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Mount Santa Croce ring from Pieve Alta

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Mount Santa Croce rises behind the Ligurian town of Pieve, 518 metres above sea level.

The excursion that I am going to describe is a circular route that starts from the village of Pieve Alta, arrives at the summit of Monte Santa Croce where the ancient Church of Santa Croce is located, and returns to Pieve Alta via the hamlet of San Bernardo.

Panorama that can be admired along the way ranges from the Portofino Promontory to Capo Berta in the Diano area.

The hike can also be undertaken in reverse but, in my opinion, it is less strenuous and more scenic this way.

Let’s set off!

How to get to Pieve Alta

The nearest motorway exit to Pieve is Genova Nervi.

Continue along the SS1 for 10 kilometres until you reach Pieve Ligure, then take the diversions to Pieve Alta on the left.

Once in the village, there is a car park right at the end of the village.

If it is full, you can leave the village and look for parking on the street (also free here).

Mount Santa Croce ring from Pieve Alta

Technical specifications

  • Departure altitude – 168 m
  • Arrival altitude – 518 mt
  • Length of route – 5 km
  • Height difference – 319 mt
  • Time taken – 2h (2h30 with children)
  • Signposts – From Pieve Alta to Monte Santa Croce: two red squares; from Monte Santa Croce to San Bernardo: line and red dot; from San Bernardo to Pieve Alta: three red dots.
  • Fountains along the route – Yes

Gpx Track

Description of the route

Our excursion to Mount Santa Croce, departing from Pieve Alta, begins from the free car park at the end of the village (passing the imposing village church ).

From Pieve Alta to the summit of Mount Santa Croce

Take the path on the left that climbs among the houses, vegetable gardens and olive groves, and leads onto a paved road.

After about ten minutes of walking, still on a carriage road, you come to the signpost for Mount Croce, on the right.

This is where the hike proper begins.

Mount Santa Croce
Panorama of the coast
the start
Start of the hike
path
Diversions to the right leading to Monte

The path, always well signposted, climbs between pine trees and dry stone walls and alternates between woods and open spaces.

The path is uphill but, for those who are a little trained, it is not particularly strenuous.

Mount Santa Croce
Path marked with two red squares
Mount Santa Croce
Almost at the summit of Mount Santa Croce

Monte and Santa Croce Church

church
Church of Santa Croce

After about an hour’s walk, you reach the summit of Mount Santa Croce where you will find the aforementioned church, a small refuge with a kitchenette, and several tables and benches where you can have a nice picnic.

There are also a few barbecue spots.

Legend has it that some pilgrims hid a relic of the Holy Cross on this mountain, intending to take it back on their return pilgrimage.

On their return, however, they discovered that the keepers of the hospice (erected around 1200 to provide refreshment to passing pilgrims) had exposed it to the veneration of passers-by.

Hence the name of the mountain.

Remodelled several times over the centuries, the Church of Santa Croce has become a place of Marian devotion since 1800.

The façade features a shrine with a statue of the Madonna della Guardia from a palace in the centre of Genoa.

As mentioned earlier, the panorama sweeps from the Riviera di Levante to the Riviera di Ponente, and on a clear day the view reaches as far as Corsica.

Unfortunately, we could only imagine it because as soon as we reached the top, the fog arrived!

Mount Santa Croce
Church, refuge and benches

From the summit of Mount Santa Croce to San Bernardo and Pieve Ligure

Mount Santa Croce
Wonderful view of the coast

The descent from the summit of the mountain is quite demanding for untrained legs, even if you do it quickly.

Take the path in front of the hut that descends rapidly and, in little more than half an hour, arrives on the path that connects San Bernardo to Pieve Alta.

Turn left onto the flat path that passes through small clusters of houses.

As you proceed, the view sweeps from olive groves to beautiful villas by the sea.

One last effort and we reach the village of Pieve Alta, right in front of the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, thus concluding our loop hike.

path
Path connecting San Bernardo to Pieve Alta
pieve alta church
Church of San Michele Arcangelo in Pieve Alta

When to go

The hike to Mount Santa Croce can be planned at any time of year, except perhaps in the middle of the hottest months.

Information with children

The loop hike to Mount Santa Croce can also be undertaken with children, if they are trained and accustomed to trekking.

Along the route, there are no overhanging or particularly dangerous sections, but at some points of the descent, if the child is small , he or she will need to be held by the hand.

It may interest you to know that, just below the village of Pieve Alta, there is a small playground for children.

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