The Water Way – Between ancient paper mills and streams to the famous Acquasanta spa
Just a stone's throw from the city, between Genoa Voltri and the Acquasanta Spa, you can take a fascinating journey between past and present, ancient paper mills and purifying waters. You can restore both your body and spirit, between sulphurous water baths and a visit to the fantastic sanctuary of Acquasanta, amidst the paintings of painter Lazzaro Tavarone and the wooden crucifix of Anton Maria Maragliano, the great crib artist.
Departure from Voltri
If you are in the city, head for this neighbourhood at the western end. If arriving from outside, leave the A10 motorway at the Genova Prà/Voltri exit. From Piazza Camozzini, you can set off by car to explore the Val Cerusa and discover the core of Fabbriche. In the 19th century, this area - with the narrow, windy valleys of the Leira, Cerusa and Acquasanta streams - hosted the most celebrated paper mills in Italy and Europe.
Continuing along via Acquasanta, you come in sight of the Terme di Genova in the municipality of Mele. Water is always the protagonist thanks to its 11.49 Ph. The town's history is linked to the salubrious waters that flow here, whose therapeutic virtues have been known since ancient times. The most effective treatment using water from the Terme di Genova is balneotherapy. At present, the high sulphur concentration and high pH of the Acquasanta waters are also exploited within the spa for cosmetic purposes.
In the 18th century, the Genoese paper mills of Mele and Val Cerusa became famous for the strength and durability of their paper. In Acquasanta, the building next to the thermal baths is a typical 18th century paper mill converted into a Paper Museum and handmade paper production workshop. This is where the papermaker's trade, which has almost disappeared today, is resumed. In Italy there are five centres, and the Mele Museum is among them. If you are interested in the subject: Museum, Associazione inGE, ProlocoMele and Associazione LeMuse are promoting the 'Andar per Cartiere' itinerary, to discover other ancient paper mills, curiosities and the Oratory of Sant'Antonio Abate which preserves the wooden processional chest sculpted by A.M. Maragliano.
A stone's throw from the Sanctuary
After your body wellness, you can leave the thermal baths and visit the village of Acquasanta with its famous sanctuary of Our Lady of Acquasanta, built on the ruins of a pre-Christian temple dedicated to the nymph Eja. It boasts ancient origins, prior to the first documentary evidence of its existence dating back to 8 May 1465.