This guide is a contribution from G.R. Horn, one of our guests, who has contributed, to make also your stay a pleasant experience.
(Pietralavezzara) Passo della Bocchetta – Pian di Praglia (San Martino di Paravanico)
This walk is a more challenging hike, and for the core section of it alone, from the Passo della Bochetta to Pian di Praglia, you need to count on four hours walking time. Portions of it are almost alpine in terms of the terrain, although you should be doing well with normal good walking shoes. Wait for a clear day to make this walk, as the views are superb and fog could dampen more than your spirits.
To get to the Passo della Bochetta, you first need to make it to Pietralavezzara, the closest bus stop to the pass. Take the train to Pontedecimo first, then take an ALI bus to Pietralavezzara (see Walk No. 1 for the location of the bus stop), though often you will need to change in Campomorone, as direct buses from Pontedecimo to Pietralavezzara are few and far between. But the transfer in Campomorone usually works out well. If the schedule says that you can make it, you can count on it. At least this was the experience of the author of these lines.
From Pietralavezzara (520m) you will first need to climb the three kilometers stretch of country road. The bird song and the sound of burbling brooks will reward you for it! Right at the pass turn left up a rocky track to the west, now following the usual AV marking. The trail becomes rockier once you have bypassed the tallest of the transmission towers near Monte Lecco. The slight decline and subsequent ascent along the northern edge of Monte Taccone is superb, and it feels as if this stretch of trail should be much higher than the 1000m altitude at which it coasts along. The guidebooks claim views all the way to Milan to the north and Corsica to the south, but this writer suspects that such clear days are few and far between. Still, even on a less spectacular day, the views in all directions are superb. You are literally at the top of the Ligurian world! About twenty minutes or so after bypassing the summit of Monte Taccone on its northern slope, the AV makes a very sharp turn to the left. After having mostly headed in a westerly direction from the Passo della Bocchetta, now the trail leads mostly due south. The usually well-marked trail descends for a while, then rising again, only to lead downhill again, followed by another minor ascent. For some time, you will have two artificial lakes to look at down below, tucked into a valley to your right. Depending on the season, you may wish that you would be closer to its shores! Eventually, the trail leads out of the forest onto a paved road (altitude: 900m).
Here you will be faced with a hard choice. About half an hour to the west, first following the road uphill but then gently descending once you have reached the pass, the small community of Praglia lies tucked away on a high plateau. Here the major attraction for the weary hiker is the Trattoria La Chelina . If you wish, you can even stay here overnight. But if you do not want to make this inviting detour to La Chelina at all, turn left where the trail hits the road and head downhill on this very quiet road. As the nearest bus stop is in San Martino di Paravanico (320m), if you do not want to give your hitchhiking luck a try, you will need to gently descend along the road for the final one-and-a-half-to-two-hour stretch of this somewhat strenuous day. But the constant views of the Val Verde and the Val Polcevera, which you will have been enjoying for the better part of the day, will make up for this additional strain. The Santuario Nuestra Signora della Guardia will also have beckoned from a hilltop for quite some time. If you have the same luck as the writer of these lines, then the owner of La Chelina will stop to offer you a ride down into the Val Polcevera, and he will regale you with stories of his trekking adventures on various continents of this planet. From San Martino di Paravanico, a bus goes to Pontedecimo. From there take the train back to Porta Principe in Genova.