Picnics from the west to the centre

For those who want to immerse themselves in nature, stay outdoors and eat with friends: the ideal is a nice outing in the many picnic areas in Liguria

Picnics from the west to the centre

For Easter Monday, we have indicated a number of destinations for laying out the typical checked tablecloth on which to open the baskets with snacks prepared at home. Let's take a detailed look at these picnic destinations: equipped areas, meadows and excursions for weekends, long weekends and trips out of town.

Let's start with the Riviera dei Fiori, where there are sixteen paths through mountains and hills, winding between streams and peaks covered with larch and fir trees. Among these sixteen paths, the Rainbow Path is a fascinating walk through the surrounding vegetation: in springtime it is a riot of flowers, dominated by the yellow and intense perfume of the mimosas intertwined with the bands of olive trees. On the horizon, the blue of the sea hypnotises us. The start is in Ventimiglia and the finish line in Ospedaletti: from the little church of San Secondo, above the railway line, the route continues along the left-hand side of the Roia valley to Madonna della Virtù, where it descends towards Camporosso, which lies along the Nervia torrent. You reach Sant'Andrea, where you take a road that crosses the stream and returns southwards with a short climb that leads to Madonna dell'Annunziata. Pass San Biagio della Cima and climb again to San Sebastiano on the ridge between the Verbone and Borghetto streams. The descent towards Vallebona is easy here, where the scent of mimosa flowers becomes more and more intense. At 200 m you come to the spectacular village of Sasso di Bordighera, cross the Saso stream to tackle the last climb towards the ridge that descends from Monte Nero to the Migliarese point between Bordighera and Ospedaletti. The bay of Ospedaletti can be admired from above: the most panoramic point is the sanctuary of Porrine, which allows you to descend to the village among gardens full of bougainvilleas. The route takes four hours and has an altitude difference of 800 m.

The second stage is the Beigua Park: a protected natural area extending between the provinces of Genoa and Savona. It is the closest Tyrrhenian-Padanian watershed to the sea. It perfectly reflects the two souls of Liguria: the sea at 6 km and the mountains up to 1200 m high. Since 2005, UNESCO has recognised this vast protected natural area as a European and World Geopark: twenty-six kilometres of mountain ridges, a vast expanse of green rocks, metamorphic in nature, sculpted by ice and erosion. The park is an example of biodiversity: to the south, along the rugged slopes, flowers grow on the magnesium-rich rocks and to the north, the slopes become gentler with a vegetation of centuries-old chestnut trees. There is a wide variety of fauna, and binoculars are recommended as this is the passage point for migratory birds. Here the picnic areas are really many and they meet at all heights so as soon as you find the meadow that you like the most, stop quietly, some examples: the location of Prato Rotondo, the one above Alpicella and the one on Mount Beigua very suggestive thanks to the presence of a water source. For excursions, you'll be spoilt for choice: on foot, by mountain bike, on horseback, gentle walks or for experts.  The itineraries cover about 500 km on both sides, Tyrrhenian and Po, each with panels indicating: departure and arrival, difficulty, walking time, the presence or absence of shelters or shelters, interest (naturalistic, wildlife, historical, archaeological, etc.) and informative materials explaining the link between the historical and cultural elements of these places. The longest itinerary is the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri of over 400 kilometres, on one side towards the sea and on the other towards the Po Valley and the Alps: two different landscapes inhabited by various animal species such as whales for the sea and eagles for the plains.

We move further into the centre to a popular picnic spot in the province of Genoa: the Piani di Praglia, behind Pontedecimo. They can be reached in half an hour from the town centre and are equipped with benches, tables and stone barbecues. To work off the sandwiches, we recommend the "Gorzente Lakes Nature Trail", created by volunteers from the Bolzaneto section of the C.A.I. and inaugurated to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1996. It starts in the locality Prou Renè, on the provincial road of Piani di Praglia and develops along a ring-shaped path in the high valley of the Gorzente torrent. There are three Gorzente lakes: Lake Lungo at 684 m and Lake Lavezze at 646 m are on the border between the province of Genoa and the province of Alessandria, while Lake Badana at 700 m is entirely in the Piedmont region. It lasts five hours and is 13.370 km long, with a difference in altitude of 500 m. It crosses the municipalities of Campomorone, Ceranesi and Bosio and comes across the Sacrario dei Martiri di Passo Mezzano (Martyrs' Memorial in the Mezzano Pass), the place where 14 partisans who had escaped the Nazi-Fascist round-up on April 6th at Benedicta in the province of Alessandria were slaughtered on April 8th 1944. The C.A.I. Naturalistic Environmental Observatory, a permanent shelter accessible at any time, is also on the route. Other places of historical interest are: "la Pietra del Grano", a large boulder where in ancient times merchants from the Po Valley exchanged their grain and wine for salt and oil from Ligurian merchants; a "neviera", a large cavity, about 10 metres in diameter and 6 metres deep, covered with stones, which, before the spread of refrigerators, was filled during the winter with snow covered with dry leaves and straw to function as an icebox; the Bronze Table of Polcevera, placed there in 117 BC by the Romans to mark the boundaries of the area. C. by the Romans to delimit the territory of the Liguri Langenses, following the arbitration of the magistrates Quinto and Marco Minucio Rufo.