The “four provinces” mountains
Look at the map and you will realise that the area we are talking about is surrounded by a loop of the upper river Trebbia and by the upper river Scrivia valley; these are two rivers flowing into the Po river, bringing their water to the Adriatic sea. But with their sources two steps away from the Ligurian sea, where the Apennine ridge almost reaches it. WE start indee from the Scoffera pass, a road pass north of Genova, that almost everybody neglects, since it lays so close to the sea and people quickly pass by, using the highway tunnels below. But from here, just north, starts the ridge dividing the Trebbia and Scrivia valleys, that is the backbone of this part of the world. With its main valleys and side valleys of old villages and water mills.
So, let’s start to go up the woody upper Brevenna valley, that you see west of mount Antola, where is Senarega. It is an almost ideal “più di 1000” concept example. Senarega is a middle ages village, with not anymore permanent inhabitants, but with people trying to keep it alive. In the valley thare are many other villages, like Tonno. There are traces of the past time activities; there ara pathways climbing up the mountain, passing through the villages. Mount Antola is not very high, but is very famous and full with hikers; it allows you to start studying the geography of the places, starting to look at mountains and places around: from Antola you can see almost all the Ligurian mountains, until Gottero, and beyond, until the Apuanian Alps skyline.
You can also reach mount Antola from the Brugneto lake, valleys, where is, among others, the village of Bavastri; these are pathways among forests, but also crossing rangeland environments and, above all, still connecting the small villages, with their life, presently almost exclusively in summer, and their fountains. You can also easily reach mount Antola form the Capanne di Carrega pass, or from the northern side, from the village of Vegni, as an example, that is already within the Piemonte region.
But this is the area of the Piemenite region where a lot of villages have the “Ligure” (Ligurian) attribute in their names, and where the Ligurian and Piedmont accents substantially mix. fro mount Antola you see these valleys converging into the upper Borbera valley. In front, you see the mountains on its northern border: mounts Ebro and Chiappo; on the right side, the mountains closing the valley eastwards, from Carmo to the Capanne di Cosola pass. Imagine to walk on the east ridge from Antola, where you see the border between the Liguria and Piemonte region; you pass through the Capanne di Carrega pass, then you head north, reaching mount Carmo.
If you look east, Boreca valley suddenly opens wide, but we will soon be back here. Continue walking north on the ridge and the borders change: now you walk between Piemente and Emilia regions. Keep walking, on an alternatively woody and open ridg, pass by the mount Legnà knot and reach the Capanne di Cosola pass, a door connecting the Borbera and Boreca valleys.
If you continue north, you climb up to mount Chiappo,from where you enjoy the view on mounts Lesima and Alfeo; and here the border has changed again, since you now hike between the Piemonte and Lombardia regions. Turn left, and you hike in Piemonte, an an ample open ridge, until mount Ebro, and beyond, to have a look on the Piemonte plains. You can also go down to the villages of Salogni or Bruggi; from them you can also start however, to go up to the ridge; but you can also reach this ridge from the Borbera valley, from Montaldo di Cosola.
But let’s go back from a moment, to look a bit eastwards, to the mythic Boreca valley; a steep valley of forests and villages, completely included in the Emilia region, although it leans on Liguria, Piemonte and Lombardia. It is somewhat the heart of the area called of the “quattro
provincie” (four provinces) : Piacenza, Genova, Alessandria e Pavia. Artana, Bogli, Suzzi, Pizzonero, Belnome, Tartago: villages almost invariably described with a sense of mystery and fascination; and although they are presently all reacheable by narrow roads, thay still remain pretty remote ans almost empty during winters. From the mountains around you can never see them all, since they are sited in different valleys, deep and steep. If you add to the group of villages also Cerreto, Zerba, Vesimo, Pej on the mount Lesima side, you may create a sort of val Boreca “Dieci Terre” (ten lands). The valley has mounts Lesima and Alfeo guarding its exit; seen from apart, from the Aveto valley mountains, mounts Lesima and Alfeo look like twin mountains. You can mount up to mount Lesima top from Cerreto, Zerba, or also from Vesimo, alongold patways, or from the ridge starting from the Pej pass, est of Capanne di Cosola. You can climb mount Alfeo from Tartago, but also from the Trebbia river valley, from the village of Gorreto.