Italy Via della Costa

Day 7: Alassio to Finale Ligure

Today I could really feel the breath of history underfoot during the 30km with 794m ascent walk to Finale Ligure.

Yesterday I finished in Andora and spent the night ca. 10km further along the trail outside Alassio. So today I started just 50m from where we were staying, and will walk the missing kilometers between Andora and Alassio tomorrow.

Walking towards Albenga, I walked along the historical Roman road Via Iulia Augusta. Historically the road extends from Piacenza to Arles in France (where it is known as the Via Aurelia – which I walked between Roquefort and Menton during the three first days of this walk). The section I was walking today from Alassio to Albenga is one of the best preserved parts, with the remains of Roman buildings and several sections of the original Roman road. The paths were good and views along the coast fantastic, as usual. It helped that it was a nice and sunny day.

Albenga is yet another ancient town and was an important town under the construction of the commercial route between Italy, France and Spain and in difference to the majority of coastal town, isn’t a popular holiday destination.

After Albenga, I was however brought back to today with a bump. Albenga is one of the main flower growing areas, and between Albenga and Ceriale the trail follows small roads past small flower farms with thousands of flowers, spread across a few varieties or colours. After historical paths, winding roads without pavements was a let down, made worse by a van that I felt drove excessively close to me so I had to sidestep into the grass next to the road.

In Ceriale I bought a drink before starting a s small climb that took me past Castello Borelli, a castle built around 1870, now an exclusive hotel with fantastic views of the Mediterranean.

From there I continued along the sea front to Borghetto and Loano, the two coastal town that have merged into each other.  I met Lene for a coffee in Loano. Lene had been here with her parents when she was a kid, but didn’t recognise anything.

Whilst the morning to Loano had been relatively flat, the afternoon included two major climbs, twice crossing the ever present A10 Autostrada. The first climb was to the village of Ranzi, primarily along roads.

I was back down on the coast in Petri Ligure, before climbing again towards the beautiful villages of Verazzi. I passed a couple of churches on the way up and at last a church with open doors, Chieso di San Pietro Apostolo.

Verazzi comprises of four closely connected villages with small cobbled street and stone houses, and as always, fabulous views along the coast.

The walk down to Finale Ligure was steep and challenging, again along an unkept stone path.

Lene and I had visited a friend in Finale Ligure in the early 80’s and stayed with his parents. We had stayed in the town close to the coast. I was totally surprised when descending from the mountain to find that Finale Ligure had a beautiful walled medieval town, Finaleborgo – and yet another village on the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy (a list of 350 villages in Italy). We had a stroll around the village, surprised by the number of people on mountain bikes. Evidently this is a mecca for mountain bike riding, and the European Championships had been held during the previous week, so many were attracted to trying out the same tracks.

After taking a coffee we drove back to Alassio, where we stayed a 2nd night.

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