From the Apennine Mountains to the Ligurian Coast
The Via del Mare, the highest of the antique Vie del Sale (salt roads), winds along between beech forests, large meadows – known for their abundant flowering of gentians, orchids, narcissus, lilies and arnica – and stretches of breathtaking views, in order to arrive at the trails, which lead to the great blue expanse of the Ligurian Sea. We start from Monte Ebro from which we walk along the ridge between Borbera and Curone to the pass of Bocca di Crenna; after an area of meadows, beech woods and a pasture we continue along a mule track on the south-western slope of the Monte Chiappo until we reach a nearly level stretch between thickets and clearings and we keep on going down until we reach the pass Capanne di Còsola.
From here on, near the Hotel restaurant, we follow the route which goes up the Alta Val Stáffora and follows the watershed between the valleys of Borbera and Trebbia. It climbs up the northern slopes of the Cavalmurone Mountain, continue towards south to the peak of Monte Legnà to then descend to the pass with the same name. It crosses the mountainside that slopes down from Poggio Rondino to the west and turning around Monte Carmo on the eastern side, reaches the dirt road that goes down to the village of Capanne di Carrega. After a short stretch on a carriage road we again turn into the trail marked by the double yellow marks which leads to the village Casa del Romano.
Continuing on the ridge between the Brugneto and Borbera valleys we go around Monte Tre Croci on the south side and between beeches descend to the crossroads of the Passo delle Tre Croci; leaving behind the fork that goes down to Caprile on the left, we continue until we come across a final short stretch going uphill, after which we reach the wide basin on the foot of the Monte Antola and, finally, the summit, with its big white cross, from which one of the most beautiful panoramas of the northern Apennines can be enjoyed. We continue in southern direction, always following the trail marker with the two yellow marks, and soon arrive at the Refuge Parco Antola, where food and overnight stay is available. Going on along the watershed between the Brugneto and the Brevenna valleys we circle Monte Cremado until the Colletta delle Cianazze, from where, having left behind the casa del Piccetto, we reach the Passo del Colletto on the slope of the Monte Prelà; enjoy the marvellous view on the valley of the Torriglia and the whole Ligurian sea.
We continue on the paved mule track to go down to the village of Donetta, where it is possible to take the bus to Torriglia. Shortly before reaching the centre of Torriglia, in the hamlet called Colomba, we can follow the tarmacked road which runs along the Park of the Castello dei Fieschi di Torriglia and get onto the Provincial Road to Val Brugneto. We follow this road downhill until we come across a road indicated with a yellow triangle, leading to the Cappella della Costa. The path continues on the official link between the Monte Antola and the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri until it meets a crossroads: on the left the AVML, coming from the Passo del Portello, while on the right the white and red AV symbol leads to the Rossi pass. Before we continue we must however climb the summit of the Monte Lavagnola, which offers a spectacular view on the Ligurian Sea. On the pass valico di Rossi we cross the carriage road coming from the Passo della Scoffera and continue along another stretch of the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri until Colletta di Boasi, from where we follow the trail markers with three red points and arrive at the Colle di Mea and around on the western side, the Monte Croce di Bragalla. From here we return on the watershed between the Val Bisagno and the Val Fontanabuona, until we come across an asphalt road that leads to S. Alberto.
We continue on the asphalt road on the ridge until we find a large parking area, where the trail marker with a red cross leads us to the slope of the Val Fontanabuona, across the steep eastern sides of the Monte Croce di Fò and then those of the Bado and Becco mountains, up to the provincial road near Case Cornua. Here we continue on the left on asphalt in the direction of Calcinara and then Colle Caprile; afterwards we follow the trail marked with two yellow points, which leads to Ruta, passing through the Passo dei Casetti and MonteTugio. Having crossed over the asphalt road on a footbridge by the Passo della Spinarola, we continue halfway up the hill under the slopes of the Monte Borgo and the Monte Bello and arrive at the Passo del Gallo. Here we go around M. Caravaggio, with a beautiful view on Rapallo and S. Margherita Ligure. Always continuing on the ridge to Monte Ampola, passing its saddle north, we keep left passing Monte Chiapparolo, and descend under the slopes of the Monte Esoli, to reach Ruta and the Via Aurelia. Shortly before the tunnel we take the mule track that leads to the Passo delle Pietre Strette and then to the Bocche di San Lorenzo; we come across the scattered houses of Olmi, the small Church of San Sebastiano, and finally, amongst marvellous olive groves, arrive at wonderful Portofino and its enchanting square.