Liguria is a land enclosed among the mountains and the sea where pristine places are often just around the corner. Thanks to the restoration of the old railway tack in a quite touristy area in the region, the Framura – Levanto cycle path has been set up that can be easily traveled also by families with children or people who don’t love that much climbing. This path for pedestrians and bikes is undoubtedly a very interesting itinerary to discover a glimpse of Liguria in an alternative way!
The old railway track that from Framura reached Levanto, the last village before immersing in the Nature of the Cinque Terre of Liguria, has been recovered for some time and converted into a path for pedestrians and bikes to be used by travelers, tourists but also locals. We have traveled it right last summer and were really impressed with it despite the short distance between the departure of the cycling itinerary and the arrival. The railway section was abandoned since 1970 after the development of the Sestri Levante - La Spezia railway and, after years of works and conversion of the track, was reopened to bicycles and pedestrians in 2010. Leaving from the picturesque small port of Framura with the help of an elevator you can transport your bicycle directly on the cycleway Framura - Levanto running a few meters above sea level. This path for pedestrians and bicycles is divided in three sections: two for bicycles travelling along it in both directions and one, the most panoramic one on the sea, made exclusively for pedestrians.
Sea and galleries
While we were travelling along this short cycling itinerary I tried to figure out to go back in the past, showing up at the station of Framura at the right time, jump on the wagon and enjoy the landscape from the glass of a window: it would have been surely a nice experience, but the privilege of travelling by bike or on foot is right that of stopping where you want to and not only in the stations. The cycle path starts immediately with a gallery, we move on to Bonassola leaving behind dozens of bicycles parked with sea view. An opening in the cold rock allows to look out over the water: a wooden panoramic terrace shows us a glimpse of the landscape of the Ligurian Eastern Riviera... and what a show! The small bay (they call it beach but it’s really tiny!) of Portopidocchio, in summer, is much attended by those leaving behind the city dreariness for a holiday of one or two weeks at the seaside. The access is directly from the Framura - Levanto cycle path through a short wooden staircase. It’s a succession of galleries, breathtaking bird’s eye views and then bicycles again! Parked, abandoned, rushing to the east or to the west, this is really a small reign for bicycles! We have time and want to discover all that surrounds the path for pedestrians and bicycles so, even in front of the sign Fkk Nudist Naturist, we go on! We cross a low, narrow passage appearing just a few steps from the sea, path to the right or to the left? We’re hesitant and take the wrong one: Nature here is the sovereign and we struggle to go beyond the bushes. We decide to go back and go back to the road also because, after all, we didn’t want to bathe naked, ours was only curiosity! We enter another gallery: unlike the ones already met, this is much more open and allows to dream of diving each time the turquoise sea water appears (after, in 2013, Framura was awarded with the “Bandiera blu” (blue flag) and water is really tempting!). With binoculars we look for some snorkeling enthusiasts or some swimmer, but we bum pinto a couple of naturists sun bathing... privacy is privacy so we decide to go on chuckling because of the situation!
The smuggler’s house and Bonassola
Ligurian legends tell the story of smugglers who, knowing the sea very well, managed to hide in the grottos along the coastline and avoid being arrested. Visiting Liguria by bicycle you also realize this: with a telescope or a telephoto it’s not difficult to understand where a hidden cave might be between the sea and the land. We reach a gate that reveals a long climb: the smuggler’s house! They say that, right here below, he hid himself for a long time... Each time it happens to hear about brigands (as in the case of Ghino di Tacco along the senese Via Francigena ), gentlemen thieves or... smugglers, curiosity prevails and I start wondering what maybe it’s impossible to know. We get to Bonassola at lunch time but the beach sand, luckily, is partly free. A quick dive and then it’s mandatory to taste some pieces of focaccia. The cycling itinerary starts again crossing the village before moving again on the sea. A bit more cycling, again stretches in galleries and we can already see Levanto and its half-moon shaped beach in the distance. The Framura - Levanto cycle path continues to offer deserving views without going anymore into dark or lit with artificial light galleries. We reach Levanto in the area of Valle Santa, not far from the suggestive town center.
What to see at Levanto, some tips!
Levanto is the western access gate to the Cinque Terre National Park and it’s really worth spending a few days alternating sea, excursions and cultural visits. Going along all the seafront to the east you’ll meet the itinerary 1 (Levanto - Portovenere) and 14 (Levanto - Colla D. Bagari), following the latter uphill you’ll find yourself in a while at the medieval castle of Levanto enjoying, among the other things, a nice landscape on the town. From the castle then it’s easy to go back till the church of Sant'Andrea of the XIII century and go back to the most commercial street, the station or the cycle path to Framura. If you still have time, ask for a town map at the tourist office and go discovering the ancient gates, the churches and the other historical buildings of Levanto, the typical architecture of the Eastern Ligurian villages and, why not, also the focaccerie and gelaterie. To get further information about the villages crossed by the cycle path and the area of the Cinque Terre and Eastern Liguria you can connect to the official Liguria tourism website
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