E1 Italy Ligurian Alps

This is a hike report on the route of the E1 through the Ligurian Alps in northern Italy, from Serravalle Scrivia (north of Genoa) to Passo del Bocco (north of Sestri Levante). It includes a general route description, details of hiking maps, places to stay, and a day by day route description (with GPX files).

Daten Wanderung

  • Wo
    E1, Italien
  • Wann Mai 2017
  • Km gelaufen 130 km (~80.8 miles)
  • Tage gelaufen 8 days
  • Strecke Ligurian Alps: Serravalle Scrivia (north of Genova) to Passo del Bocco (north of Sestri Levante)

Bericht

E1 Italy Ligurian Alps

WALKING THE E1 IN ITALY

PART 2 – EAST ALONG THE LIGURIAN ALPS

 In September 2016, we started a multi-stage journey (to be completed over several years) to walk the E1 long distance footpath from one end of Italy to the other. 

In researching this route, we found that there are lots of resources available to support people walking the E1 in other countries that it passes through (especially Germany and Switzerland), but only limited resources covering the E1 in Italy.

These notes are a record of the practical details of our journey, and are aimed to help others planning to walk this route.

In this part, we cover the second stage of our journey, east along the Ligurian Alps, from Serravalle Scrivia (35 km north of Genova) to Passo del Bocco (16 km north of Sestri Levante). We completed this journey in May 2017 over approximately 7 walking days. This route covered c. 130 km of the E1 route (plus some minor extensions to reach nearest available accommodation).

Cinque Terre Detour: From Passo del Bocco, we took a detour to follow the Alta Via dei Cinque Terre (AV5T), to Portovenere (on the coast, 6 km south of La Spezia). We completed this journey in 5 walking days. This route covered the full length of the AV5T, a distance of c. 85 km (plus some minor extensions to reach nearest available accommodation). This journey is described as part 2A of our report.

GENERAL ROUTE DESCRIPTION

The first day and a half of the E1 route heads south, climbing up from the Scrivia valley into the Ligurian Alps, through mostly wooded hillsides, reaching the main ridge of the Ligurian Alps at Passo de la Bocchetta (height 800m). 

From this point, the E1 turns east, joining the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML) long distance footpath, which broadly follows the main ridge of the Ligurian Alps all the way to Passo del Bocco.

The walk along the main ridge of the Ligurian Alps is mainly at heights of between 1000m and 1700m, dropping down to cross passes before rising again. The route is mainly through woodland paths, with periodic panoramic views down to the Mediterranean coast 15 km to the south. The path is generally easy walking, with some steep stretches, and a few small patches requiring some easy clambering. However, there is quite a lot of altitude gain and loss in most days of this part of the walk, which should be taken into account when planning distances covered per day.

As this is a ridge walk, there are few settlements or accommodation directly on the route, so in some places it is necessary to make a detour of a few kilometers to find overnight accommodation (unless you are camping).

 GENERAL ROUTE PLANNING

 The E1 long distance footpath in Italy is administered by the Federazione Italiana Escursionismo (www.fie.com). There is a general description of the route of the E1, listing the towns and villages that it passes through, available on their site at:

 http://www.fieitalia.com/fie/2012/04/10/conosciamo-meglio-il-sentiero-europeo-e1

Waymarked Trails website (http://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org) has a useful expandable online map, available here:

http://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org/#route?id=1947310&type=relation&map=7!43.9904!11.047

You can also download from this page a GPX file, which covers most of the route, including all of this part of the route. We found it pretty reliable.

For general route planning, we used Michelin map 352 “Liguria” 1:200,000, which covers the whole of this part of the route (including the Cinque Terre detour).

There is no national series of walking scale maps for Italy. For detailed planning and walking maps, this stage of the route is covered by a variety of walking maps from different publishers – we used four main maps (see details in specific sections below).  Some of these are available from leading mapshops internationally, but some only seem to be sold in Italy. The Italian bookshop chain Feltrinelli has a good selection of walking maps in their main bookshops in the cities (including Milano, Pavia, and Genova), covering the local region (however, we found their website hard to navigate to find or buy maps!)

We complemented our maps using the Viewranger app on our smartphone, with the GPX file outlined above downloaded onto it. Viewranger has openstreetmaps covering Italy available on it free. We found this mapping pretty reliable for roads and tracks, but it does not include contours and only a few footpaths. We used this to confirm our location and routes when needed, and to track our journey.

We have uploaded GPX files of our own day by day route onto Viewranger (see links on day pages below), which includes some minor variants, mainly to reach accommodation nearby.

