Pian della Cavalla: intoxicating among the daffodils

Beech forests, huge grasslands, loop trails and wide expanses of daffodils.

Welcome to the upper Trebbia Valley! An hour and a half from Genoa, up towards the Emilia-Romagna border, the Antola Natural Park will enchant you with its magnificence… and its surprises. At the height of spring it is a must to organise an excursion to this park, where you will be accompanied by a special guest: the Narcissus.

This flower, as delicate as it is well-known, popular in particular for its name, which recalls the story of Narcissus – the young boy in Greek mythology in love with his own reflection – is the symbol of the Antola Park. Between April and June, when the flowers bloom, an entire expanse of the Ligurian territory is tinged with white: we are talking about Pian della Cavalla.

Whether arriving from the sea in Liguria or from the mountains in neighbouring regions, Pian della Cavalla is a popular destination that can be reached by following various hiking trails. The most popular path is the one taken by young and old: you leave your car in the municipality of Fascia, where a short – but winding – walk also known as the “Sentiero dei Narcisi” (Daffodil Path) begins. In a few minutes, the path will catapult you onto a green carpet full of small white flowers (it is absolutely forbidden to pick them!) ready to be admired and photographed.

Do you love hiking and prefer to work a little harder to reach the flower meadow? In this case, the right option for your is the Loop of Fontanarossa and Pian della Cavalla.

The path starts in the hamlet of Fontanarossa (in the municipality of Gorreto) and in an hour and a half will lead you to the daffodil meadows. Every step to reach this plateau is an emotion that easily takes your mind off the urban chaos, while the breath of the wind carries the scent of daffodils and anticipates the sight of them. After a relaxing break in this concentration of biodiversity, you reach the summit of Monte della Cavalla through numerous groups of beech forests.

From the summit, you return to the plain and – passing through cool, sheltered woods – you will find yourself near a plateau, perhaps an old lake or perhaps a gift of nature. Continue the loop along the panoramic Costa of Fresco to reach the hamlet of Fontanarossa, following a path halfway up the hillside through a cool beech forest. An alternative, equally fragrant and intoxicating, is the path starting from Casa del Romano, which leads to the 1,597-metre-high Antola peak, the park’s nerve centre. Destination of numerous excursions, in past centuries its strategic position has made it an important communication hub between Liguria and other regions.

On its slopes, the valley dwellers gathered medicinal and aromatic herbs, used for folk cures.

From the top of the mountain, on clear days, you can contemplate an immense space: from the Ligurian Sea to the massifs of the north-western Alps of Monviso, Monte Rosa and Monte Bianco. It is a traditional excursion destination when the beautiful narcissus blossoms colour its slopes.