Itineraries and trekking
February 27, 2021
Today's excursion will take us ten minutes from the flats of our farmholidays, towards the church of San Matteo in Pairola. It will be an opportunity to get to know new routes from which to admire views little frequented by mass tourism.
As you know, we like to offer you new glimpses of our beloved West Liguria, from which you can draw not just postcards, but vivid experiences to remember. Let's start!
We find ourselves in the car park of the church of San Bartolomeo al Mare and of the Oratory of San Michele Arcangelo. From here we cross Piazza G. Verdi and via Cà de Conti until we reach the beginning of via Viali, the road that will lead us out of the municipality of San Bartolomeo al Mare.
We find an asphalted stretch which, as we move away from the houses, becomes a dirt road. We pass alongside fenced-in vegetable gardens and pass under the bridges of the motorway, near a votive shrine.
We continue along via Viali until we reach the end of the road, almost at the crossroads with the provincial road SP34 (via Pairola).
We go up this street which leads towards the hamlet of Pairola until we meet, on the left, a playground.
We take advantage of a bench to rest for a while. After a few minutes, we resume our route and enter Pairola, finding ourselves right in front of the parish church of the Madonna della Neve.
Here we find a very useful sign which illustrates our route. We head to the right of the entrance of the church, where we find a narrow alley, Via Garibaldi, which enters the village. Walking between houses and gardens, we come to a bumpy climb culminating in the Salita Ciosa, the highest part of the village.
This small road then connects to Via Costa, running through the entire upper part of the village, from which you can admire the bell tower of the church. We continue along this street until we reach the junction with Via Garibaldi, which we have already met previously. After a few dozen metres we take via degli Alpini, which runs along the eastern side of Pairola and opens out along the entire slope of Val Steria.
Also here, after a first asphalted stretch, we see the road turning into a country path, descending downwards and reaching a stony road, similar to an ancient mule track.
A humble wooden cross and a votive pillar with traces of ancient frescoes stand out along our route, perhaps to mark an ex-voto, or simply to indicate that beyond the steep descent, on the right, is our destination.
After a few metres, the view through the olive groves opens up and we finally see the country church of San Matteo in the distance. A few more bends and we find ourselves crossing an old bridge of Roman origin, but whose current evidence dates back to the Middle Ages.
Near the torrent, instead, we notice the presence of ancient basins for the collection of water. The landscape along the road to the church of San Matteo, among strips of land and olive trees, is really luxuriant.
When we finally reach our destination, one of the most characteristic religious buildings in Val Steria, we rest on one of the nearby benches. Only after having fully enjoyed this enchanting atmosphere we decide to go back along the road we have already taken.
Another possibility would be to take the provincial road 34, which leads from the bottom of the valley to Villa Faraldi and its hamlets. An idea for next time!
Video showing the stream flowing under the old medieval bridge and the landscape along the paths in the hamlet of Pairola, among strips and olive groves
Duration of excursion: about 2 hours
Trail length: about 8 km
Clothing: depends on the season, but certainly comfortable and not heavy; trekking shoes
Difficulty: minimal, with a few short climbs
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