The Alta Via dei Monti Liguri is a network of walking routes that guide the footsteps of trekking enthusiasts through Liguria from the border with France to the Tuscany region via ridgeways, vie ferrate and Alpine paths. Four hundred and forty kilometres of paths for journeying through Liguria without ever touching the sea, suspended on the mountains that form its backdrop.
This network of ancient paths, once travelled by merchants, shepherds and farmers, covers the entire region, from the coastal settlements to the inland towns up through the mountain peaks. The Alta Via dei Monti Liguri was officially established in 1983, fruit of a regional project assisted by volunteers from the Italian Hiking Federation (F.I.E. - Federazione Italiana Escursionismo) and the Italian Alpine Club (C.A.I. – Club Alpino Italiano). On their journey from west to east, the paths pass through numerous protected areas, namely the regional parks of Ligurian Alps (stages 3 to 7), Beigua (stages 19 to 20) and Aveto (stages 31 to 35) and the Montemarcello-Magra Park (stage 43). They are also linked to other protected areas of Liguria and the sites of the Rete Natura 2000.
Due to the variety of landscapes and multitude of habitats it covers, the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri is a unique opportunity for learning and recreation for all the family. The area offers numerous mountain refuges and other accommodations, meaning that walkers can organise trips in convenient stages. The Alta Via is also clearly signed for simple and enjoyable walking with no risk of getting lost. In addition, a network of paths suitable for the partially sighted and people with reduced mobility makes the Alta Via accessible to everyone for much of the year.
- The Nervia Valley: from Ventimiglia, the Alta Via leads to the Testa d'Alpe forest via the fossil cliffs of Roverino and through terraces of olive groves and vineyards in Rossese, climbing to a typically Alpine setting. The walk along the Sentiero degli Alpini, a path carved into the overhanging rock between the Monti Pietravecchia (2,038 m) and Toraggio (1,972 m), is an extraordinary experience.
Due to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the area is a treasure trove of biodiversity in which holm oaks, maples and beeches alternate with larch, spruce pine and fir woods and where eagles, chamois and wolves live almost side by side with typically Mediterranean species such as the ocellated lizard.
- The Ligurian Alpes: along the border with France as far as the peak of Monte Saccarello (2,201 m), through dense conifer woods and vast meadows where rhododendrons and other native plants bloom in late spring and it is not unusual to spot hares, chamois and marmots. On the slopes of Monte Saccarello, local Brigasc culture still survives in the hamlets of Realdo and Verdeggia.
- Melogno: among nature’s sculptures and the Stone Giants on the summit of Monte Galero (1,704 m), along the paths leading to the picturesque Rocca Barbena (1,140 m) and the ridge between the Tanaro and Pennavaira valleys to Monte Carmo di Loano (1,389 m). These habitats can boast unique microclimates and considerable botanical interest, with forests of beeches and firs and typically Nordic species such as bilberry bushes, dwarf junipers and rhododendrons.
- Beigua: through great forests, skirting the Adelasia Nature Reserve and entering the Beigua Park at the Colle del Giovo, on plateaus at altitudes of over 1,000 m yet very near to the coast with breathtaking views and volcanic outcrops (extremely ancient coral reef deposits). During this section of the Alta Via, visitors are highly likely to come across wildlife, particularly hoofed animals and birds of prey, often spotted on the paths.
- Piani di Praglia: walking among the bare and picturesque plateaus, in the trail of the partisan war. From the Bric del Dente, beside the imposing Bric Geremia fortress, towards the Sacrario dei Martiri del Turchino, a monument commemorating the massacre of partisans and political prisoners in 1944. Punta Martìn is a popular destination among trekkers and mountaineers and, in the area around the Laghi del Gorzente and the Bocchetta Pass, visitors can admire ancient snow stores still in a good state of repair.
- Scoffera: behind Genoa, on the ancient salt road leading to the Po Valley via Crocetta d’Orero, on the paths to Monte Antola. Along the road to the Passo della Forcella, to Monte Caucaso and the source of the Avete stream, among ancient farming villages in the natural amphitheatre of Monte Ramaceto.
- Monte Zatta: in the Aveto Regional Nature Park, among traces of history and glacial lakes on the western slopes of Monte Aiona, through the beautiful beech wood of Monte Zatta, via an easy walk to the Passo di Cento Croci (an ancient mountain pass between the Republic of Genoa and the Duchy of Parma).
- Vara Valley: a walk through broadleaf forests, open pastures and conifers on the slopes of Monte Gottero (1,640 m), the highest peak in Eastern Liguria and a wildlife paradise. Not far away is Foce dei Tre Confini, the ancient border of the Republic of Genoa. From there, a scenic ridgeway leads to Monte Cornoviglio (1,160 m) from which visitors can admire the Golfo dei Poeti and the Riviera di Ponente.
How to get there
There are various access points for the different stages of the Alta Via. For further information, see the website www.altaviadeimontiliguri.it.
Secretariat: Via S. Lorenzo 15/1, 16123 Genoa, Italy, tel.: +39 010 24852200, mob.: +39 346 6873556, fax: +39 010 2471522