Next hike: From Spotorno to Varigotti (through Noli and grotta dei Falsari)

Saturday, May 27

Hi all!

This is one of my favorite hikes in Liguria! Will it be the first Hike & Swim of the season? Maybe it will! 🙂

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 the old town. Then, we will take the trail that leads to Capo Noli.

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. 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 on the beach before taking the bus to Finale Ligure train station.

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

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.

Meeting point: Spotorno-Noli train station at 11:30

Here are the trains to get there:

From Genova:

R 24562 Genova Brignole 9:55 – Genova Principe 10:03 – Spotorno-Noli 11:17

From Milano:

IC 1533 Milano Centrale 8:10 (*) – Genova Principe 9:44
R 24562 Genova Principe 10:03 – Spotorno-Noli 11:17

(*) Find a travel buddy, and get the 2×1 Saturday offer!!

From Sestri Levante:

R 11366 Sestri Levante 8:26 – Genova Brignole 9:15
R 24562 Genova Brignole 9:55 – Spotorno-Noli 11:17

From Levanto to Mt Bardellone, via Soviore

I’m not sure that it was still St Martin’s summer today: the fog that engulfed Soviore and Bardellone was so thick, that it might have been St Martin’s Halloween, with the saint playing tricks on us (with fog and plenty of trunks), but ultimately also treating us with a memorable sunset over Levanto.

As for the hike: the dampness and steep steps made the ascent to Soviore more challenging than expected: good for us that, once at the shrine, we could all relax, eat lunch… and do some stretching; the way from Mt Bardellone to Levanto was more of an obstacle course than a hiking trail; however, once we got to the church of S.Bartolomeo, things got easier; we could then enjoy the colorful landscape over the Levanto inland, as well as a fairy tale sunset.

A loop hike in Levanto, with fog, fallen trunks and a memorable sunset

Hiking in Val Gargassa, with the “EE” variant

On All Saints’ Day, 36 hikers went marching in to Val Gargassa, i.e. the Ligurian canyon. The sunny day, the woods shrouded by a colorful autumn cape and the barren landscape of the canyon made the hike very entertaining. As for the “EE” part, it wasn’t daunting at all! Otherwise, Astrid might have had problems, after travelling all the way from Paris to show us the autumn-winter hiking collection!

As for the hike: after treading the barren trail along the Gargassa river, the Veirera meadow welcomed us with this
bucolic picnic spot; one of highlights of the canyon is the so called “Barcun da Scignua” (lady’s balcony), that was followed by the “EE” path (there was an exposed bit of trail which was secured with chains, but it was nothing to be afraid of). The wonderful lookout point above “Barcun da Scignua” made us feel like we were in Nevada, in front of the more famous Grand Canyon.

An “EE” hike across the Ligurian Canyon

Levanto-Framura, and the last swim of 2015

The hike from Levanto to Framura was quite a relaxing one. Unfortunately we lost 3 hikers at the beginning, but were happy to gain one at the church of S.Giorgio, near Montaretto. Thanks for finding us, Emilia, and congratulations for deciphering my indications!

As for the hike: it was a warm and bright Sunday, so there were a few jaw-dropping views over the coast (so jaw-dropping, that you might as well forget your cell phone while sitting on a panoramic rock), followed by a few dives… and some refreshing beer in the end. Framura might have become slightly more touristy this year… but we
don’t mind it!

From Levanto to Framura, via S.Giorgio

next hike

Saturday, May 13th 2017:

 
S.Margherita Ligure


Once again, it’s that time of the year when Camogli celebrates St.Fortunato, by offering a sizzling show on Saturday and fried fish on Sunday. Since the visually entertaining bits are all on Saturday, let’s pick it as hiking day. Two big statues, made of wooden junk, will be brought to the shore and burnt at the stake. There will be a procession, with people carrying the ark of S.Fortunato across town… and plenty of fireworks (otherwise it wouldn’t be a Ligurian festival!).

As for the hike, I propose walking from S.Margherita Ligure to Camogli, via Frate and Porcile, as it would allow us to discover two less beaten trails (Pietre Strette-Porcile and Frate-Bocche) as well as enough lookout points (at Gave, Bocche and the Rock of the Hawks). Also, at the start of the hike we should also be able to see the red carpet that made the headlines 10 days ago, as it was laid from Rapallo to Portofino and, with 8km of length, is now supposedly the longest carpet in the world.