Most of this stage follows the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML)  long distance footpath, which is well marked by signposts along this stretch. There is some signposting of the E1 in the initial two days before joining AVML, but this is not reliable for navigation. The route is generally well marked on the maps, but there are some places where there is more than one variant of the route, and some places where the route on the maps takes you on a different variant of the route from the signposting on the ground. Once we were aware of this, we did not find it a major problem! There is good practical information on the AVML long distance footpath at www.altaviainfo24.com

We stayed in local accommodation (small hotels, B&Bs, inns, farmstays, or catered refuges) along the way. For most of this part of the route, there are only one or two options of places to stay, and on some stages it was necessary to divert a few kilometers off the route to find accommodation (see details below), so it would be advisable to book ahead. A useful website for accommodation along the route is www.ospitalitaaltavia.it

DAY BY DAY DESCRIPTIONS

Below are day by day descriptions of the various sections of this stage of the E1, which we completed over 8 days, comprising 6 full walking days (walking 15-30 km per day), and 2 half days (8-10 km). The times given are for average stamina experienced walkers, and include short stops, but not long stops of over 15 minutes.

Day 1: Serravalle Scrivia to Fraconalto

Serravalle Scrivia: (Altitude 240m): Medium sized industrial town, with a few hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, cafes, and shops. Train station on main railway line north from Genova.

Distance: 28 km (including 3 km detour to accommodation east of Fraconalto)

Total Climb: 800m                  Hours: 9 hours

Maps:

  • ‘Il Novese e le Valli Scrivia, Borbera, Spinti e Lemme’  Map F7, published by Studio Cartographico Italiano, Genova; 1:25,000. Covers route from Serravalle Scrivia south to Sottovalle. E1 is marked.
  • ‘Genova Varazze Ovada’ Map 16, published by Istituto Geografico Centrale, Torino. 1:50,000. Covers route from Sottovalle south to Fraconalto. E1 is marked.

Both maps are available from good bookshops in Milano, Pavia, or Genova.

Routemarking: Some E1 signposts along the way, but not consistently available. Be alert that red and white markers may also indicate other footpaths that are not part of the E1.

Viewranger GPX File Link:

  • Serravalle Scrivia to Arquata Scrivia:

 http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDg4Mzk1NQ==

  • Arquata Scrivia to Fraconalto (Agriturismo la Sereta):

http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDg5MzIyNg==

Route Description:

  • The first few kilometers of the route follows the main road (R35) south from Serravalle Scrivia to Arquata Scrivia (5 km, flat, 1.25 hours)
  • From Arquata Scrivia (Altitude 250m, accommodation and shops, train station), the E1 heads south up into the hills, mainly along woodland paths, with some sections of track or minor road to the village of Sottovalle (alt 430m, no services)(5 km, 1.5 hours)
  • From Sottovalle, the path continues south, climbing up and then contouring round on woodland paths past a series of peaks at around 800m (Monte Brignone, Monte Porale, and Monte Alpe), before joining a minor road down to the village of Castagnola (alt 600m, no services), then up again along the road to Fraconalto (alt 725m, no services)(15 km, 5.5 hours)


Stay: Agriturismo La Sereta (alt 570m): 2.5 km off the E1, down a track heading east off the road, from just south of Fraconalto.  The Agriturismo is in a small settlement close to the village of Tegli.  It is marked on the map. Take care when close to it, as there are a series of tracks not all of which are marked on the map. (2.5 km, 1 hour from Fraconalto).  It may be possible to reach the Agriturismo direct from Castagnola, without climbing up to Fraconalto and back down again – ask locally.

Day 2: Fraconalto to Crocetta d’Orero

Distance: 21 km (including 3 km from the accommodation to rejoin the E1 near Fraconalto)

Total Climb: 500m                  Hours: 7 hours

Maps: ‘Genova Varazze Ovada’ Map 16 (See Day 1 above). Covers all of this day’s route. E1 is marked.

Routemarking: Fairly consistent E1 signposts (with a few gaps) along the first part of the route to Passo della Bocchetta. From Passo della Bocchetta, the E1 joins the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML), which is well signposted for the rest of the day.

Viewranger GPX File Link: http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDkwMDgxMQ==

Route Description:

  • Rejoin the E1 just south of Fraconalto (alt 725m) (2.5 km, 1 hour from Agriturismo La Sereta)
  • The E1 route then follows a woodland track, contouring up to meet the main ridge of the Ligurian Alps 1 km east of Passo della Bocchetta (alt 770m). (5 km, 1.5 hours).  
  • From Passo della Bocchetta, the E1 then turns east, joining the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML), which it follows for the next 150 km. The route follows the ridge along a woodland track (excellent views on both sides), before dropping down to cross the north-south road at Passo dei Giovi (alt 470, shop and bar, bus service)(5 km, 1.5 hours)
  • From Passo dei Giovi, the AVML/E1 follows a minor road up the hillside to the village of Vittoria Santuario, then takes a woodland path contouring round Monte Vittoria and Monte Capanna at around 700m altitude, before dropping back down to the village of Crocetta d’Orero (alt 470m, shops, bars, train station with link to Genova)(8 km, 3 hours)


Note: There is a spur of the E1 that heads west from Passo della Bocchetta along the AVML, before cutting down to the coast west of Genova. This does not connect with the rest of the E1 route at the other end.

