BETWEEN ROCK, SKY AND SEA
The crossing Varigotti-Noli always overlooks the sea and is definitely one of the most beautiful excursions of Liguria. The path touches different ancient churches built on the uplands (St. Lawrence of Varigotti, St. Giulia and St. Lazarus of Noli) and has been renamed “Sentiero del Pellegrino” (Pilgrim’s Path). Admiring the endless landscape overlooking the sea, you arrive over the hump at the Semaforo (a disused military base that is a historical signalling point for navigation) and go down the hill towards the Noli Gulf. With a short detour you can also visit the “Grotta dei briganti” (the bandits cave) while the hermitage built by Captain De Albertis, an intellectual and traveller of the late 1800s, is on your pathway. Even children will get great satisfaction of this excursion: you can make a half day excursion, but to enjoy it better we suggest to spend an entire day with a packed lunch, from autumn to spring.
THE ANCIENT CHURCH OF SAINT LAWRENCE
A walk that starts from Varigotti and is suitable for children too. Start your climbing among olive trees and follow a large mule trail. While walking, discover the local flora with its typical species with bright, leathery and often aromatic leaves. Some species are very rare and can be only found in this corner of paradise, where you can admire some blooms even in winter! The destination of your walking is the small and ancient church of Saint Lawrence (11th century) that overlooks the sea in the place where once was located the medieval port. Opposite the church you can see a watch tower on Punta Crena, a bastion used in the past to tackle piracy. The walk lasts 1 to 1.5 hours (according to the rest stops) and is pleasant in any season.
In the Ponci Valley run once water that has since disappeared when natural causes diverted the water underground. At a rocky gorge you can still spot the erosion created by river that are known as “potholes” and 5 Roman bridges that further witness the presence of water in the past. In some tracts you will walk along a “road” that was build 2000 years ago and that winds along luxuriant vineyards and thick forests. After the third Roman bridge we suggest a short detour a little more demanding to reach the Medieval Quarries of Pietra del Finale, where rock was extracted using hammer and chisel. Hidden amid the vegetation you can also spot the well preserved ancient limekiln of Verzi. The excursion to the quarries can be easily made in a half day in any season.
TREASURE HUNT ON THE UPLAND
A short excursion between the ups and downs of the largest upland in the territory of Finale will be animated by a treasure hunt. The “towns of rocks”, “the red lands”, the caves and the other unusual natural shapes offer us the inspiration for riddles and enigmas to solve in order to find the desired treasure. The activity takes place around the famous “Arma delle Manie” and can finish with a deserved snack at Osteria del Bosco or at the restaurant La Grotta. The treasure hunt lasts about one hour and is suitable for children attending elementary school. The ideal period is from spring to the beginning of autumn.
MEGALITHS: TRUE PASSION
Many half day itineraries with a medium difficulty lead you to the discovery of the findings that witness the presence in our territory of the Central European “Megalithic civilization”, which was widespread around the year zero as well as in more recent times. This was due to the close bond between the inhabitants of Liguria and the earth energy. You will thus be able to visit the Megalithic Fence of Camporotondo, the observatory on the cliff of Bric Pianarella, the dolmens of Monticello and Verezzi, the menhir of Gorra, the petroglyph of Ciappo delle Conche, of Ciappo dei Ceci, of Ciappo del Sale and others. Ideal season: spring or autumn.
INTO THE CAVE
Perti is located behind Finalborgo and it is a wonderful village with a panoramic view which is overlooked by Castel Gavone. A narrow path leads into the forest until it reaches some hamlets that have simple names: Case Valle (Valley Houses), Case Buio (Dark Houses), Montesordo (Deaf Mountain). This is the “area of caves” because it is particularly rich in hollows that were inhabited during prehistory and more recently were used as a shelter for cattle. For this reason they have often been closed by doors or walls that make them even more suggestive. The visit inside the caves is made without using speleological techniques or equipment and it is an exciting experience, especially for children. In a half day you can visit many caves one after the other: the lack of a defined path in some tracts makes the excursion even more adventurous. Anyway, what you need before going home is definitely a relaxing break on the meadows of Pianmarino! Ideal in any seasons, even in winter or in the middle of summer.
PLAYING ON THE MEADOWS IN PIANMARINO
A quiet excursion suitable for young children too. Following an easy path inside the forest you will head for the meadows of Pianmarino that are located on a valley floor without any rivers and surrounded by the famous rocky walls of Finale. Here you can enjoy outdoor hand games and simply running around for children. For mums some easy relaxing and posture exercises to fight stress and backache.
This excursion can be always made except for on rainy days. It is the ideal destination for a short excursion in spring or on a summer afternoon.
GOOD FRESH SPRING HERBS
An easy excursion to discover the self-sown plants that can be used for cooking: they are very often common herbs that you can easily find in the countryside but which nowadays most people are not familiar with. The beginning of spring is the best period for collecting these herbs: the new soft buds and the first new leaves are much more tasty and digestible and collecting them can be a perfect way to combine business with pleasure. First of all, you need to be able to recognize them in order to prevent slight or serious accidents. An expert botanic guide will join you and explain what you can collect: there are many different itineraries which last a half day or the entire day according to the season.
INSIDE THE HEART OF PEASANT CIVILIZATION
A walk along the historical “strada comunale” (municipal road) of Rialto (actually a path) to discover the peasant roots, exhibited by ancient stone houses that were preserved until today. A territory consisting of pastures, silence and shady forests dominated by the chestnut trees, also known as “albero del pane” (bread tree) because it was the main source of food for the inhabitants. Enjoy a break at Prato del Tecchio, a meadow where you can discover how to play in the forest. From spring to late autumn the itinerary is suitable for young children too. Upon request you can visit the small but interesting Museum of Peasant Civilization of Rialto.
THE SILVER OF FINALE
One of the most suggestive corners of Finale is hidden between cliffs where an audacious path runs across it against rock walls. The half day excursion starts from Melogno and leads you to the ancient silver mines of Bric Gettina, which had been used since the Middle Ages.
The short tunnels where the mineral was extracted are still practicable and offer the visitor a cave environment with its typical fauna. Their peculiar substrate and climate conditions turn this place into a very interesting naturalistic destination, whose charm is increased by its pure environment. Even children will get great satisfaction from this excursion. However they need to be careful at all times while walking because the path has some difficult tracts. The best period to come is from spring to autumn.
THE 100 EYES FOREST
A walk inside the beech forest in the shadow of majestic trees, whose smooth trunk seems to become animated because of the shapes that remind you of big eyes. The itinerary is easy and without a steep drop and thus suitable for young children too. It is an ideal destination all year round, even in winter with snowshoes or in summer when the coast is too hot: the fresh air you can enjoy here and the common summer fog makes this forest even more suggestive. Here you are inside the State Forest of Barbottina, which is famous for its beauty. A picnic area halfway will enable you to enjoy a rest and spend some time playing. Since the itinerary can be made in a half day, what about having a stop here to enjoy your packed lunch?