A long stage on the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri, with a medium elevation gain, almost all of it in ups and downs along the watershed (except for the long, easy final descent).
The second part, along the crest of Monte Ramaceto, offers spectacular views of the sea and the great Alps.
The signs are not always clear and the trail on the ground is not always easily identifiable. Better keep an eye on the GPS.
Some passages of the second part of the stage (between Bocca di Freia and Fo 'de Driun) are slightly exposed and it is good to be cautious in case of wind and/or rain.
Absent water points.
We take the path of the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri, which is rapidly losing altitude (approximately 200 m drop), until we come out on the provincial road, which we take to the right. Immediately after passing the Aveto stream, we take the path on the left again and begin a long climb in the woods, soon along the ridge. The difference in height is apparently little (approximately 200 m height difference), but the continuous ups and downs are tiring and some stretches are steep. Moreover, it is sometimes difficult to find the trace on the ground.
We overcome the Bric della Scavizzola (1,125 m), with a small climb we reach the western shoulder of Monte Pagliaro (1,180 m), from where we veer south, keeping along the AVML. In continuous ups and downs, we reach Monte Rondanara and turn, always along the watershed, to the south-east. The woods open up, letting us admire the Riviera di Levante and the promontory of Portofino. We then reach the Passo di Ventarola (those who are tired can decide to break the stage at the Rifugio Ventarola, taking the path that descends from the pass towards the north, 1 hour away).
We continue steadily uphill (approximately 250 m height difference) along the ridge. At the height of the Bocca di Feia, we leave the woods and climb up to the west peak of Monte Ramaceto (1,318 m), which gives us a beautiful view from the Apuan Alps to the Gran Paradiso. We take advantage of the shelter offered by a small chapel to catch our breath.
From the summit, we continue along the undulating ridge (exposed at times on the steep south-east wall, be careful in case of wind and rain), overlooking the Conca di Cichero, alternating secular beech trees with aerial views until we reach the east peak of Monte Ramaceto (1,345 m). We then continue to the grassy pass of Fo du Driun, to veer north and descend to Passo della Crocetta (927 m), from which, after a part on a carriage road, we take the AVML path which, along the hillside, leads to Passo Forcella.
At the nearby Lago delle Lame, the Celtic Festival is held in July, an event that celebrates the past of the Ligurian Celts.
It is a historical reenactment with dances, games, Celtic music, and menus completed with Celtic soup and craft beer.
In the valley of the Penna stream, you can admire the megalithic face of Borzone, an ancient rock sculpture - the largest in Europe, with its 7 meters high.
Discovered in 1965, it was initially believed to date back to the Paleolithic (the period between 20,000 and 12,000 years ago), although megalithism is a typical phenomenon of the Neolithic.
However, recent studies have highlighted the surprising similarity of the sculpture to the face imprinted on the Holy Shroud, right down to the details: this would surprisingly trace its realization back to the Early Middle Ages, by the Benedictine friars of the nearby Abbey of Sant'Andrea di Borzone.
In the area of Borzonasca a characteristic shortcrust pastry biscuit is produced, similar to canestrello, called rotella (roëtta in the local dialect) due to its indented shape and similar to a small wheel. The preparation and its packaging have remained constant over time, since 1870.
Rifugio Ventarola, north of the homonymous Pass (halfway through the stage), reachable by a downhill path in about 1 hour of walking. Tel. +39 0185 86788
There is no facility at Passo della Forcella: however, you can request the free shuttle service from nearby facilities.
Guest House Il Drago Bianco, in Pianazze. Tel. +39 340 783 8675
Rifugio Cabanne, in the locality of the same name. Tel. +39 0185 86 829 - +39 348 882 0153
Albergo Paretin, in Cabanne. Tel. +39 0185 86650
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest town reachable by bus is Favale di Malvaro, starting from the city of Genoa with a change in Cicagna.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
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.