From one end of the gulf to the other, in the footsteps of Byron and Shelley through terraced vineyards and olive groves
Leaving Porto Venere we turn into the steps which climb up to the right of the entrance gates to the town, once the only way to reach the beautiful waterfront row of facades. Following the red and white trail markers of the Alta Via del Golfo, which will follow us all along the way, we go up towards Campiglia, through the regional national park of Porto Venere. Along the ascent we enjoy the breathtaking landscapes offered by the cliff of Monte Muzzerone and the islands Palmaria and Tino, wonder at the position of the vineyards in the valley of the Albana and remain fascinated by the terraced coast of Schiara, with its small cellars clinging between the land and the sea.
Along the ancient ridge trail surrounded by forest we reach the village of Biassa, whose inhabitants supposedly possess two houses: one in the village and one over the mountain, on the precipitous coast to Tramonti, where they have been growing grapes for centuries. A soft up and down leads to the Passo della Foce, from where the view can embrace the city of La Spezia and the entire Golf. We arrive at Buon Viaggio, the village with the truly well wishing name of “Bon Voyage”, passing by the Church of Marinasco and the small villages of Sarbia and Valeriano: it´s a very relaxing, maybe even contemplative stretch of the trail, giving way to suggestive views of the inlets of La Spezia and the hinterland.
Continuing on the path of the Alta Via, and leaving Carozzo and San Venerio behind, you will notice that the vineyards are present everywhere, even if isolated: each garden has its vines, every house its cellar. Now we have to go slightly up to the Passo della Cisterna, only to descent again to the village of Pugliola. The view of the path during this stretch again is spectacular: there, in the background, the Genovese Castle of Porto Venere with the islands Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, while in the foreground the village of Lerici stands out, which with its impressive tower representing the bulwark of the city of Pisa in the area. With the vineyards and the olive groves alternating along the way blends the literature of the Great: Petrarca, Byron, Shelley and Montale, to mention only a few, celebrated the sea, the cliffs, the land and the people of this place in verse. We leave Lerici behind us and ascent towards the Monte Gruzza, penetrating the regional national parc of Montemarcello.
Upon arrival on the peak of the Monte Murlo you can visit the Botanical Garden – with the spontaneous Mediterranean shrub land – and let yourself be transported by the view of the 360 degree panorama before you, with the mouth of the river Magra and the Apennine with its harsh profile. Further on you pass through the old village of Montemarcello; it´s name arrives from the roman consul Claudio Marcello. The place deserves an in depth visit to discover the evidences of the various periods: during the course of the centuries Montemarcello has never lost its importance due to the enviable position and the mildness of the climate. Finally you will descend through the oak forest toward the village of Bocca di Magra, from where you can take the public transport means to return to the Golfo.