Italy Via Aurelia Via della Costa

Day 4: Menton to San Remo

My first day walking in Italy, and a missed opportunity which could have made a not particularly inspiring walk more interesting!

In France I was walking the GR653A, also known as Via Aurelia, whilst in Italy, the path continues as the Via della Costa. It will be interesting to see the difference – if any.

I walked 31km, and whilst I didn’t pass over 100m asl., I still managed a total ascent of 800m, which surprised me.

It had rained all night, and albeit lighter, was still raining as I left Menton to walk to Italy. The sea was choppy and in places spilling over onto the promenade. I saw somebody taken by surprise and get soaked. It is only day 4, and my first day walking in Italy, and already I wondered whether walking in Italy was such a good idea. Pretty much all the day was along roads, many with barely a pavement, and the cars driving closely, often spraying water, given the amount of overnight rain that hadn’t yet drained away. That said, I had expected all the drivers to be a bit crazy and was very pleasantly surprised to notice how many slowed down as they drove past me.

It rained on and off all morning, I was in and out of my poncho. Beautiful weather returned in the afternoon, with deep blue skies by evening.

As mentioned, it was a day of walking along pavements, a couple of tunnels and through sprawling coastal towns in Italy. Given that the 31km were almost solely along the coast, at least the views were great.

After passing the border, I hugged the coast until Ventimiglia, where I walked through the old town, passing the statue of Corsaro Nero (a fictional character) before passing through a busy commercial center. Lene had parked in Bordighera and we met just before the town and took a coffee in a local bar. It was Sunday and quiet. After seeing Ventimiglia, I was surprised by the beauty of Bordighera, large beautifully maintained houses – as many in the English aristocracy stayed here during winter. Claude Monet lived and painted here for sometime and there is a park dedicated to him, as well as having more olive trees than inhabitants. There was also an old town that I walked around.

I carried on along the coast walking along the main SS1 road towards Ospedaletti, a non-descript town. Whilst writing this and looking at the route I walked, I noticed that there is a tunnel from Ospedaletti to outside San Remo, saving a number of kms walking along the SS1. The railway has been moved away from the coast and inland, and the old track and tunnels have been converted into a 70km long walking and biking path, starting in Ospedaletti. The Capo Nero tunnel is 1,75km long and decorated to celebrate to Milan-San Remo cycle race (which I will come back to in a later post). What a pity I missed this.

I continued along the SS1, without taking a single picture – a sign of how uninteresting it was. The route I was following joined the cycle path just after the tunnel and I followed it into San Remo and the old station, together with a number of other cyclists and walkers, enjoying the fine weather on a Sunday afternoon.

After a shower, Lene and I walked around a lively San Remo (Italians do really eat a lot a ice cream!), passed the famous casino and the Russian church, before a glass of Prosecco (courtesy of the hotel), a Pizza – and a good nights sleep.

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