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Salt Route


From Varzi to Camogli
on the ancient route between alps and sea.

From Apennines to the Ligurian sea, trekking over the “Via del Mare” route

The “Via del Mare”, (sea route), also called “Via del Sale” (salt route), is an ancient route used by shepherds, travelers and traders to go from the Lombard plain to the sea and back. At that time salt was used as a currency for trading goods. Why salt and not money? Because salt was an important and fundamental element for preserving food, so in that era, it was more precious than gold itself, that is why this trekking is called "La via del Sale".


  • TREK AREA: Liguria
  • SEASON: Autumn, Spring
  • ACCOMODATION: Hotel, B&B, Mountain Hut
  • DURATION (days): 6
  • HIKING DIFFICULTY: T2 - Mountain hike
  • PHYSICAL EFFORT:: Upper-middle
  • MAX ALTITUDE (meters): : 1630
  • ELEVATION GAIN (meters): : 1000
  • PEOPLE MIN.: 2
  • PEOPLE MAX:: 8
HIGHLIGHTS: Chestnut, beech and holm oak woods. Wide ridges, views towards the sea and towards the Alps. Different floral species, roe deer, fallow deer, mouflon. Regional food.

The Varzi salt route runs through the Apennine ridge of the “Four Provinces” with its centuries-old musical and culinary tradition. We are between Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia and Liguria, four regions with a unique traditional culture, where cuisine best represents this territory. Imagine to taste the famous coppa toghether with “pisarei”, focaccia ligure and piemontese agnolotti! We will taste them with one of the most beautiful treks in the Ligurian Apennines! It is a real journey from the first mountains of “Oltrepo Pavese” called also the “Little Tuscany” near the plain to the picturesque fishing port/resort of Camogli, about 30km west of the Cinque Terre. We will walk through splendid, wide and panoramic ridges, lush nature, beech forests, Mediterranean nature and sea views.

This trekking runs along well-marked paths that are free of difficulty, but you need to be fit and well trained (seasoned walker), because there are significant distances and high uphill climb, by the way in the evenings, good food and hospitality will be the reward for the hardships.

The standard proposal includes four days of walking plus two days for approaching and visiting Varzi and Camogli. Accommodations are in small B & Bs, hotels and shelters where you can taste the typical dishes of Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia and Liguria; a mix of the most rustic and good regional cuisines. It is possible for groups to personalize: number of days, difficulty and other preferences like turistic visit of Pavia, Genoa and wineyard in Oltrepo Pavese by contacting the Trekupitaly staff directly.


Spinarola portofino



Indicative schedule


Day 1: Arrival in Milan Malpensa, transfer by private transport to Varzi. Accommodation and visit of the Varzi town, welcome aperitif and typical dinner.

Day 2: From Varzi to Capanne di Cosola: From the small village of Varzi we will progressively rise among the last inhabited areas to subsequently immerse ourselves in the chestnut and beech woods. The forest will make way to meadows on the highest mountain ridges, that with a long journey, will take us to the top of Mount Chiappo. From this enchanting peak we can see most of our trek while we take a break in the little refuge. From the top the descent is fast to our small hotel. This first day is very hard for the ascent, but very easy as foothpath.
Accomodation: small and basic family-run hotel where we can taste the typical food from Piedmont and Emilia.
Distance: 20 Km - Difficulty: high – Altitude gain/loss: 1400 m up 400 m down – walking hours: 6

Day 3: From Capanne di Cosola to Torriglia: Stage completely on mountain ridges where the panorama is the main element. From Capanne di Cosola we will soon leave the extensive woods to reach the grassy ridges between Piedmont and Emilia Romagna. We will climb three main peaks of which the last one, the Monte Antola, introduces us to the Ligurian territory. Here we will begin to feel the scent of the sea and if visibility allows it we start to see the sea very clear. In Mount Antola there is also a modern refuge where we can stop for lunch with a fantastic view over Apennines. In the afternoon we will descend to Torriglia the sweet homeland of Canistrelli a tipycal butter cookieand where we will stop for the night in a cosy horse farm.
Accomodation: horse farm with little hostel (8 people per room, bathroom in common). Ligurian traditional cuisine.
Distance: 26 Km - Difficulty: Medium - Altitude gain/loss: 600 m up + 1300 m down – walking hours: 7

Day 4: From Torriglia to Uscio: This is the longest stage! From Torriglia, we climb up to the top of Mount Lavagnola where the panorama dominates the last hills before the sea. The vegetation begins to change and the first faint Mediterranean essences make their appearance. We will cross small villages until we enter a very green valley that after crossing it will take us to the Scoffera Pass. A long descent by road is the last effort to reach the small town of Uscio while the sea is winkling at us in the distance.
Accomodation: B&B with dinner (bathroom in common). Ligurian traditional cuisine.
Distance: 28 Km - Difficulty: high - Altitude gain/loss: 990 m up + 1300 m down – Walking hours: 8

Day 5: From Uscio to Camogli: Final stage! prepare your swimsuit because at the arrival we will dive into the sea! From the little town of Uscio we will climb up the panoramic Casetti Pass and then descend to Passo Spinarola entering a fantastic mediterranean forest. From this point we enter the beautiful Portofino Natural Park that welcome us with an easy path. We will reach a third pass called “Passo del Gallo” from where we can admire two gulfs, Tigullio gulf and Paradiso gulf. The sea is still a bit far, but now there are just few little climbing before descending to Ruta di Camogli and then following the typical Creuze (narrow street leading to the sea), we will reach Camogli and the sea ... and let’s swim!
Accomodation: HOTEL - B&B with dinner. Ligurian traditional cuisine.
Distance: 14 Km - Difficulty: Medium - Altitude gain/loss: 450 m in up + 800 m down – Walking hours: 5  

Day 6: Transfer from Camogli to Malpensa airport or Genova by private transport: free time in Camogli waiting for the tranfer to Malpensa airport (2h 30 min by minibus) or Genova (45 minutes by minibus).


 Davide Adamo - A.m.M Guide Alpine Lombardia - Int. Mountain Leader
     Via Monte Rosa 40
     20081 ABBIATEGRASSO (MI), Italy
 Tel.: +39 347 38 63 474
 Email: info@trekupitaly.com

Member of:

Amm Lombardia UIMLA

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