Stay: There may be accommodation in Crocetta D’Orero. However, the village is also a station on a small gauge train line that runs between Genova and Casella. It is a pleasant one hour train ride from here down into Genova, where there are many accommodation options.

Day 3 (Half Day): Crocetta d’Orero to Creto

Distance: 8 km                    Total Climb: 400m                  Hours: 3.5 hours

Map: ‘Dal Passo dei Giovi alla Sella Giassina’: part of map series “Alta Via dei Monti Liguri”, published by Edizione Multigraphic – Firenze. Scale 1:25000. Covers all of this day’s route. E1/AVML is marked.

Routemarking: The E1 route follows the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML) all day, which is well signposted throughout the day.

Viewranger GPX File Link: http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDkxNDIxMQ==

Route Description:

  • From Crocetta d’Orero (alt 470m), the route follows a minor road for a short distance, before heading south-east up along a woodland track/path to reach the ridge. The path then turns south, following the ridge line, contouring round the top of Monte Carossino at 800m, before dropping down through Alpine grassland to the village of Creto (alt 600m, shop, bar, accommodation).

 

Stay: Creto is a popular day out for Genovese, and has 2-3 options for accommodation.

Day 4: Creto to Monte Bocco (near Giassina)

Distance: 23 km          Total Climb: 900m               Hours: 8.5 hours

Map: As for Day 3

Routemarking: The E1 follows the AVML all day, which is well signposted throughout the day

Viewranger GPX File Link: Creto to Giassina: http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDkyNDM3OA==

Route Description:

  • From Creto (Alt 470m), the route heads east along a woodland path/track, climbing steadily to the main ridge. It then follows along the ridge, rising up to pass by Monte Candelozzo at altitude of 1000m, and continues along the ridge line at this altitude to Monte Spina (alt 984m), before dropping down to Passo della Scoffera (Alt 670m, no services)(14 km, 5 hours)
  • From Passo della Scoffera, the path climbs again, through woodlands and Alpine grasslands, following the rising ridge line to around 1100m altitude at Monte Lavagnola, and on to Passo del Portello (alt 1030m, no services)(6 km, 2 hours)
  • The route then follows the road for 1 km to Giassina, before branching off to thr left on a track along the ridge until Monte Bocco (alt 1087m)(3 km, 1 hour)

 

Stay: Shortly (c. 500m) before the path passes south of the top of Monte Bocco, there is a minor road/track heading south off the ridge, down to the small settlement of Poggio (alt 800m, 1 km from the E1), where is found the B&B Orti Erti (highly recommended, very welcoming hosts).

Day 5 (Half Day): Monte Bocco to Monte Pagliaro (near Calzagatta)

Distance: 9 km                                    Total Climb: 400m                                    Hours: 3.5 hours

Map: ‘Dalla Sella Giassina al Passo del Bocco’, part of map series “Alta Via dei Monti Liguri”, published by Edizione Multigraphic – Firenze. Scale 1:25000. Covers all of this day’s route. E1/AVML is marked.

Routemarking: The E1 follows the AVML all day, which is well signposted throughout the day

Viewranger GPX File Link: Giassina to Calzagatta:

http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDkyNzU0NA==

Route Description:

  • After returning to the E1/AVML at Monte Bocco (alt 1087m), the route follows the ridge east along woodland tracks for 2 km, before joining the road for a short distance along to Barbagelata (alt 1100m, no services)(3 km, 1 hour)
  • From Barbagelata, the route follows a woodland path south east to Passo della Scoglina (alt 950m), before climbing up the ridge to Monte Pagliaro (alt 1180m)(6 km, 2.5 hours)

 

Stay: 1.5 km north of Monte Pagliaro is the village of Calzagatta (on the road to Priosa), where is found the Guest House Drago Bianco.  Calzagatta can be accessed by a path that heads north from the E1 1 km west of Monte Pagliaro – it is not waymarked, and is difficult to follow in places, but is marked on OpenStreetMap.  Alternatively, you can follow the road for 3 km from Passo della Scoglina directly to Calzagatta, cutting back up to the main route on the path the following morning.

Day 6: Monte Pagliaro to Monte Bozale (near Bertigaro)

Distance: 21 km (including 2 km from Calzagatta back up to the E1 path, and 2 km from E1 path down to La Squazza)

Total Climb: 900m                Hours: 8 hours

Map: ‘As for Day 5 above. Covers all of this day’s route. E1/AVML is marked.

