Active Tourism&Outdoor. The Italian Riviera (Riviera Ligure)
Located between Sea and mountain. A thin layer of land that rises from the Sea surface and in a few kilometers, climbing up the hills, reaches the heights of the Alps Maritime. This is the secret that reveals how unique the Riviera Ligure area is. Indeed a small distance is enough to shift from the mountainous panoramic view of the Alps, to the crystalline waters of the Ligurean Sea, this portion of the Mediterranean Sea extends until Sanremo and Ventimiglia where it borders with the French Riviera “Côte d’Azur”, few kilometres far from Monaco and Nice. This territory is so unique that it can offer an array of several activities, mountain trails between woods and pastures that do not exclude the breath taking panoramic view of the Sea lulled by the surrounding mountains. Between the Alps and the Ligurean Sea the hills are unconcealed, typically distinguished by the vegetation of the Mediterranean “macchia”, where very many paths untangle offering trails, dirt roads, mule track and paved roads ideal for trekking and cycling. For the more daring mountain bikers and hikers also off road is feasible in the area. This territory is also featured by the historical paths such as the”via Julia Augusta”, dating backwards to the Roman Empire and the paths of the Italian elite mountain military corps “Alpini” that were taken, and in some cases even digged, during the First World War. As last the flagship of the Region Liguria, the Ligurean Sea, represents one of the most fascinating areas of the Mediterranean. In fact, its incredible water clarity is favourable for activities like snorkeling and diving, already at few meters of depth. Furthermore due to the abundant presence of Cetaceans in these waters, in the 1991 Pelagòs was found, the sanctuary for marine mammals, i.e. international Sea protected area. This protected area extends from the Ligurean Sea up to the waters at the border with France and until the Principality of Monaco. Therefore this sanctuary, provides the chance for Whale Watching on boat, sailing to the discovery of these marvellous animals. Following a brief description of the three environments mentioned above.
The highest peak and most representative one of the Ligurean Alps is “Punta Marguareis”, often mentioned only as Marguareis, it extends to the height of 2651 metres above Sea level. It represents the largest carsic alpine area , and it is the convergence point between the Valley of Pesio, Valley of Tanaro and Valley of Roia. This alpine arc borders south with the Ligurean Sea, North with the Piedmont region, West with the Provence -Alps- Côte d’Azur (French region) and East with the Appennines located in the area of Savona.
Such a scenario gives the opportunity to practice sportive activities:
TREKKING: Excursions framed with beautiful landscapes, with different degrees of difficulty (T, E, EE). Amongst the most known tracks we can find: the climbing of Mongioie, the valley of wonders in France, the balcony of Marta, the Alpini’s trail, the way of the salt (ancient road that connects Liguria’s coast with Piedmont and France, used in the past to provide Sea salt supplies in those territories) and Bocchetta di Altare where Alps and Apennines meet.
STREAM BED WALKING AND CANYOING: the presence of different water bodies that bedew our Alpine arc, gives us the chance to practice two passionate sportive activities that underwent a great development in the recent years. Both activities consist in small or medium stream beds treading. Although the difference lays in the treading direction: STREAM BED consists in climbing the stream bed upstream until the very source of the stream; whereas CANYOING consists in treading the stream bed downstream. Those disciplines may appear as extreme, but in truth everyone can take part in these expeditions as there is a selection of different streams with different difficulty, from beginner friendly to experienced.
CYCLING: Cycling on mountainous roads and trails require a good physical and technical preparation. However less challenging trails can be taken through for a more pleasant cycling . In fact the Alpine territory reveals great height difference that allows us to admire fully its landscapes, those paths are suitable for road bikes and specific for mountain bikes. Indeed there are several paths that will satisfy and challenge the lovers of the following disciplines: Cross-country, Enduro (dirt-bike) and Down-hill. Possibility of renting also e-bikes and e-mountain bikes.
The hills are one of the most representative territory of our region. Between the capes, where the land meets the Sea and the elevations towards the inland, several trails, dirt roads, mule roads and paved roads are found. Most of these roads have the fundamental function to connect mountains to the sea. territory is made unique by the typical vegetation of the area called “Macchia Mediterannea”. Indeed, it is mainly formed by plants and bushes of low height due to the wind and the environment dryness. Typical plants as Oregano, Cistus, Myrtle, Thyme, Broom and Pinasters contribute in creating this particular environment a magnificent landscape and a distinguishing perfume. Several are the valuable Sites for the Community (S.I.C.) protected and selected in our environment due to its plant and animal biodiversity. Besides the nature value the hills provide also sites and trails of historical value. Actually very many ancient paths, of great value and charm, can be taken at the present time. For instance, the “via Julia Augusta”, antique roman road that extends until the outpost of Gaul, now encompassing France. Walking or cycling along this 2000 years old road, will lead us to historical artefacts dating back to the Roman Empire’s age, as the remains of the paved roads and the necropolis. Another example is the Coastal route of the Santiago pilgrimage, which connects Rome to Santiago de Compostela, crossing through the Italian Riviera.
