A beautiful hike, which can also be done with children, that from the center of Rapallo, in an estimated 3.8 km and 1h30 minutes-we with our daughters almost 2 hours-leads to Montallegro where, in addition to enjoying an incredible view of the Gulf of Tigullio, you can take a look at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro and have lunch in one of the various restaurants.
Montallegro is also the starting point of several more or less demanding treks with return always to Montallegro or to Rapallo or Chiavari.
In addition to walking, Montallegro can also be reached by funicular and by car. Below is all the information for your excursion to Montallegro with departure from Rapallo.
Montallegro Shrine: a bit of history
The Shrine of Our Lady of Montallegro was built in 1559, following an episode of Marian manifestation; in fact, the shrine is one of the main Marian shrines in the Ligurian territory.
On July 2, 1557, Our Lady revealed herself to a farmer from Coreglia, Giovanni Chichizola, who was on Mount Leto returning from a trip to Genoa, where he had gone to sell his produce. Tired from the journey, Chichizola fell asleep in the shadow of a rock outcrop.
When he woke up, he saw near a spring of very fresh water, a “Tavolina,” on which was depicted the Transit of Holy Mary: the people of Rapallo interpreted this event as the Virgin’s decision to stop permanently on the mountain overlooking Rapallo, called from that moment Monte Allegro.
In 1739 the Virgin, by then a figure of reference for the Rapallo community, became patron saint of the city: in fact, several miracles are attributed to her, including the liberation of the village from the plague in 1600 and from cholera in the 19th century.
To celebrate Her, every year in July-the first 3 days of the month-a patronal feast with spectacular fireworks is organized.
Over the years the Montallegro Shrine has undergone several expansions and modifications, most recently in 1994 when the pre-existing slate and marble churchyard was replaced.
The Tavolina or Byzantine art picture is, to this day, still visible inside the sanctuary.
Excursion from Rapallo to Montallegro: route
Whether you are in a couple or with children in tow, the hike to the Sanctuary of Montallegro is a must-do trip!
The trail is easy, with no exposed sections, suitable even for young children but all uphill so you need to be a little bit trained.
Starting point is the Church of San Francesco where the ancient mule track built in ancient times for the passage of beasts of burden begins. The marker to follow is two red crosses.
Along the way, there are a variety of signs indicating points of historical or nartural interest, such as the “neviera,” or a well where the snow that fell in winter was piled up to be used in the summer, in the form of ice cubes.
As you climb, small stops are mandatory, necessary to catch your breath but also to observe the view of Portofino and the Ligurian Sea and take beautiful souvenir photos.
The trail is 3850km long with an elevation gain of 610m and an estimated time of about 1h30, and leads to the driveway of the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Montallegro on the summit of Mount Leto.
As mentioned earlier, the trail is wide and there are no exposed sections, but you need to start a tiny bit trained and with appropriate hiking clothing.
Once there, you will be able to fill your water bottle in the drinking fountain present on the left side of the Sanctuary. To the left of the steps leading up to the Sanctuary you can also find restrooms.
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Excursion from Rapallo to Montallegro: where to eat
Near the Montallegro Sanctuary there are two restaurants where you can enjoy excellent Ligurian cuisine, namely the Casa del Pellegrino and the slightly more elegant Hotel Ristorante Montallegro, with a splendid terrace overlooking the Gulf of Tigullio.
At the cable car arrival station, on the other hand, there is a bar where you can have an ice cream under a fragrant wisteria pergola (in fine weather).
Excursions departing from Montallegro
Montallegro is the starting point for many hikes: the trails, all well-marked and marked with trail markers, begin behind the Montallegro Shrine on the left.
List of treks that depart from the Montallegro Shrine
Montallegro – Chichizola Trail – Crocetta Pass – Margherita Refuge on Mt. Pegge
Wonderful flat trek up to the Crocetta Pass and steeply uphill in the last section, arriving on Mount Pegge where the Margherita Hut is located.
The first part is suitable for even the youngest – 3/4 year olds – the final part, on the other hand, for very trained children of that age or slightly older children.
The entire tour is approximately 8km long. From the summit there is a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Rapallo. Continue reading…
Montallegro – Chichizola Trail – Crocetta Pass – Rapallo
For a description of the trail to Crocetta Pass, see the hike above.
When you reach the small chapel at Crocetta Pass, you have to cross the paved road and take the flat path to the left – trail marker 3 red dots.
You continue on a small path surrounded by vegetation that rejoins the path that descends from Mount Pegge – the marker becomes a crossed-out red circle.
You pass the two stone ruins in Pian dei Merli and continue on a level path that after a short while becomes a descent and enters a chestnut forest.
From here it takes about half an hour to reach the locality of Madonna Nera and take the mule track that, between cottages and cultivated strips, arrives at the small church of Sant’Agostino. The last piece is a steep asphalt road that leads near the Rapallo train station.
The entire tour is 8.5km long and is suitable for trained adults and children.
Montallegro – Chiavari
This hike is also well-marked and very scenic, with glimpses of the Portofino promontory, and starts behind the Sanctuary on the path to the right (the middle one leads to Monte Rosa and the one to the left to Passo della Crocetta)-marked two empty squares.
The trail is about 8km long and starts with slight ups and downs and then descends toward Chiavari in the hamlet of Sampierdicanne. From here you can reach the train station (another half-hour walk) or return by bus.
Excursion from Rapallo to Montallegro: Montallegro – Mount Rosa
Mt. Rose is about a ten-minute walk from the Montallegro Shrine and in itself offers little in the way of attractions except the chance to see the 14 Stations of the Cross that wind along the zig-zag path to the summit.
This path also begins behind the shrine and is well marked.
From the trailhead, around the corner, there are tables where you can have a picnic.
How to get to Montallegro by cable car or car and where to park
Getting to the Montallegro Sanctuary is easy, and the possible alternatives are on foot, by car, and by cable car.
Getting to Montallegro by car
The highway exit is Rapallo: you reach the center and from there follow the signs to the Sanctuary. The road, built in 1932, winds through greenery for about 10km (it certainly takes less with the funicular); once you reach the top, you can leave your car in the many free roadside parking lots.
Getting to Montallegro by cable car
For a child and for those who want to admire the fabulous view from the windows, the cable car ride is definitely more exciting! The Montallegro cable car is located in Piazzale Solari and, in just 7 minutes, covers an elevation gain of 600m.
Montallegro cable car timetable
Departures are every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and during busy periods, a run is guaranteed every 15 minutes.
Cost of the Montallegro cable car ticket
Ordinary ticket – 7.00€ single ride, 10.00€ round trip.
Reduced ticket (children, students and military) – 5.50€ single ride, 7.00€ round trip.
To board bicycle – 2.00€.
Discounts are available for Montallegro workers, Rapallo residents and groups.
Excursion from Rapallo to Montallegro: where to park your car in Rapallo
The cable car station in Rapallo, has a very small free parking reserved for customers. Otherwise, to park your car for free, you can go to Betti Street: the parking spaces on the first level are free while on the second level they are hourly disc (2h).
Where to sleep near the Shrine of Montallegro
Re dream luxury Rapallo themed suites – In San Maurizio del Monte, there is this fantastic bed & breakfast located in the green with very special themed rooms, garden and pool. Great breakfast included. Book here.
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