Once we reach “Paradiso”, we can choose between walking to Camogli via Ruta or S.Rocco. Will the sea be warm enough to have a swim? Maybe not, but we can keep an eye on the sea temperature and decide later!

You may read more about the hike on:
– http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/from-santa-margherita-ligure/66-santa-margherita-ligure-camogli.html
http://www.portofinotrek.com/trek/gb/from-paraggi/32-paraggi-valle-dei-mulini-olmi-crocetta-gave-paraggi.html

about the red carpet on:
http://www.lastampa.it/2017/04/30/societa/e-ora-tutti-in-passerella-nasce-il-red-carpet-da-rapallo-a-portofino-yFzWFdLg4goWQf67prSQwJ/premium.html

and about the festival on:
– http://www.camogliedintorni.it/Falò.html

Overall, hike should take around 3,5 hours, has 500 mt of vertical gain and is rated as T/E (easy/medium).

Return will be from Camogli. We’ll probably arrive there around 5pm. Needless to say, if you plan to watch the fireworks and the burning of the statues, you might want to stay until 11pm or midnight.

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How to get to S.Margherita Ligure, and how to come back alive:

On Saturday, May 13th, let’s meet at 11:04 am at the entrance of S.Margherita Ligure railway station (by the infamous taxi telephone)

Suggested trains are:

– if you’re travelling eastwards

REG 24529: 10:10 Genova Piazza Principe – 11:04 S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino

– if you’re travelling westwards

REG 11368: 09:50 La Spezia Centrale – 10:45 S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino

– if you’re travelling southwards

IC 1533: Milano Centrale 08:10 – S. Margherita Ligure 10:14 (*)

or

REG 2181: Milano Centrale 07:25 ( Milano Lambrate 07:32) S. Margherita Ligure-Portofino 10:01

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(*) For those who are catching IC trains:

If you have a travel buddy, you should buy the “2×1″ special ticket before midnight (11:59pm) of Thursday. It’s a buy 1 and get 1 free offer, so you’ll basically pay half price.

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

next hike

Sunday, May 7th 2017:

 
Genova Nervi


While waiting for the famous S.Fortunato festival in Camogli next Saturday 13th (fingers crossed that the weather will be with us!), is anyone up for a last-minute hike this Sunday?

After a stormy Saturday the sun should return shining over Liguria; given that yesterday was May 4th (be with you), let’s follow the Force and walk along the so called trail of the Alliance. Which probably has little to do with Star Wars and the Rebel Alliance, nevertheless it should allow us to have a memorable hike, with views over the Paradise Gulf and the Ligurian coast. More specifically, the idea is to explore the maze of trails above Genova Nervi and follow two routes (S.Maria Maddalena and Itinerario Storico Colombiano) that were trodden by merchants since the Middle Ages. The plan is to reach the chapel of S.Maddalena first, then head east to the peak of Bric Gianesi and south to Nervi, in order to complete the loop. Highlight of the hike are several churches (S.Rocco, S.Maddalena and other ones in S.Ilario) and the scenery: the path also goes by the name of “Balcony over Genova”, since it features plenty of lookout points.

You may read more about the hike on:
http://www.rivieradeibambini.it/gita-a-santilario-laria-al-profumo-di-limone/
http://www.fieliguria.com/images/Manifestazioni/Progetto_scuole_20152016/Descrizione_escursione_SantIlario_-_Monte_Cordona.pdf
http://www.santilarionline.it/index.php?&set=114&dom_id=&dom_sld=santilarionline&dom_tld=it&no_tags=1&sito_gratis=&sito=&local_page=vedere

Return will be, again, from Genova Nervi: we’ll probably be back there around 4pm or 5pm.

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How to get to Genova Nervi, and how to come back alive:

On Sunday, let’s meet at 11:02 am at the entrance of Genova Nervi station

Suggested trains are:

– if you’re travelling eastwards

REG 11367: 10:45 Genova Brignole – 10:57 Genova Nervi (from Genova Principe, you should probably catch the “Treno del Mare 1731” at 10:24)

– if you’re travelling westwards

REG 11368: 09:50 La Spezia Centrale – 11:02 Genova Nervi

– if you’re travelling southwards

Treno del Mare 1731: 08:26 Milano Lambrate – 10:40 Genova Nervi (please note: in Milano it only stops at Lambrate and Rogoredo)

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