The morphology of the Ligurian territory has always allowed the movement of people between the various villages through a maze of overland routes, which today we can rediscover during an excursion on foot or a mountain bike trip.
Ring of Forts of Genoa
Departing from the Bristol Palace Hotel in Genoa, the "Ring of Forts of Genoa" tour is certainly one of the most evocative and wonderful, as well as being suitable for everyone depending on their level of preparation. The Forts of Genoa are a collection of military structures dating back to different periods but built for a common purpose: to defend the Republic of Genoa from enemy incursions. This method of defending the territory was used from the Napoleonic period, through the Risorgimento and ending with the two World Wars. The walls that run along these heights still represent the longest city wall in Europe and the second longest in the world, after the Great Wall of China.
To start the trip to the Forti di Genova it is advisable to reach the locality of Righi (15 minutes by car, about 45 minutes on foot from the Hotel) and follow the signs towards the path that leads to our first Fronte, Fronte Sperone (about 40 minutes). Part of the 'new walls' ( 1630 AD), this 19th-century fortification takes its name from its angular shape, reminiscent of the prow of a ship, and can only be visited externally.
Leaving Fronte Sperone behind, after a 30-minute walk, you will come to Forte Puin: built at the beginning of the 19th century by the Savoys to strengthen and defend the town. It cannot be visited inside, but you can admire it from above or reach it directly via a diversion downhill.
It is 20 minutes from Forte Puin to our third fort: Fratello Minore.
This military structure dominates the valley below and can be visited freely, as well as being our penultimate stop. In fact, if we continue for a further 25 minutes, thanks to a series of steep hairpin bends, we will find ourselves in front of our last Fort: Forte Diamante.
It is certainly the most suggestive, thanks to its position as a true dominator of two valleys: "Val Polcevera" and "Val Bisagno". Partly open to visitors, it deserves the small and final effort that this walk requires. This Fort is also the last stage of our excursion; it is possible to take the reverse route back to Righi or use a steep downhill path to Trensasco, a small hamlet of Genoa. If walked in its entirety the Genoa Forts Ring is 10 km long and takes about 4 hours to complete.
In Liguria, the proximity of the mountains to the sea is amazing. By exploiting this natural feature and high engineering skills, it has been possible to transport drinking water from the springs to the port since Roman times. A fascinating and historical route that is now easily accessible even to less experienced hikers, with a total length of about 28 km.
The entrance to the walk is in Via Raitano (20 minutes by car from the Hotel Bristol Palace) and after an initial uphill stretch the path becomes completely flat. This is a peaceful excursion surrounded by nature and the architectural elements of the so-called "Via dell'Acqua", thanks also to the numerous accesses and exit points where you can retrace your steps. The entire route is also covered with slabs of Luserna stone, which makes it even easier to recognise.
Walking alongside dry stone walls, olive trees and beaten paths, you can follow the route of the ancient aqueduct of Genoa, which winds its way like a snake to the heart of the city. The Via dell'Acqua is an "urban" trekking route, so it may seem that the route ends in an asphalted road: this is not the case, by following the signs "Antico Civico Acquedotto" you will find yourself back in the heart of the exploration route.
The total duration of the walk can vary from 2 to 6 hours depending on which exit point you wish to take, thanks to its proximity to the city and the numerous intermediate stretches it is the ideal walk for anyone, no one will be disappointed!