Routemarking: The E1 follows the AVML all day, which is well signposted throughout the day

Viewranger GPX File Link: http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NjI4NzkwNQ%3D%3D

Route Description:

  • After returning to the E1/AVML at Monte Pagliaro (Alt 1180), the route turns south to follow the ridge, along woodland paths and some open grassland, after 5 km climbing up to a mountain-top chapel (Capella del Ramaceto, alt 1320m)(6 km, 2.5 hours).
  • The path then turns east along the ridge, over Monte Ramaceto (alt 1345m) for two kilometers, offering spectacular views south to the coast, before turning north for four km to follow woodland paths and tracks down to Passo della Forcella (alt 920m, no services). (7 km, 2.5 hours)
  • From Passo della Forcella, the path heads north east, climbing back up to 1000m altitude, passing by the summits of Monte Pian del Croso and Monte Bozale, to reach a chapel (Capella del Bozale, alt 960m)(4 km, 1.5 hours)

 

Stay: From Capella del Bozale, there is a waymarked track leading south for 1 km down to the village of La Squazza (alt 700m, no services), on the road from Passo della Forcella to Bertigaro. 500m east along this road are the serviced apartments of Locanda Parentin (no meals provided).

Day 7: Monte Bozale to Monte Nero (near Perlezzi)

Distance: 18 km (including 1.5 km from La Squazza back up to the E1 path, and 5 km from E1 path down to Castagneto)

Total Climb: 1100m                                    Hours: 8 hours

Map: ‘As for Day 5 above. Covers all of this day’s route. E1/AVML is marked.

Routemarking: The E1 follows the AVML all day, which is well signposted throughout the day

Viewranger GPX File Link: La Squazza to Malga Zanoni: http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDk0NjE1OA==

Route Description:

  • Return to the E1 at Capella del Bozale (1.5km, 1 hour from Locanda Parentin)
  • From Capella del Bozale (alt 960m), the route continues north east along woodland paths and tracks, climbing slowly to Capella delle Lame (alt 1300m, unserviced refuge), before heading east and continuing to climb steadily through open moorland to reach Monte Aiona, the highest point on this part of the E1 (alt 1702m), with spectacular views in all directions.

Navigation Note: The E1/AVML passes 200m south of the peak, but there are several paths connecting to the peak itself, which is worth the detour. Note that due to magnetic rocks, compass readings are unreliable in the vicinity of the peak.

From Monte Aiona, the path heads east, descending to Passo della Spingarda (alt 1550m)(11 km, 5 hours)

Stay: Turn south off the E1/AVML at Passo della Spingarda on the waymarked trail A4 (marked with red triangles). (Rifugio Aiona is 500m down this track, but was not open as of May 2017). Continue following waymarked route A4/A8 (red triangles) down the hillside to reach the village of Castagneto at altitude 600m, where is found B&B Shanti House, offering basic but welcoming accommodation and meals. (5 km from Passo della Spingarda, 2 hours).  Note: At the time of our visit, Rifugio Malga Zanoni was about to reopen, which is only 2.5 km from Passo della Spingarda, along the same A4/A8 trail. Expected to be open summer and weekends only.

Day 8: Monte Nero to Passo del Bocco

Distance: 15 km (including 5 km from Castagneto back to E1/AVML)

Total Climb: 850m                                    Hours: 6 hours

Map: ‘As for Day 5 above. Covers all of this day’s route. E1/AVML is marked.

Routemarking: The E1 follows the AVML all day, which is well signposted throughout the day

Viewranger GPX File Link: Castagneto to Passo del Bocco: http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NDk1MzQ1NA==

Route Description:

  • From Castagneto (alt 600m), return along waymarked trail A8 to rejoin E1/AVML at Passo dei Porciletti (alt 1470m)(5 km, 2.5 hours)

Note: Alternatively, return to Passo della Spingarda, then follow the E1/AVML for a further 4 km to reach Passo dei Porciletti

  • From Passo dei Porciletti, the E1/AVML path heads south along the ridgeline, passing over Rocca della Scaletta (alt 1400, spectacular views), to Monte Ghiffi (alt 1240m), before dropping down to join a minor road at Passo dei Ghiffi (alt 1070m). The route then follows the road for the last 3 km to Passo del Bocco (alt 1000m)(10 km, 3.5 hours)

 

Stay: Rifugio del Bocco is located at Passo del Bocco, and offers a full hotel service with restaurant and bar.  There is a bus service 2-3 times a day from Passo del Bocco to the coast.

 

 

 

 

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  1. E1 Italy Ligurian Alps