Exploring Genoa — Parco delle Mura (Park of the City Walls) (#2) | Travel blog by Rob Crews
This is the second part of my post on exploring the forts above Genoa, in northwest Italy. Here’s the first part.
I got back to the main road and followed it a little further. I knew that I wanted to loop around Fort Sperone to get further into the hills and to see the other forts… but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Luckily I bumped into a couple of dog walkers, one of whom spoke enough English to point me in the right direction.
I skirted along the side of Fort Sperone, still looking for opportunities to get inside — as on the other side, some of the outer walls were pretty low. I found an inviting spot, lifted myself up and swung my legs over.
On the other side was another poo-related mystery — lots of cowpats in an area entirely surrounded by walls. They looked pretty fresh, but I couldn’t fathom how a cow had ever got in there (or got out again). I figured that this must just be the fort of the phantom poos.
Other than that, the area between the fort and the outer wall wasn’t particularly interesting. The fort itself was still impenetrable — the walls towered above me. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was difficult to break my way into a fort…
Realising my efforts weren’t getting me anywhere, I found my way back to a path that seemed to be headed in the right direction. After passing through some trees I broke out into an open area, giving me a clear view of what was ahead — forts on the hilltops in the distance.
The temperature was probably only in the high 20s but without the tree cover, it felt roasting. I knew that the other forts would be worth the trek, so I pushed on.
After a short period of unobstructed views across the hills, I dipped back down into the woods. Although the path wasn’t exactly well trodden, it was pretty easy to follow, with occasional signs pointing me towards the forts further ahead.
Eventually I broke out of the trees for a second time, coming to a road that led up towards the next fort — Fort Puin. It took some walking to get up to the fort itself and, unfortunately, the story was the same as for Fort Sperone — it was all locked up.
After Puin the path was mostly out in the open — a few trees, some low-lying shrubs and dry grass. I could see Fort Diamante looming in the distance, sitting high atop a distant hill.
As I got closer to Diamante, the fort started to look kind of intimidating — two or three stories of gaping window shafts and cracked walls. The hill looked pretty steep… I’d knew I’d be panting by the time I reached the top.
The road up to the fort zig-zagged back and forth, making the ascent a little less steep. I went as quickly as I could, wanting to get to the top and into the shade as quickly as possible.
The effort, I’m glad to say, was certainly worth it — the views from Fort Diamante were the best of the whole day. The rolling hills, stretching far into the distance; a glimpse of Genoa and the coastline behind. I saw down for a while to take it all in.
After a few minutes enjoying the view I noticed a couple of figures making their way up the hill. They were coming from the opposite direction to the way that I’d come (they were coming from the left side of the panorama above — I had come from the right). I didn’t actually know that there were paths on the side that they were coming from, so I was intrigued.
Once they made their way to the top, I headed over to say hello and to ask where they’d come from. They explained (after their dog went nuts barking at me) that they’d come from a train station in a village down the hill. The train station was connected to Genoa by a winding route back along the hills.
This was music to my ears — a route back to Genoa that didn’t involve re-tracing my route. Luckily they were carrying a timetable — the next train back to Genoa was in 25 minutes. If I missed that, there wasn’t another one for nearly two hours. They estimated that it should take me 20 minutes to get down the hill — if I left right away, I’d make it.
Also published on Medium.