It is a destination loved by locals, who, with few stops of funicular and very close to the city centre, can find themselves surrounded by nature and history: we are in the Parco Urbano delle Mura of Genoa (Urban Park of the Walls), to discover the forts of the city.
Before starting your trip, equip your backpacks with packed lunch, plaid, sun cream for children, camera, and do not forget to wear hiking boots or comfortable shoes. And now you are ready, let’s go!
A Bit of History
The defence system of Genoa’s Forts was built between the 18th and the 19th century to protect the city from enemies’ attacks coming from North. It develops along the mountain ridges on the first hills of the city and it is one of the most extended city walls in Europe.
Inside there is the Parco Urbano delle Mura (Urban Park of The Walls), the most extended green area in the city. We are of course in Genoa, a city between the Apennines and the sea, and so the greatest part of the territory is made of narrow valleys, Mediterranean scrub and steep meadows. But nevertheless there are also some flat areas where you can organise a picnic!
How to Get There
There are two main access points using public means of transport: the “Zecca-Righi” funicular, that brings you in few minutes from the city centre (near Via Garibaldi) to Righi, where the climb on foot starts.
Or the Principe-Granarolo gear rack, that, starting from the train station of the same name, arrives in the west side of the Parco Urbano in the Granarolo district. From here, the climb is without any doubt more difficult, but as fascinating.
There are a lot of itineraries that you can walk down to discover the Forts of Genoa; we recommend you two routes, that are our favourite ones. To get to the entrance of the Parco Urbano, you have to take the Zecca-Righi funicular for both itineraries.
Start climbing and at the crossroads near the Osservatorio Astronomico (Astronomical Observatory) keep the right. After having overtaken the old drawbridge, the first castle you will meet is Forte Castellaccio; going on, after a vault, you will see the most famous fort, that until some years ago was used for suggestive theatrical performances during summer: Forte Sperone.
If you take the path on the right and walk along the ridge that divides the two valleys Polcevera and Bisagno, you will reach Forte Puin. Its name comes from an underlying hut called “du Puin”, that in genoese dialect means “of the Godfather”.
Going on, the path will lead you to the Forts of the Two Brothers: from here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city till the Maritime Alps. Go back to the main path, that will lead you to the last fort of this itinerary: Forte Diamante, which stays isolated and majestic. You can watch it only from below, since it is the highest fort (660 m) and maybe you start being tired! To return downstream we suggest you to take via delle Baracche and to reach Trensasco, where you can take the Casella little train: with few stops you will be in the city centre, in Manin, from which you can easily go to piazza De Ferrari on foot or by bus.
If from Forte Sperone you take the left path, you will instead reach Forte Begato, that dominates Val Polcevera, in the west side of the city. From here you will enjoy an amazing panorama of the harbour of Genoa, of the Lanterna and of Mar Ligure. Going on along the path, after a bit of walk you will see another fort with a peculiar form: it is Forte Tenaglia, that unfortunately is closed to the public. To go downstream, we suggest you to take a public means of transport, that is to say the gear track that will take you from Granarolo to Principe, near the train station of the same name.
Whatever Itinerary you will choose, we are sure that you will remain pleasantly surprised by a new side of Genoa, that will allow you to discover its medieval and mysterious nature.