Duration: 1 day
Duration: 1 day
A narrow serpentine road winds its way up through the woods from Cabella Ligure and then loses itself in the mountains of Berga and Campassi. A hike through the green forests of the Apennines begins on the north side of Monte Antola, where the Borbera river has its sources and the fox and hare say good night to each other, on paths that were only used by forest inhabitants a century ago.
There is only space for one car on the narrow street. It winds up in serpentines, it is the only access to Campassi. The church bell bells ring at 10 a.m. A couple of houses. An older man comes out of his house. He sees a foreign car with foreign registration plates. What are we doing here? Hiking: To the old mills (Mulini), to Reneuzzi, Vegni, and back. No, you need two days for this. We are going.
The road goes a little further downhill and becomes even narrower. Two houses, here it ends. We ask the man in the shed where the path is. He doesn’t hear us. The trail is marked with 3 dots and leads downhill. We reach the gorge. The former mill has fallen into disrepair. A small picnic area. We cross the Rio Campassi from stone to stone and take the narrow path on the other side. Always uphill. The air is pleasantly cool and humid. The sweat runs down our back. Desolate uphill through tall grass. At some point, we reach Reneuzzi, no caffè. The place has been deserted for a long time, the houses are gradually collapsing, nature is taking back everything that man has struggled to wrestle from. No street, no human life, that’s how it is today.
A small square with a stone table, an extinguished fireplace. The church is best preserved. No matter how small the settlement is, God is omnipresent. A name in the tiny cemetery, Bellomo, again and again. Margherita’s tombstone on the right, she was only five years old. Her parents in grief. A grave light is on. There is someone who remembers them. On the left, a large tomb by Davide, who died in 1961 at the age of 31. His parents surely in grief. A light also on his grave. Were they two siblings and why did they have to die so early?
The path winds through the forest and meets a few houses from Ferrazza. No one there, but still used. Summer houses obviously.
The route of our hike in the Apennines is now a gravel trail. It leads comfortably along the mountain. From time to time it gives a nice view of the deeply cut valley to Campassi. The path divides, to the left via Casoni and to the right via a steep path to Vegni. We decide on the right trail and after a further climb, we meet a wide forest path that leads downhill to Vegni. A church, houses, a playground. Children’s voices from a house, it’s lunchtime. A few steps outside is the small cemetery, the gate is freshly oiled. There are essentially two surnames.
Past a few donkeys, we now have to go through a fenced area. The path is marked and is getting steeper and steeper down to the Rio Campassi. The path ends at the torrent, we missed the junction. So back until we find the turnoff to Mulino Agneto on the right. The narrow donkey path leads to the mill, from which the large iron mill wheel is still preserved. Every marking ends here and we search in vain for a path. It sucks. Hiking in the Apennines is not always easy. The contour lines on the map show that we have to move in the river valley and so we struggle upstream along the torrent, balancing from one bank to the other on the stones. We support each other when the stone tilts. Lucky, just made it. According to the navigation system, the path to Cà Campassi should now begin on the right bank. Found, finally. Always good to know where you are heading.
A few meters out of the river valley and we meet a small settlement. Four men are chopping firewood. One is chopping and three are watching. A familiar picture. We are greeted warmly, as always in Italy. Where we come from? Oh, gambe buone – strong legs.
We provide a Piedmont authorized Nature Guide that speaks your language. Our guide will accompany you on this hike. He or she will give you interesting details on the way and draws your attention to the special features of the region and the special cuisine. This will give you some insight into the history of the mills and the abandoned village.
– Multi-day tour pre-arranged with guide and meals
– Overnight stays with breakfast and dinner in the Valley of the Borbera
– Tastings of Piedmont wine and cheese
– Private transfers
The hiking tour is organized only for you and your fellow travelers. They are conducted in the language you choose. We have experienced local guides for Italian, English, French. Other languages on request or with an interpreter.
The above price has been calculated for a group of 8 participants on a 4-hour hike. Please let us know the number of participants and special wishes with your request.
Your guide can meet you at Cabella Ligure. We can organize transport to the meeting point and collect you from the endpoint.
The older man sees us. Evio invites us to his house for a coffee. Also, a good opportunity to treat himself to a glass of wine.
We ask about the Bellomo family. Evio knew Davide, a tragic fate. The parents were related to each other, hence the daughter’s early death. The son was also somewhat mentally back. In 1961 his girlfriend wanted to leave him. He took his father’s gun, a revolver that he had brought with him from America, and waited for his girlfriend and shot. He then shot himself. The carabinieri was alarmed and searched for 14 days. The bodies were found in the forest.
In the 1960s, with the motorization and construction of roads, the settlements of Reneuzzi, Ferrazza, and Casoni were abandoned. Photos on the wall with the family, grandchildren, a group of musicians, including Evio and a blonde woman with a bassoon. A German? Yes, she comes every year and plays in Campassi. She performed in Genoa in winter. He shows us the newspaper clipping.
The Germans, yes, soldiers were hunting partisans in Campassi during the war. Carrega Ligure was a stronghold of partisan fighting, the dense forests offer good protection. The soldiers also came to Evio’s small house, where the family of 10 lived. They were afraid that the soldiers would burn the house down. Nobody was allowed to know that they had helped the partisans to escape. Evio had accompanied them and shown them the path when the Germans were already marching in. A partisan took the street, the Germans caught him. The soldier in Evio’s house pulled his wallet out of his pocket. In the broken photo, his wife and two children, a boy and a girl. The soldier cried. Tears in Evio’s eyes, the memory touches him deeply. The Germans carried the war to the remotest village.