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Trekking the Italian Riviera

Campiglia, Schiara, Cantun: wild places near 5 Terre
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Among the Cinque Terre and Portovenere, there are only a few paths that allow you to reach the sea (outside the well-known fishing villages). And while the staircase of Monesteroli is quite famous, the wonderful itineraries from Campiglia to Schiara and the beach of Persico are very little beaten. Here we describe the trekking from Campiglia to Schiara, with an adventurous detour to the deserted beach of the Cantoni, or the Cantun - an almost Mexican name for a wild stretch of coast between Riomaggiore and Portovenere.

Panorama from Campiglia
Houses and fields of Campiglia, and the panorama over the sea
Campiglia is a picturesque village perched at 400 meters altitude, with panoramic sea view, and about halfway between the easternmost town of the Cinque Terre and Portovenere. Campiglia is crossed by several paths. The best known itinerary is precisely the Alta Via delle Cinque Terre (AV5T) with the stretch from Riomaggiore to Portovenere, explained at this link, with a description of the staircase to Monesteroli. On the other hand, the 535 path combined with the 504 (or with 504c) leads from Campiglia to Schiaretta and Schiara.
The houses of Schiara, Cinque Terre
The houses of Schiara, sloping down to the Ligurian sea
From the small church of Campiglia, you go westward to take, between the houses, the trail 535, on a slight descent. You proceed in stretches of woodland alternating with some terraced fields (note the many stone walls); in the middle of the woods, a detour descends quite steeply. You can follow it until you arrive in sight of the beautiful houses of Schiara and then walk among the vineyards of Schiaretta. The picturesque houses alternate with the fields. You will meet few people, and a few cats.
The houses of Schiara, Cinque Terre
A cat in Schiara and the tiny little Church of the village

Proceeding on comfortable alleys and stone stairways - comfortable for walking, but certainly not to work the fields in these hard and wonderful places - the view over the sea gets better and better. The panoramas show the eastern coast of Liguria up to the island of Tino.
Stairway overlooking the sea of Schiara
Stairway overlooking the sea of Schiara
The last stretch, more and more steep, allows you to get to the sea, where stands a group of houses, once used by fishermen and today mostly in ruins (but the intact ones are still employed by some lucky holidaymakers). The sea here is often very clear.
The houses on the sea of Schiara
The houses on the sea of Schiara
Arrived at the sea, you can only climb back! To do this, one must necessarily use the same path - or, better, the same staircase - to the church of Schiara. Here you can take the path to the beach of the Cantoni. The trail to Cantun passes next to the small chapel (sea side) and continues high along the coast, with some narrow passages.

Beach of Cantun, near Schiara, Cinque Terre
The beach of Cantun viewed from the path
After walking on some narrow steps of stone, with a bit scary passages, the last stretch of descent is the most precipitous and requires some attention.
Beach of Cantun, near Schiara, Cinque Terre
The last difficult passage to the beach of the Cantun
In front of the beach you can see from the sea the big Scoglio Ferale (Scoglio means rock), with the cross on top. The return takes place for the same path to the chapel of Schiara, from where you can return to Campiglia via the same route of the outward, or continue high along the coast to the east.

This path in the woods, which sometimes passes alongside old dry stone walls, offers beautiful views, but it is sketchy in some parts. However, thanks to this path, you can join the staircase that from Campiglia descends to Persico.
Stairway between Persico and Campiglia
The upper part of the staircase between the beach of Persico and Campiglia
From here you can then descend to the beach of Persico, but it is obviously another long staircase to the sea from which then you must inevitably ascend to the 400 meters of altitude of Campiglia. So it's probably best to postpone this trip to another day! In all, the route taken (Campiglia - Sea of Schiara - Chapel of Schiara - Beach of Cantun - Campiglia) can take about 4 hours, to which you have to add at least another hour if you go down also to the beach of Persico.
Have a cool trip!!
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