The path of the Pilgrim, the Grotta dei Falsari (Counterfeits’ Cave), the Torre delle Streghe (Witches’ Tower).
Scenic and mysterious names.
Names of extraordinary places to discover in the sixth stage of LiguriaTrekkingeXperience!
For this new adventure we hike to Varigotti and Noli, through the wonderful Path of the Pilgrim and the scenic Dantesque Walk.
This is an itinerary where each step offers incredible surprises.
E (Excursionist). Easy path.
300 m asl
The Path of the Pilgrim is one of the most impressive trekking tours in the Western Liguria. Because of the several glimpses of the sea we have while walking, the natural landscape surrounding our passing, the large quantity of surprises dotted along the whole itinerary, waiting for us and making it really interesting.
What are these surprises?
We first meet the Church of S. Lorenzo: it is a simple stone church standing on a grassy space stretching on a scenic panoramic terrace overlooking Punta Crena and the Baia dei Saraceni (Saracens’ Bay).
A glance is sufficient to understand it is a place we can’t forget.
The second surprise is a wall. It is not an usual wall. It is a colorful wall that Giuseppe Cerisola, an experienced swimmer from Varigotti, built in memory of the ones he had rescued during his sea travels.
The third staggering place is the Witches’ Tower which was erected to mark the borders between Varigotti and Noli. This gloomy name is ironic actually as it comes just from Noli people’s desire to taunt the women from Varigotti!
Finally, at the end of the trail we have the greatest surprise: the extraordinary Counterfeits’ Cave, otherwise known as “Antro dei Briganti” (Brigands’ hiding place). It is an enormous opening in the rock, overlooking the sea where once the smugglers used to hide their goods (the legend has it!) The Counterfeits’ Cave is a real window dropping in the sea. Everyone falls in love with it.
After leaving the pier of Varigotti, we must come into the village and go up along the Strada Vecchia (Ancient Road). On the left side we find a well-marked signpost showing the beginning of the path.
The first part of the route is quite hard because it climbs with steep ramps. We must persevere as the climbing is not long and we can stop from time to time and admire the view.
After fifteen minutes we take a deviation leading to the Church of S. Lorenzo.
Coming back to the Path of the Pilgrim we follow a route dug out by the water in some places, but easy to hike. We arrive at Giuseppe Cerisola’s wall and afterwards at the Witches’ Tower and the radio station of the Carabinieri. We are now at Manie, well-known for its important outdoor bike racings (for further information relive the adventures of #LiguriaBikeXperience: click here!)
The descent starts just here. This route stretching from the Witches’ Tower to Noli is mentioned in the Divina Commedia by Dante: this is why it is called “Dantesque Walk”.
We go on walking along the pathway in the shade of oak trees and maritime pines until we reach another fork leading to the Counterfeits’ Cave in ten minutes.
Once we reach this wonderful natural terrace overlooking the sea, we can even come in through a hole in the rock: it is a narrow passage allowing marvelous views within the cave and the surrounding area. Walking the main trail again, we keep descending. Before we arrive in Noli, we meet the remains of the Church of S. Giulia and S. Margherita.
In order to come back to Varigotti we can catch the public transport or alternatively we come back along the Dantesque Walk and the Path of the Pilgrim.
This path is an excursionist itinerary in every practical sense, impossible to face without a good trekking equipment: walking boots or shoes, rambler poles, windproof clothing and a good supply of water (here the climbs are difficult).