Let’s start our trip from the west, from the Ligurian Apennine; but not including all of it. The “far west”, starting at Colle di Cadibona, until more less to Genova, to the Scoffera pass, referring to the main divide ridge, is not here, for the time being. I will therefore start from my first Hercules pillar, mount Antola.
Ligurian Apennine… although some mountains are within the Liguria region, others are on its borders, some others are not in Liguria at all. To be on a border land will be a characteristic of several of our places. Once borders really existed, nowadays no more. This stretch of Apennine is called Ligurian since we like classifcations (and they are sometimes useful); from a geographic point of view this part was classified this way, not without reasons. From mount Antola it gets until the Cisa pass, laying between the Emilia and Toscana regions; but still being in the more Ligurian part of Toscana, where foods and accents still remind Liguria. As soon as you will slowly get acquainted to details, you will easily realise.
It is a diverse area, of woody mountains, offering however great surprises and views. Starting wandering from one mountain to the other, you will get familiar and recognise each of them. More often than in any other areas, you will find here the ophiolitic mountains, those barren and rough volcanic rocks that are unfriendly to vegetation, opening therefore the views for panoramas. And, referring to the coastal ridges, you have the unique possibility of hiking starting from the sea !
The border mountains of four regions: Liguria, Piemonte, Lombardia, Emilia. Vast forested valleys, lonely villages and ridges open to the sea and the Po valley. Mounts Antola, Ebro, Chiappo, Lesima, Carmo, Alfeo. The mythic Boreca valley and the Borbera and Brevenna valleys.
Great volcanic rock mountains and other. Where the Apennine raises; the first glacial valleys and lakes, the first blueberry bogs and alpine vegetation. The ridge from Oramara to Gifarco, mounts Maggiorasca, Ciapa Liscia, Black and Ragola mountains; mounts Penna and Aiona.
You already feel the sea, and you see it. Real mountains, despite their hieght, especially if you climb from the sea side. Inner woody slopes and incredible barren and steep seaside slopes of mount Caucaso and, especially, mounts Ramaceto and Zatta. A balcony on the sea from mount Porcile.
A forested stretch of Apennine, with unexpected views. Between the present Liguria and the historic Ligurian-Apuanian regions. Accents and foods transitions. Wood and pastures, from mount Zuccone and Gottero to Molinatico, bordering the river Vara and Magra valleys, approaching the high Apennine ridge.
Cinque Terre and Portofino, but not only. Extraordinary possibilities of year-round hikes, from the ourtskirts of Genova to the river Magra mouth. The real “mountains above the sea”, but do not expect to walk on the beach, even if your hikes may end up with a swim.