TREKKING: Walking excursions with different degrees of difficulty. From the simple walk to the most challenging trails. Other than the sportive interest, the excursions can be enriched by naturalistic and historical basics, determined by each group’s interests. Furthermore some trails plan also the visit of villages located along the path.
CYCLING: A different array of paths is set to satisfy lovers of any cycling discipline. Starting from bike tours, with easy trails that go through historical villages, where it is possible to rest and visit. Also road cycling is an option, special attention goes to the new cycling path that connects San Lorenzo to Bordighera, one of the longest paths in Europe where in the 2015 the first Chronometer competition of the Giro d’Italia took place. Additionally for mountain bike lovers the choice is overwhelming. There are trails that will satisfy lovers of all disciplines: Cross-country, Enduro (dirt-bike) and Down-hill. Possibility of renting also e-bikes and e-mountain bikes.
The lack of big tributary rivers and the mainly rocky coast ensure incredible water clarity and transparency to the Sea. This allows for a suitable environment for the growth of underwater Sea plants that require good light intensity in depth. The most important of those plants is Posidonia oceanica that forms prairies at few metres of depth. Those prairies are the fundamental habitat for the existence of all the organisms that populate those underwater forests. Posidonia oceanica covers a fundamental portion of the Ligurean Sea, thus due to its ecological value it is a protected species and those prairies are named as sites of community interest (S.I.C). Another distinctive trait of the Ligurean Sea consists in the steep underwater slope, which allows to reach high depths relatively close from the coastline. Indeed there are very many locations for underwater diving with different degrees of difficulty. Beyond 20m of depth where the light starts to fade, we start to find another ecosystem symbol of our Sea: the coralligenous assemblages. This is formed by a community of algae and animals defined encrusting. Through the ages of accretion they have formed with their own calcareous skeletons underwater reefs, comparable to the tropical coralline reefs.
SNORKELING: Snorkeling activities take place few meters from the coastline in the vicinity of the submerged meadows of Posidonia, or in remarkably beautiful sites. Different fish species, starfishes, Octopuses and Sea urchins are some of the marine critters that can be easily seen. There are several snorkelling sites, from the easiest in shallow waters to the ones with deeper water. For experts it is possible to learn and practice the basics of free diving.
DIVING: Diving sessions underwater require the use of a breathing apparatus. Due to the steep slope of its seafloor, the Ligurean Sea gets quickly deep. Indeed there are several diving sites, starting from superficial diving, within 20 m of depth, where once more we find the deep part of the Posidonia meadows. Here it is possible to admire groupers, the colourful nudibranchs (sea-slugs), moray eels and cuttlefishes. While beyond 20 m of depth where the coral formations are located, we can appreciate colourful Gorgonians and other organisms related to corals, Conger eels, Moray eels and many other species. With a little bit of luck the smallest sharks of the Mediterranean Sea can be seen, the Dogfish. As last there are wreckages sunken in the depths of the Ligurean Sea, for instance the Bettolina sunken vessel dating back at the Second World War and the Haven, enormous oil tanker located in the area of Arenzano (GE), which fascinates Divers from all around the globe.
This offer is addressed to whom has already achieved a diving licence or to whom, thanks to the diving teachers, will attend the basic or advanced course during the stay.
Since 1991 an international agreement was signed between Italy, the Principality of Monaco and France with the purpose of protecting the Sea mammals in the area. The Ligurean Sea is part of this protected area due to the abundant presence of mammals that inhabit its waters. Thus, we offer the chance of excursions on a motor vessel for the Whale Watching activity in this area. During this excursion it is possible to see Dolphins, Whales, Grampus, Curvier’s Beaked Whale and other Cetaceans that are present in the area. With a little bit of luck there is a chance to see Turtles, Moon fish and Manta.
SAILING BOAT EXCURSIONS
We offer the chance to navigate on a vessel where the basics of sailing can be learned as well as active participation in the basic manoeuvres to manage a vessel.
All activities that were mentioned before, will be led by expert guides in the named discipline and also in the knowledge of the territory. This is aimed to guarantee the highest comfort and safety possible for the travellers.
Based on each group’s interest, during breaks, it will be possible to organise meetings with a naturalistic, biological, historical and cultural theme. This will allow to enrich the knowledge of our territory and environments that will be visited.
WHAT WE CAN PROVIDE FOR YOU?
• Technical planning of excursions, certified tour guides and excursion guides.
• Hotel Booking
• Transportation with Van, Minibus and Bus
• Presence of a referral person on the spot
• Eventual logistics and sport gear
• Personal travelling insurance