Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Monterosso to Levanto

The route from Monterosso al Mare to Levanto, the town just north of Cinque Terre and often considered a gateway to the region, is spectacular.  The straight path  between the two cities is about a three hour walk, but we prefer to take a more scenic (and challenging) route that first circles Monterosso, starting off in the opposite direction and climbing up to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Soviore, a sanctuary and shrine dating from the 13th century.  We are in luck and the organist is practicing in the chapel as we go by.

Heading up to Soviore

 Organist practicing in the chapel at Soviore

From Soviore, we follow the road over to Colle di Gritta, where we pick up the trail on the top of the ridge around Monterosso.  The sign at the beginning of the trails warns that on Wednesday and Sunday, October through January, the trail is closed due to the hunting of wild boars starting at 7:30 am.  We now understand why we occasionally see shotgun shells along the trail, although we've never seen a boar here.  We're outside the hunting season and should be safe today.

 Colle di Gritta, important warning

As we trek along the ridge, we have views of Monterosso on the left and Levanto (in the distance) on the right.  Straight across the valley, we can see Soviore, from where we just came, it sure looks a long way away!

 Trail along the ridge

 Monterosso on the left, Levanto on the right

On the far ridge, Soviore, from where we just hiked

We complete our circle around Monterosso, meet the path coming up from town, and start along the Mediterranean toward Levanto.  The path winds along the ridge, then down into several valleys and back up again, with teasing glimpses of our destination.

 Continuing along the Mediterranean

 Approaching Levanto

As we descend into Levanto, we see that it's a good beach day, with a stiff breeze keeping the flags flying.  It's interesting to note the flags at the municipal beach/pool:  China, France, US, UK, Italy.

 Levanto Beach and flags

 Beachside villas

 Levanto town square

We finish up our hike and it's time for lunch.  We settle into a cafe on the edge of the square and share a Pizza Cinque Terre (anchovies), focaccia with ham and cheese, and, of course, a small carafe of local wine.

Focaccia, pizza, wine

After lunch, it's a leisurely stroll through town to the train station and a quick (5 minute) train ride through the tunnel back to Monterosso.

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