracle) falls on Friday, Saturday, Sunday. If anyone happens to already be in the area on July 1st or July 2nd and wishes to meetup for watching the firework show, please let me know! Only thing, it’s possible that on July 2nd the fireworks won’t start on time, as they’ll want to wait for the Euro 2016 Italy vs Germany game to end, before setting up things (four years ago the situation was pretty much the same)

How to get to Rapallo, and how to come back alive:

On Sunday, July 3rd, let’s meet at the entrance of Rapallo train station at 11:20. We’ll then walk to the opposite side of the station, since the trail starts from there.

Suggested trains are:

— if you travel eastwards
REG 1749 – 10:23 Genova Piazza Principe (10:31 Genova Brignole) 11:20 Rapallo (I know, it’s an ominous “treno del mare”, but apparently you’re allowed to take it… unlike three weeks ago)

— if you travel westwards
Reg 2296 – 09:50 La Spezia Centrale – 10:39 Rapallo

— if you travel southwards (*)
Reg 1731 – Milano Lambrate 08:26 (Milano Rogoredo 08:44) Rapallo 11:20

May I ask you to pack lunch? Since I read there will be maintenance work in Genova Nervi throughout the weekend, I suspect that there will be delays with the trains, in which case it might be better to start walking right away, instead of hunting for focaccia.

(*) For those who happen to be over 60 or under 26:

You might want to catch the IC train that leaves from Milano just before the regional one, as you’ll get half price throughout July and August (provided you book the ticket 2 days in advance). Remember that you need to have a Cartafreccia card in order to use this special offer (in the unlikely case that you don’t have a Cartafreccia card yet, let me know and I can send you an invitation… in which case we’ll both get a 10 euro coupon 🙂 )

As usual, if you have doubts, questions, Hamlet-like dilemmas… feel free to text me! (for example, at +39 329 7203364)

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Sunday, June 12th 2016:



Hi all!

Tradition has it that, when it comes to organizing a hike in the Riviera di Ponente (western Riviera), I take the lead from Andy 🙂

This time our walk will start from Spotorno. After an easy stretch across the hill dominated by the castle of Monte Ursino, we will reach Noli, one of the five ancient Marine Republics of Italy, where we’ll stroll through the picturesque alleys of its old town. Then, we will take the trail that leads to Capo Noli, walking through olive groves and gaining height over the cliffs.

We will have a short detour, leading us to the grotta dei Falsari, the cavern of the Counterfeiters – also known as cave of Brigands – which is not actually a cavern, but rather a rocky hollow overlooking the sea with a spectacular semi-circular opening of 25 meters in diameter. This cave was created by the water and then shaped by the sea; today it stands 100 meters above sea level. This cavern will be our lunch spot.

After reaching Capo Noli (280 m), the highest point of our hike, we will head down to Varigotti, following a path over the cliffs. Along the trail the view over the coastline is marvelous, spanning, on clear days, from Tuscany to the island of Corsica. The bay below, the Bay of the Saracens, is considered one of the best places to have a swim in Liguria.

Then, we will descend through the promontory of Punta Crena down to Varigotti, a picturesque fishing village, the “surprise of the Riviera di Ponente”! All the villages look similar with the exception of Varigotti, no surprise that episodes of Diabolik and even Donald Duck were set in Varigotti. There, we can relax at the beach before taking the bus to Finale Ligure train station.

Return will be from Finale Ligure (around 6 pm). I recommend buying also the return ticket to avoid any hassle, should we have to run to catch the train.

The total distance covered will be around 10 km, with a vertical gain of 280 m. The path is medium-easy.

Meeting point: Spotorno-Noli train station at 11:45

Trains from Genova:
R 34768 Genova Brignole 10:03
R 1758 Savona 11:39 (arriving to Spotorno-Noli at 11:47)

Trains from Milano Garibaldi:
R 1759 8:46 (magically becomes R 1758 after Genova)
08:46 Milano Porta Garibaldi
08:56 08:58 Milano Lambrate
09:09 09:11 Milano Rogoredo
09:29 09:38 Pavia
11:47 Spotorno-Noli