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Slow Travel in Liguria: Tigullio Trekking

A 65 km ring travel path between sea, mountains and historical villages

by Massimiliano and Barbara

The Gulf of Tigullio, as much of Liguria area, matches seas and mountains. So inspiring that we conceived the so called Tigullio Trekking first in our thoughts, then in practice, mainly through the web. It is a ring travel path in the Tigullio area, between mountains, seaside and historical villages. A 65 km route, suitable for everyone, no matter the age nor the budget, allowing to enjoy one of the greatest view in Italy in just some hours of walking. The way is circular, starting and ending in Chiavari: that is convenient because there is a large free parking there, no mention a railway station just next the place where the 1st stage of our journey begins.

1st stage: The itinerary starts getting to the pre-Apennine ridge of the gulf, crossing a beautiful oak wood and passing by the Grazie di Chiavari Sanctuary and Mount Anchetta at 560 m asl. Five hours of walking later, you get to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montallegro, a very scenic place 612 m asl, where our first travelling day ends.

2nd stage: Leave Montallegro heading to the Gulf of Tigullio’s highest peaks. First, walking a bit down, you get to the Crocetta pass at 590 m asl. Then having a half-hour climb with a 20% slope, you reach Mount Pegge, at 774 m asl. From there, Mount Manico del Lume is two hours far. It is the highest peak in the Gulf at 801 m asl. The view is unique, you bet. After a well-deserved rest, the time has come to walk back down to the valley, reaching two beautiful villages: Chignero and Sant’Andrea di Foggia (we are in the area of Rapallo). Here ends the second travel stage, a bit tiring.

3rd stage: Go down further to the valley, getting closer to Rapallo‘s outskirts. Do not get stuck in the annoying traffic jam, polluted air and high-rises (they use to call it Rapallizzazione). Continue towards Ruta di Camogli along the ancient Bana way. First you find the ruins of the 1204 Valle Christi Monastery, then the Lazzaretto di Bana dating back to 1450. Climb again along another hard slope, it takes 1 hour to reach the Millennial Ruta Church of 1627, then the twelfth-century one of St Michael Archangel. Here you are in the beautiful Portofino Mount Park, where this third travel stage ends.

4th stage: Enter the main path of the Portofino Mount Park following the signs for San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte (also called “di Camogli”). You get there after a less than 2 hour quiet walk. Here you find the famous Doria Abbey, the imposing watchtower and the famous crystal clear waters of this beautiful bay. Last but not least, the Christ of the Abyss, an essential destination for hundreds of divers coming all year round from everywhere, to dive up to its 17 m depth in the park protected area. It takes just a quarter of hour boat trip to get to the worldwide famous Portofino. Here you can not miss the St George Church, the Brown Castle and taking some pics in the fashionable village square. The daily travel stage is almost done, leave this enchantment following the coast road, but take a break view at Paraggi, with its clear waters and neat beaches. Enjoy the wide view of the sea, rocks and nature till Santa Margherita Ligure, final destination for today.

5th stage: Leaving the charming sea town of Santa Margherita Ligure, continue along the seafront to the seductive San Michele di Pagana. Then through a promenade you get to Rapallo, on the way you meet the Castello delle Carceri (i.e. jails castle) built back to 1550 to defend the village after the terrible raid of Dragut the pirate.
After Rapallo, get to Zoagli in just over an hour. Another enchanting seaside village with two nice seaside promenades, that recall the Cinque Terre. Then go up to the hilly heights, crossing the two hamlets of San Pietro di Rovereto and Sant’Andrea di Rovereto. Most is done for today and the view embraces the entire Gulf again. You just have to take the oak wood of the first day, walking downwards to Chiavari. Explore the historic centre with its characteristic arcaded alleys and its magnificent Nostra Signora dell’Orto Cathedral.

The Tigullio Trekking staff provides a complete assistance to slow tourists, advicing how to book the affiliated facilities on the way, providing gps tracks and a detailed digital guide that is better to be printed. Soon walkers will find other precious gadgets: a real passport, pins and t-shirts. What about some tasting experiences stopping along the way? Try some local cheese, salami, Genoese focaccia and of course good wine and beer.

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