HIGH VIA BAIA DEL SOLE
From Albenga, Regione Doria, (directional arrow with trail sign), take the paved road for sale in the Monti Region. Still following the trail marker, after two hairpin bends a walk took place on the cobbled street that leads to the Via Julia Augusta (Roman necropolis) and immediately afterwards take the paved road to the right, going uphill for about 200 meters, always straight ahead, take straight on a wide rocky and steep path that flanks some villas.
On the right, the Albenga plain, its historic center and the Centa river basin can be overlooked.
Going up you will reach a dirt road that you go to the left and, still following the signs, along a dirt road and a path, after a few minutes you come to a clearing with a votive pillar (0.45 h).
(Votive column called "La Madonnetta")
Leaving on the right the route that runs flat, continue in a sparse scrubland of pines punctuated by cistus, heather and strawberry tree.
Path along the main road of the main route of the Alta Via, called "path of the wave" which corresponds completely to the sea to rejoin it immediately after Monte Bignone.
The path now runs just below the ridge, on the side facing inland.
Always on a slight ascent we reach the "bucchin di erxi" (coletto dei lecci) where we cross a path that descends to the Piazzale della''antica Chiesetta di S. Croce di Alassio.
Shortly after we are on Monte Bignone (m.520 - h. 1.30). On the top, they passed by vegetation, there are the remains of some fortifications and the ruins of a barracks dating back to the last conflict.
The view is amazing: it borders on the Ligurian Gulf, you can enjoy the view of Alassio and the whole Albenganese hinterland with its valleys, up to the scenery of the Ligurian Alps still covered with snow until late spring.
Continuing along the path you go along the ridge for a short while then, after a slightly delicate downhill pass, you arrive at the Sella del Bignone, where a high voltage pylon stands out.
Here we cross, on the left, the path that goes up from the hamlet of Solva and from the "path of the wave" variant.
See chapter "connection paths and escape routes" - path no. 1
Now the route is very easy for continuous but modest gradients. Always with a wide view of the Gulf of Alassio, you will touch the summit of Monte Castellaro (516 m) and reach the slopes of Monte Pisciavino. To avoid the summit where a series of antennas and repeaters disfigures the landscape, wanders the mountain to the north-west through a beautiful wood of holm oaks, downy oaks and ca-ponds which, on hot days, brings considerable relief.
(Box of the shepherds)
After a few minutes you will come across a "box", a typical construction-shelter for shepherds still in good condition, and continue until they re-emerge at the sight of the sea, running parallel to the road that leads from Alassio to the Madonna della Guardia.
See chapter "connection paths and escape routes" - path no. 2
beyond it crosses the path that descends into the city passing through Vegliasco and Madonna delle Grazie
Proceeding towards the Sanctuary, it is well visible, one passes next to a repeater, goes back up into the bush and reaches a side entrance on the fence of the Church.
(Sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia)
Next to the Sanctuary is a comfortable picnic area (586 m - 3.15 h).
The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia was built in the 12th century, dating from this period its semicircular apse. It underwent several restorations, enlargements and reconstructions in the 16th and 17th centuries and has no particular architectural interests, but its position, with its splendid view of the sea and the mountains, is by itself an attraction for an excursion. It is the ideal place to rest and refresh.
From the churchyard of the Sanctuary, go down to the large square below, from the mountain side, the path that, with some steps, continues westwards, slightly sloping, until it reaches the intersection of the paved roads coming from Alassio and Caso. A few meters to the left begins the walk that leads to the hamlet of Moglio.
See chapter "connection paths and escape routes" - path no. 3
We instead continue crossing the carriage road and, a few meters north and then left, we go up along the fence of "Villa Gerda" with a steep but short path that leads to the top of a dove hill stands an old ruin called "Torre Pisana" (old windmill dating back to the '600).
The itinerary is followed by a bar-restaurant "La Crocetta" (355 m - 4.00 h).
Now follow the paved strip that leads to San Bernardo, where there are the remains of the seventeenth-century Chie-sect destroyed by the earthquake of 1887.
On the left a pedestrian cobbled street leads to Alassio, in Via Solferino.
See chapter "connection paths and escape routes" - path no. 4
On the right again our path that climbs slightly up to touch Poggio Brea (m.371).
This last section is called the "Green Route", it is equipped with special equipment for gymnastic exercises and a "Adventure Park" (4.45) has arisen.
We now descend on a steep and rocky terrain that leads to a saddle. From this moment on, change the signage that goes from the two reds on the white field, who accompanied us from Albenga, to a rumble in a white field
Follow the dirt road that runs along the ridge above Laigueglia with wide panoramic views of Capo Mele, some sparse maritime pines are surpassed in the vicinity of which are the remains of an old "solitary casel" and a thick pine forest is lined up in "Poggio" ( 5.15).
