The excursion to the Forts is a great classic for those who live in Genoa because it is a trek that can be done in all seasons, it is within walking distance of the city centre, and it is perfect to do with children as you can modulate the route according to your preparation and the age of the child.
All this while immersing yourself in nature but with a fabulous view of the sea.
Excursion to the Forts of Genoa is a circular trip along the ancient forts that rise behind the city.
The forts encountered along the route are Forte Sperone, Forte Puin, Fratello Minore and Forte Diamante.
The same loop itinerary can also be followed starting from Trensasco, a hamlet of Sant’Olcese, which can be reached by car or with the Genoa-Casella train, via the Campi stop.
In this case, the first fort you encounter is the Diamante.
As we said earlier, the route is modular because you can walk it starting from different points depending on how far you want to walk.
We usually start the walk from the Righi car park but if you want to shorten it a little, you can continue a little by car and park it at the Cancello dell’Avvocato, arriving at Forte Sperone in about a quarter of an hour (you save about 500 m).
Below you will find all the information you need to organise your trip to the Genoa Forts, even with children in tow.
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Trekking in Genoa: trip to the Forts of Genoa. A bit of history of the Genoa Forts
The Forts were built between the 18th and 19th centuries to defend Genoa from attacks by the Savoy.
The forts are what remains of the Mura Nuove (hence Parco delle Mura), Genoa’s seventh city wall built at the turn of the 1630s, about 20 kilometres long, which made the walls of Genoa one of the most important defence systems in Europe and appear to be second in length only to the Great Wall of China.
Since 2008, the park has protected 617 hectares of hills straddling the Bisagno and Polcevera valleys, the city’s main valleys. This area is home to a number of animal and plant species that are protected because they are rare or endemic.
How to reach the Genoa Forts
From the city centre, you can take the Zecca-Righi funicular railway, which leaves from Largo Zecca and ends at the Mura delle Chiappe terminus; at this point turn left and take the uphill road leading to the Righi Astronomical Observatory.
Here, on the opposite side of the Observatory, take a minute to observe the magnificent panorama of Genoa and its port from the Righi Belvedere.
Then continue along Via del Peralto, pass theOstaia du Richetto, the Righi car park and there you will find the path on the right that will lead you to the tour of the Forts.
The exit of the funicular is 1.5 km from the start of the trail.
From Piazza Manin, you can take the Trenino di Genova-Casella train and start your trek from Trensasco ( Campi stop), via Forte Diamante.
From the Genova-est exit, it is about a 25-minute drive to the Righi car park. Parking is free.
Trip to the forts of Genoa
Height difference approx. 400m
Minimum altitude 403m
Maximum altitude 667m
Walking time approx. 4h30
Park your car in the Righi car park and take the path to the right that leads to the Ostaia de Baracche.
The path, which is very wide and can be easily walked even by children, begins with a steep ascent and then, near Forte Sperone (which we ignore at the moment), descends slightly and then ascends again: this stretch leading to the Osteria is 1km 200m long and can be covered in approximately half an hour.
Past the Osteria delle Baracche, you will find the sign indicating the Sentiero delle Farfalle (Butterfly Path): you must take it to reach Forte Puin.
Forte Puin was built in 1815 by the Savoys to fill the ‘gap’ between Forte Sperone and Forte Diamante, in order to provide greater protection for the town. Like the others, it cannot be visited.
It is the smallest of the forts in Genoa and the best preserved.
➥ Update March 2023 – The fort houses an association that manages it and opens it every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Inside you will find information on the structure and various photos.
To visit Fort Sperone, however, you have to go back a few hundred metres and turn your back on Fort Puin.
Fort Sperone is the most imposing of the Genoese forts. It has an angular bastion shape whose tip overlooks the Valpolcevera and Val Bisagno.
It is a large complex built on three levels and protected by a moat. Built in 1300, it was restored several times and in 1600 was included in the Mura Nuove (New Walls).
Forte Fratello Minore
Continuing from Fort Puin we come to a deviation between two paths: the one on the left leads to Fratello Minore and the one on the right to Forte Diamante.
We generally go first to the Fratello Minore and then, if the girls are not particularly tired, continue on to the Forte Diamante, otherwise from the Fratello Minore we go back along the same path.
From Forte Puin to Forte Minore it is about a half-hour walk (1km and 500m). The path continues through vegetation, slightly uphill and without any exposed sections.
Forte Fratello Minore is built on Monte Spino and overlooks the Valpolcevera. It was built in 1815 together with Fratello Maggiore on the nearby hill.
At the end of the 1800s both forts were abandoned and between 1930 and 1937 the Fratello Maggiore Fort was destroyed. Today, only the remains of the Fratello Minore remain.
We often see hikers venturing into the ruins but we and the girls preferred not to enter.
Trekking in Genoa: trip to the Forts of Genoa. Diamond Fort
The Diamond Fort is striking both for its grandeur and for the panoramic position in which it is located. It stands on a rise at 667 metres above sea level overlooking the Polcevera Valley on one side and the Bisagno Valley on the other, with an open view of the city, the surrounding hills and the coast, the view reaching as far as Portofino on a clear day.
Its name comes from the mountain on which it stands. It is characterised by a pentagonal embankment inside which is the former three-storey barracks.
Forte Diamante is also abandoned and the condition of the structure does not allow access to it.
The path to the summit is a little less than a kilometre long but climbs steeply, with children count on at least half an hour to forty minutes.
On the way back, you can take the path that starts behind Forte Diamante and descends to Trensasco and from there take the flat path that leads to the Righi car park in 4.5 km, thus completing a ring-route.
Otherwise, if you wish to save a little time and a few hundred metres, you can descend from the Diamante by retracing the zig-zag path of the outward journey and reconnect with the level path that starts at Trensasco and leads to the Righi car park in 3 km.
Where to eat
When we go trekking in the mountains, we always bring a sack lunch (except when there is perhaps a nice refuge once we get to the top) because we like to have lunch sitting on the meadows amidst the flowers and butterflies (which are numerous in this area), and then with the girls we are freer to stop on the fly when they are hungry.
For those who instead want to have a bite to eat sitting at a table, we recommend:
Ostaia de Baracche – Simple tavern with traditional dishes (the smell of fried food can be smelled from a kilometre away, price perhaps slightly above average for the type of place).
Ostaia du Richetto – Sandwiches, aperitifs and (packaged) ice cream for lunch, and restaurant with good Genoese dishes (pesto is excellent) for dinner.
Ristorante Montallegro – At the Zecca-Righi funicular exit, fabulous location and exceptional pizzas (we never tried the cuisine).
On the Trensasco side, Osteria della Rue – Ligurian and fish dishes.