We saddle up at San Terenzo, a small village of sea and poetry, and pedal easily to Lerici along a path that inspired writers and romantic poets such as Byron and Shelley. From the sea emerges a breathtaking panorama on the opposing headland of the Poet’s Gulf, with Porto Venere and its islets, which sweeps to the left where rise villas with an aristocratic past and olive groves dotting the steep slopes.
Extra virgin olive oil, here as in the entire area, is one of the its main products together with wine. But it is from the sea that comes the product to which the town of Lerici has decided to pay homage at the end of every summer with a festival featuring food sampling, traditions, recipes and meetings. We are speaking of the Mytiliade, the annual festival dedicated to mussels which are the real treasure of the gulf, with offshore mussel farms in different areas.
On leaving Lerici we go up towards the Belvedere and immediately come to the crossroads to Tellaro.
We reach the end of our bike tour continuing uphill, but the view is certainly worth the effort. Tellaro, which rises on the rocks jutting into the sea, is on the list of Italy’s most beautiful villages. Among the enchanting views we cannot overlook the church surrounded by the sea, an edifice connected to a legend of centuries ago: an enormous octopus seized the church’s bell ropes and warned the population of the arrival of the Saracens. And the octopus is at the centre of the festival that enlivens the town’s evenings. Returning to the main trail, we come to the crossroads that leads to Montemarcello, another village on the list of Italy’s most beautiful villages. Situated at the end of the Caprione promontory, the town is splendidly conserved and a stroll through its narrow streets gives the impression of being part of a painting by a naive artist. In the surrounding area nature is the leading feature with the uncontaminated coves of Punta Corvo and the botanical garden of the Montemarcello-Magra Nature Park.
Immersed in greenery, we begin our descent towards Bocca di Magra. At a certain point the panorama opens up as if seen through a window overlooking the mouth of the river and the Apuan Alps, jagged and mysterious. Continuing along provincial road 30, we approach Ameglia, a town of Roman origins which reached its peak in the High Middle Ages and which today appears as a small, precious jewel. After crossing the Magra, on the left bank we come to Fiumaretta, prevalently a seaside resort, and after another two kilometres we come to the end of our bike tour at Marinella di Sarzana, with its important plantation.