Itineraries05 November 2019

From Ciaixe to the gullies of Terre Bianche [Video]

A chosen part of Alta Via, panoramic itinerary, in the Mediterranean scrub and with an final surprise: the fairy-tale gullies of Terre Bianche.

Calanche Terre Bianche, credit youtube

Calanche Terre Bianche, credit youtube

The chapel of the Madonna della Neve

We leave the car near the Chapel of the Madonna della Neve of Ciaixe (for the non-Ligurians: the pronunciation is similar to Ciàije, in dialect it means plateau), a little pink church hidden by cypress trees on the edge of a nice olive grove. Curiosity: the sanctuary was founded on 8 September 1436, at least according to a plaque of which, however, there is no longer a trace. It is said that, on a snowy day, a hunter in search of his prey in the undergrowth, found a statue of the Madonna and gave it to the community, which erected a chapel in the place of the discovery. The statuette was placed on the altar.

We take the dirt road that skims the chapel on the left and we neglect the crossroads on both sides following the signpost AV: this is the Alta Via that comes from Ventimiglia and goes in the direction of Dolceacqua.

The Alta Via and the Baraccone mountain

We continue on the beautiful sunny path halfway up the Val Roia, up and down between sparse pines and Mediterranean scrub. We are surrounded by flowering rosemary with lots of buzzing bees (and it's late December!). After ten minutes we leave to the right a branch that leads to a rest area within the framework of the biodiversity ecomuseum project (on the way back maybe we increase the animal species on the benches ...). Another twenty minutes and we reach a panoramic collar. We take the path to the right uphill and shortly after, at the crossroads, we divide. Or rather two different philosophies are divided. Some prefer always and in any case to climb the peaks from which the panorama is dominated, while others are more attracted by natural phenomena. So while, abandoning the AV, the first take the climb to the right that in a quarter of an hour will take them to the cippus of the mountain Baraccone to enjoy the panoramic view on the Roia and Nervia valleys, others embark on the steep descent to the left ( lucky those who have the sticks) but still short.

The gullies of Terre Bianche

At the bottom, the gullies of Terre Bianche are waiting for us, on the edge of an ancient vineyard. These are white spiers eroded in a suggestive manner. A fairytale show ... and no one around! I'm photographing the gullies from various angles leaning to the limit of suicide, when a mountain bike guy arrives who comments on the lack of railings and indications of any kind. "In these parts we don't know how to enhance our beauties!" I try to console him by telling him about the gullies of Castel d’Appio, three times these, but only visible from the top by a hidden and half-enclosed path ...

Contrary: Just beyond the gullies, comes a driveway (deserted); some carelessness in the surroundings.

Judit Neuberger

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