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Meadows, Waterfalls and a Ghost Lake: the Prati Casalini in Genoa

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Many people will be familiar with Prati Casalini on the heights of Genoa, a pleasant place to organise a nice picnic in company.

But perhaps not everyone knows why it is called Lake Ghost.

In this article, we take you on a discovery tour of Prati Casalini, with an explanation of how to get there and how to find the Geirato Waterfalls, and some advice if you have children with you.

Let’s start!

History of Prati Casalini: the Ghost Lake

Prati Casalini (or Prato Casarile) are a large, flat, grassy expanse of 45,000 square metres.

In ancient times, a landslide clogged the bed of the Geirato stream, forming a lake that, over time, filled with debris.

On its descent towards the Bisagno stream, the Geirato disappears under the debris (below Prati Casalini) and reappears about a hundred metres downstream, near the Acquedotto bridge.

In the event of heavy rainfall, the great flow of the Geirato flows over the Prati, which, being closed on the south side, fills up to form a real lake.

We speak, therefore, of a sort of ghost lake that appears and disappears depending on the intensity of the rain, certainly very suggestive to see.

Approximately 25 years ago, consolidation work was carried out because the immense flood wave overflowing from the lake into the Bisagno torrent was a concomitant cause of the great flood of 1970, which caused extensive damage to the city.

The lake could reach considerable depths, even 2 or 3 metres in some places.

Today, it is very difficult to see this charming ghost lake in its full extent, but one can go to Prati Casalini to relax and have a nice picnic in nature.

Getting to the Prati is not complicated but it is necessary to walk a path through the forest of just under two kilometres.

Once there, with a very short walk, you can also admire the Geirato Waterfalls.

Prati Casalini Genova how to get there

To get to Prati Casalini, in the upper Molassana district, you must drive along the Val Bisagno (in the direction of Prato), and take via San Felice.

You get as far as Cartagenova and look for parking on the side of the road (we had to turn back about 800 metres because there was no space).

The alternative, if you do not want to arrive by car, is to take bus No 477 and get off at the terminus.

Technical specifications of the walk

Departure altitude – 214 mt approx

Arrival altitude – about 259 m at Prati Casalini

Length of route – approx. 5 km (including the short trek to the waterfalls)

Height difference –150 mt approx

Walking time – Outward journey 40 minutes, return journey 30 minutes.

Recommended period – Autumn and spring

Route

cartagenova

Once you have parked your car, you take via Cartagenova, a little path that winds its way between houses and vegetable gardens.

I really like the district of Molassana Alta because it is in the middle of the countryside, only a few minutes away from the city traffic.

Having taken, as we were saying, via Cartagenova, we pass an enclosure with chickens, two wash-houses, and another enclosure with baby goats.

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path
prati casalini

Continuing between olive trees and dry-stone walls, with a view of the imposing Forte Diamante opening up on the left, you quickly leave the town and enter the bush.

You soon reach the Fosso del Rio, which forms a small waterfall upstream.

We wade through it without any particular problems and climb back up into the forest.

forte diamante
prati casalini
rio del fosso

Along the way, there are a couple of wooden signs indicating the direction to take to reach the Prati Casalini.

You pass the ruins of a large dwelling and, a little further on, another small ruin.

At this point, ignore that sort of stone bridge on your left, which descends to the Geirato, and continue straight ahead.

Another hundred metres or so, and you will have arrived at Prati Casalini.

ruin
prati casalini

Prati Casalini

prati casalini

Prati Casalini are a large grassy expanse enclosed in a natural amphitheatre of mountains.

The Meadows are one of the destinations of Genoese families on spring days as you can spread out your tarp, have a picnic, and the children can run around without danger.

How to get to the Geirato Stream Waterfalls

geirato

Just behind the sign ‘Prati Casalini’, you will find a small path that leads into the forest.

Follow it for about 300 metres to the stony bed of the Geirato stream.

In a few minutes, you will be in the presence of a beautiful little waterfall that descends, in several jumps, from a rocky crag. These are the so-called Geirato waterfalls.

To return to the car, we walk back along the outward path.

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To Prati Casalini with children

The path to Prati Casalini does not present any particular difficulties or a significant difference in altitude, so it is also suitable for children who are not particularly fit.

In the initial section, the path narrows at one point and has no side protection, so if the child is small, he or she will have to be held by the hand.

I recommend a good pair of sneakers; if it has just rained you may find mud.

Prati Casalini Genova: Conclusions

The outing to Prati Casalini is a beautiful one, even with children, with arrival at a large meadow where you can spread out your tarp and spend half a day in the green.

Last consideration: since the meadow is beaten by wild animals, I recommend doing a quick check for ticks and putting your clothes in the washing machine because we found quite a few on ourselves.

Nothing to worry about as, since we often go to the mountains, we are now experienced in removing them with tweezers.

For first-timers, however, you might be interested in reading How to behave after a tick bite.

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