Descend for a few meters to reach a floor that leads to the right and continues on level ground until it reaches the asphalt. Turn left and follow the road to a dove crossing, go up a few meters, take the asphalt strip to the south, which leads to the small medieval village of Colla Micheri (163 m - 5.45 h).
It is worth the hour to go up again for 5 minutes (marks a straight line with a point)
and stop near an old windmill, in a small clearing where the famous Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl used to come to rest and where his ashes rest.
(Tomb of Thor Heyerdahl)
From this place you can enjoy an incomparable view over the whole "Baia del Sole", from Laigueglia to Alassio, Albenga and the Gallinara island.
The descent on Laigueglia from Colla Micheri retraces its steps for about 200 m, where it meets a trail marker (red road) which partly on a mule track and partly on a paved road, contains in the inhabited area of Laigueglia, Via del Carmine and Piazza De Amicis, about 30 '.
PATHS OF JOINTS AND WAYS OF ESCAPE
The path of the "Alta Via Baia del Sole" can be reached or abandoned in various places, where paths cross paths that reach Alassio or Laigueglia.
1) Path Alassio - Santa Croce - Sella ovest of Monte Bignone
Departure: from the Via Aurelia, at the FS level crossing, at the eastern end of Alassio
Arrival: Sella Ovest of Monte Bignone 450 m.
Route: from the level crossing, follow the road for about 50 meters and take the Via Julia Augusta to the right until you reach the square of the Church of Santa Croce.
Marker: an empty red square
After about 50 m in a westerly direction on a paved road, the panoramic trail begins that climbs up the ridge between the Gulf of Alassio and the basin overlooking the small church of S. Anna ai Monti, reaching the “Sella di Armao” area where the “ Wave Path ".
Trail marker: a full red stamp
Follow the “Raccordo” Alta Via Baia del Sole path to the west for about 20 minutes
Signpost: two white / red horizontal lines
It crosses an uphill path that leads to the Sella Ovest of Monte Bignone in 10 minutes and to the junction with the "Alta Via Baia del Sole".
Markers: two red vertical lines
Height difference m 450 - time 1.45 - Difficulty: E
2) Path Alassio - Madonna delle Grazie - Vegliasco - Sella di Caso
Departure: The entrance to the route is in Piazza della Parrocchiale S. Ambrogio di Alassio.
Arrival: Sella di Caso.
Route: take the road upstream of the square, pass the pedestrian overpass on the railway, briefly follow the Via Adelasia in a westerly direction until you reach the mule track that leads to the Madonna delle Grazie hamlet. Following the trail marker, between small roads and small villas, take the mule track back to the hamlet of Vegliasco; cross it and reach the Sella di Caso, where it crosses the "Alta Via Baia del Sole".
Height difference m. 500 - Difficulty: E - time at 1.45
Trail marker: two full red diamonds
3) Sentiero Alassio - Moglio - Colletto di Moglio
Departure: The entrance to the route is on the small square in front of the municipal cemetery.
Arrival: Colletto di Moglio.
Route: take the mule track which, crossing the road in some places, leads to the Church of the hamlet of Moglio. Cross the whole hamlet and continue on the mule track upstream from the houses to the Colletto di Moglio, where it meets the "Alta Via Baia del Sole".
Height difference m. 450 - Difficulty: E - time at 1.30
Signpost: a red cross
4) Sentiero Alassio - San Bernardo
Departure: The entrance to the route is in via Solferino, in front of the Church of S. Giovanni in via Neghelli, in the western area of Alassio.
Arrival: ruins of the Church of St. Bernardo.
Route: take Via Solferino reaching the mule track which, at first steep and then easier, reaches the ruins of the Church of S. Bernardo, destroyed by the earthquake of the late 1800s, where it crosses the "Alta Via Baia del Sole".
Height difference m. 350 - Difficulty: E - time 1.00 hours
Markers: two horizontal red lines
"WAVE PATH" VARIANT
Leaving the main path shortly after the votive pillar "La Madonnetta" at the height of the signal (directional arrow with signpost), past a few wooden steps, the "Sentiero dell'Onda" runs with a path with short ups and downs, almost always with view of the sea and the Gallinara Island, up to the Alassio Marina.
After about 45 minutes, go up for a few meters to the Sella di Armao area, where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the Gulf of Alassio and Laigueglia, up to Capo Mele.
Here several paths cross. Two descend respectively to the square of S. Croce and to Solva. The other two are uphill: one leads to Monte Bignone (signposted with a red circle on a white field), the other is the junction to rejoin the Alta Via Baia del Sole path (white and red horizontal signpost and to follow).