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Campiglia and Tramonti
Incredible sceneries overlooking the sea:
La Spezia is a town comprising of several small villages, most notably Campiglia and Tramonti, which stand out for both their landscapes and location. Both sites are located in a strategic position, allowing easy access to some of the most beautiful and popular sights in the area: Portovenere and Cinque Terre.
At 400 metres above sea level, Campiglia is the highest village in La Spezia, located on the hilly ridge that encloses the town’s western gulf. Situated next to the area that forms part of the Cinque Terre National Park, Campiglia offers panoramic views that span beyond the eastern part of the gulf, all the way to the Apuan Alps.
The village is connected through many paths and trails to the Persico and Navone areas, part of the town of Tramonti, and is crossed by trail number 1 (“Alta Via delle Cinque Terre”) that connects Portovenere to Levanto. The village is a strategic stopping point for hikers; Campiglia offers several places for visitors to rest and enjoy local delicacies, or stay overnight. For those wishing to reach the area by car, take the road from La Spezia to Portovenere and reach Acquasanta; turn right at the junction and continue on a long paved road for around 6km, before arriving in Campiglia.
Campiglia is thought to be a pre-Roman settlement, as suggested by the Latin origin of its name (Campilia), which means ‘arable land owned by the community’.
Campiglia’s archaeological remains are located in the neighbouring area of Castellana, while remains of its megaliths are preserved at Mount Madonna, in the adjoining Biassa Tramonti area.
The church of St. Catherine (Santa Caterina), the patron saint of the village, is located in the main square and houses several notable features; historical records date it back to 1326.
The church is the result of many changes made at different times, and its present structure dates back to around the 18th century. The church’s most prestigious item is a 17th century painting attributed to Carpenino, which depicts the Annunciation of St. Catherine with St. John the Baptist and St. Martin. Particularly exquisite is the craftsmanship of the two black and gold marble columns and marble capitals placed in the back of the main altar.
Tramonti, part of La Spezia, is located on the crest of the hill that, from the west boundary of the ‘Gulf of Poets’, reaches down to the sea; wedging itself between the territories of Riomaggiore and Portovenere, it is the area of La Spezia that most directly faces the open sea.
Tramonti is not a place in its own right, but the name given to the area; this stretch of coastline stretches for around 7km and is divided into four sections spanning from east to west: Persico, Schiara, Monesteroli and Fossola. These sections are also named after clusters of houses; Schiara and Fossola are the closest to being small hamlets, as demonstrated by their two churches, one dedicated to St. Anthony and the other to the Guardian Angels. Both are still very important today, and local residents celebrate St. Anthony and the Guardian Angels every year on 13th June and 2nd October respectively.
The landscape that can be viewed from this area is particularly striking; on a clear day, you can look out over the coast to the Tuscan Archipelago, and even see islands such as Capraia, Gorgona, Elba and Corsica. Looking west and following the curve of the Ligurian coast, you can see the Maritime Alps with their snow-capped peaks and the French border.
Those visiting Tramonti can reach it by following these directions: drive along the coastal road (state road 370), go through the Biassa tunnel, turn left onto the limited-traffic dirt road, and reach Fossola; alternatively, get to Campiglia and then follow the steps through breathtaking scenery to reach Persico beach.
To reach the areas of Schiara and Monesteroli, you will need to reach Telegrafo on the heights of Biassa, where you will find the Cinque Terre National Park visitor centre. Drive west along path number 1, through a forest of pine and chestnut trees, going as far as the Chapel of St. Anthony; take path 4 first, then path 4/b (Schiara) or 4/d (Monesteroli), which will lead you to your destination.