path n. 1 - 1st stage (Portovenere-Campiglia)


Our walk begins in Portovenere, in piazza Bastreri, at the entrance of the old hamlet, where a steep staircase commences that runs along the walls of the castello Doria.

The stairs, high and irregular in shape, beside which the acanthus grows, are mostly dug in the same rock on which stands the medieval fort. We’ll come in short to a natural terrace, very panoramic, in which marble and traces of miner are very visible, reminding us to the extraction and processing of portoro marble typical of this area.

The west side is also reached from the sentiero dell’Infinito (tribute to poet Giacomo Leopardi), a very impressive street overlooking the sea, though steep and treacherous, that goes down to the San Pietro church after passing through an abandoned quarry, the civic cemetery and certury-old greens.

A look at the landscape and then we can start climbing, taking, on the right, the mule track that climbs the colle del Muzzerone. We’ll walk among abandoned cultivations, now overwhelmed by the Mediterranean scrub and by maritime pines and Aleppo pines.

In few minutes we’ll stumbled across a ruin, in a tank and in some rusting machinery: they are the remains of the cava (quarry) Canese (200 m), before which there is a crossroads, marked by a block of marble on which two trail sign are painted: the first (1/AVG) indicates the continuation on the right - side of the Gulf - of the path n. 1, while the second (1/a) suggests a variant on the left which climbs, from west, the Muzzerone slopes again. Before going on, is a must to admire the view extending from the Alpi Apuane, on the east, until to islands Gorgona, Capraia and Corsica, on south: their profile is easily visible on the horizon in particularly clear days.

Then, we’ll take again the main road which is now grown in a section on an apparently flat slope, in the middle of which a lane leads to the underlying rifugio Muzzerone, managed by CAI and open all year. A few more steps and we’ll meet the carriageable road (250 m) that from village of Le Grazie goes up to the Muzzerone stronghold and that coincides with the final part of the variant n. 1/a. We’ll follow the road for about 200 meters downhill, we’ll go past a quarry that is still active, and then we’ll cut a couple of hairpin thanks to a shortcut in a pine.

Then, we’ll arrive to the sella di Derbi (a sadle, 190 m), where we leave the asphalt, to take again the path near a plaque which commemorates the death of five airmen, smashing down here with their seaplane in 1937.

A little further on we’ll begin the climb along the Castellana slopes, ignoring, on the right, the path which gives rise to the first stretch of the Alta Via del Golfo (AVG), an easy mule track that goes around the mountain on the eastern side. Our ascent, among low shrubs and maritime pines, will be accompanied by a magnificent view of the sea that reaches heights of extraordinary beauty when we get on a rocky promontory called the Pitone (302 m): here the view of the Muzzerone cliffs, of church of San Pietro, the Palmaria and Tino islands is incomparable.

Then we’ll leave again. The mule track now comes more slowly, while the vegetation is more dense. In few minutes we’ll arrive to the Boca der Cavalin (360 m), into which our path, the road that rises to Campiglia and the final part of the AVG meet. We just have to follow the asphalt for a few tens of meters, and then we have to take again, behind a football field rather shabby, the mule track, that across a pinewood, will brings us to the XVIII century church of Santa Caterina, and thus to Campiglia (401 m), after having touched an old stone mill, now restored.


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