A long stage, with several small differences in height, but smooth and without difficulty.
The highlight of the day is the beautiful Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Vittoria, dedicated to the prodigious victory of the Republic of Genoa against the much larger Franco-Savoyard army.
The signs are sometimes partial, it is good to keep an eye on the GPS.
On the ridges, given the proximity to the sea, it is easy to encounter strong gusts of wind.
The only water point is in the towns of Vittoria and Canova Crocetta.
We walk along a wide (almost) leveled dirt road: in some crossroads, there are no signs, and one must be careful not to miss the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri. Moving for a long time in the bushes, we lose altitude (approximately 300 m drop) and slowly arrive at the Passo dei Giovi (472 m), under which the A7 motorway passes.
From there, alternating a carriage road with parts of the asphalted road, we barely gain altitude up to the village of Vittoria, where the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Vittoria is worth a visit. We take the path that climbs sharply (approximately 100 m height difference) in the woods, up to the south-east shoulder of Monte Vittoria. Then it loses a little altitude and covers the dorsal area, with a good view of the surrounding hills, going down gently up to the town of Canova Crocetta, one of the lowest passes in the Ligurian Apennines.
From Canova, we start again uphill (approx. 300 m height difference), first on the road, and then on the path which is sometimes slightly steep, without ever being complicated. At the end of the climb, a long stretch of the ridge, often panoramic, awaits us: just north of Monte Sella, we pass the chapel of the same name, which celebrates the deeds of the partisan brigade "Balilla". We continue along the ridge and we descend (150 m), on a good path. Finally, with a more decisive downhill stretch, we arrive at the village of Colle di Creto (605 m).
On Monte Sella, from 1943 to 1945, was active the “Brigata Balilla”, the first partisan mountain formation to enter Genoa during the insurrection of 23-25 April 1945.
The term "balilla", used during the Fascist period to indicate children aged 8 to 14 rigidly framed in youth groups, is the word used in Genoa to indicate children, an affectionate nickname that derives from "palla" (ball) - meaning "pallina" (small ball).
During the Revolt of Genoa against the Austrians in 1746, a young man named Giambattista Perasso, nicknamed Balilla, threw a stone against the occupiers thus unleashing the popular rebellion.
For this reason, fascism took up the name to indicate the young patriot (8-14 years old): curiously, also the commander of a brigade of partisans was called Balilla (Grillotti). He was captured and shot by the fascists, which is why the partisans gave his name to the Ligurian brigade.
On the Pertuso Pass, in a dominant position over the Val Polcevera, stands the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Vittoria, built to thank the Virgin after the victory against the Duke of Savoy, Carlo Emanuele I who, in 1625, tried to occupy Genoa, at the head of a Franco-Savoyard army of 8,000 men.
Near the place where the Sanctuary stands today, a handful of soldiers of the Republic of Genoa, flanked by volunteers from Val Polcevera (led by a local priest) and a group of bandits (enlisted with the promise of being pardoned in case of victory ), stopped the Duke's army and thus saved the Republic of Genoa.
One of the must-haves by those who cross the Genoese territory is the typical farinata, characterized by its simple and irresistible flavor, and made with chickpea flour mixed with water and oil and baked in the oven. If you taste it at the table, it can be served with vegetables or cheese.
Locanda dei Cacciatori, in Creto. Tel. +39 010 9689236
B&B Kokopelli, in Creto. Tel. +39 339 565 9828
Agriturismo De Arca, in Creto. Tel. +39 010 968 9290
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.