Italy Via della Costa

Day 15: Levanto to La Spezia

Changed plans, a thousand or more steps, the sun above but cloud below and the highest elevation profile of the whole trip.

The original plan was to walk from Levanto, to the first of the five villages in Cinque Terre and then walk along the coast from village to village. Unfortunately, the paths along the coast were all closed due to landslides. So a change of plan was needed. After studying the different paths I decided instead to take the so called High Path that runs the length of the Cinque Terre National Park at the parks highest points. The path reaches almost 800m asl., but without significant up and downs, apart from the initial climb and the final descent. The added advantage was that I only needed one day to get to La Spezia, not two as originally planned. That left me with a free day to visit Cinque Terre by train with Lene.

I walked 32kms and although looking at the profile it was a fairly flat stage, I still climbed 1377m, reaching almost 800m at the highest point. This was the most that I walked on a single day on this trip – and there was even time to add a stone to a cairn.

I left Levanto on a cloudy morning and started the walk up in the direction of Monterosso, the largest of the five villages, passing the church and the castle and nice views back towards Levanto. There were a number of other walkers walking in the same direction. After about an hour I was rewarded for the climb with a view along the coast and the five villages. Instead of walking down into Monterosso, I continued “back” towards Levanto, but further inland, following the ridge at the top of the mountain range. I would follow this ridge all the way until starting the descent towards La Spezia.

I was hoping for great views over the villages, but I was going to be disappointed. Whilst I was walking in sunshine, below me a sea mist rolled in and blocked any view towards the coast. What a let down.

Knowing it was going to be a long day, it was good that the paths were generally fine, mostly wide walkable paths, only in a few places, typically the two climbs up to the ca. 800m, did I need to scramble. It was a pleasant walk.

I met a number of other walkers – all French. I was walking in shorts and T-shirt, when I met a French mother and daughter in full walking kit including padded pants and jacket. How they managed to walk up from the coast to 700m with so many clothes on, I have no idea. They were discussing over a paper map how to get back to the coast. I showed them what alltrails proposed. The mother seemed worried that they’d gone too far!

There were a couple of steeper climbs, before starting my descent towards La Spezia at “the crossing” a point where many paths cross. The path down towards La Spezia was covered in fallen leaves, so many that it wasn’t easy to see where I was walking. Just before Carpena, at 450m asl. and 6kms to La Spezia, the path changed from a rocky path to steps. The steps continued for the majority of the rest of the stage. I wish I had counted them – there must have been at least be a thousand steps, if not even more.

I walked into La Spezia a major military base on the border between Tuscany and Liguria, the end of my trip. After the many kilometers and elevation I was feeling tired, so I went directly to the station and the train back to Levanto.

Lene met me at the station and we stopped for a drink at one of the popular cafes on the square next to the port before buying some dry cuts, cheese and a bottle of wine and relaxed at the hotel.

Today was the end of the walking, tomorrow Lene and I will visit Cinque Terre and I’ll publish photos in the next post, and I’ll post a few thoughts about the trip.

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