The only thing I miss of Italy is going down to the sea along the path from Campiglia to Portovenere.
This is what always repeats a friend who has been living abroad for a long time. Words that might seem corny and full of melancholy, but which say it all, without saying precisely all that this path has to offer.
Difficulty : average Trail Marker : 1 Recommended time : all year Duration : 2 hours and a half – 3 hours Tips : It is recommended to start from Campiglia, unless you are not a really good walker. Starting from Portovenere, in fact, the first stretch goes steep uphill.
Campiglia: between the Gulf and the open sea.
Campiglia is a gem: on one side overlooking the Gulf of Poets, the other one looking to the open sea, high above the Cinque Terre. It is also the point of junction of several trails that run along the ridge separating the embrace of the bay from the rocks of the Riviera. Among these, one of the most spectacular is definitely the section of the CAI no.1 path that descends from the small village to Portovenere. The path to Portovenere starts from the last hairpin bend before the village of Campiglia. A sign marks two roads: the longer (about three hours) and less difficult one, then the slightly shorter one, of medium difficulty. The second one, going along the coastline, is the one to follow if you want to enjoy a breathtaking view (the trail to follow to make this route are 1 – 1a – 1).
How to get to the trail
By public transport. You can reach the beautiful village of Campiglia by public transport. The ATC 20 line connects La Spezia to Campiglia (you can catch it at the stop in Viale Garibaldi), but unfortunately the rides are infrequent (download the schedule). By car. The turnoff to the village is indicated – on the right – along the road that leads from La Spezia to Portovenere. The car can easily be parked along the road, near the start of the path. If you prefer to do the trail in one direction (downhill!) To avoid having to go back to retrieve the car in Campiglia, this may be your strategy: use two cars. Leave in Marola, near the restaurant Autedo (on the road from La Spezia to Portovenere port), while with the other you can reach Campiglia. Once you have gone the whole path, take the bus that connects Portovenere to La Spezia to reach the car parked in Marola and thus get back to Campiglia to retrieve the other car.
First part: myrtle, capers, strawberry trees … and down there the blue sea
The first stretch of the road follows the coast facing the open sea. Scents and colors remind of Corsica, Sardinia, Greece: it is the view of the Cinque Terre, of Portovenere’s and Palmaria Island profiles appearing and disappearing behind the coast that reminds us we are unquestionably in Liguria. The route is mostly flat, although care must be taken: in some stretches, the surface overlooking the sea and mainly consisting of stones is uneven and not completely safe. The landscape is charming and – occasionally – fills your eyes with wonder that bounces from Portovenere to the Palmaria and thus Tino islands.
The view of the coast on the path from Campiglia to Portovonere. Ph- Marcello di Francesco
The Muzzerone , with its climbing rocky wall and the refuge (see here the Tripadvisor review) , marks the transition between the first and second part of the path.
When you get to this point, it remains about one hour walk. During the descent do not miss the breathtaking scenery of the Gulf, featuring the fishing villages of Cadimare and Le Grazie. A few tens of minutes through the woods and cultivated areas and then suddenly explodes the wonder of Portovenere, which becomes the protagonist with its castle and a great landscape.
A steep stairway that runs along the walls of the Portovenere castle leads to the Piazza Bastreri, the heart of the town, just one step away from the famous carugio.