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Path n. 536 to Monesteroli: stairway to heaven

Path 536 (ex 4/d) to Monesteroli of Tramonti is one of the most amazing and spectacular mule track built by the rural-engineers of the Cinque Terre, to reach the vineyards supported by dry stone walls, planted just a few meters off the cliff.
This route, that you may walk in about 50 minutes with a difference of 415 meters, is a branch of path n. 504, which rises from Pegazzano (northern part of La Spezia), passing through Biassa to the San Antonio pass at the high of 508 meters above the sea level where it crosses the Alta Via of the Cinque Terre.

From the church of San Antonio steeply descends along the slope of Tramonti passing through the square where the famous Menhir rises and then on the heights of Pian di Veo. There, on a landing paved of sandstone, the n.504 mule track winds up and a steep staircase forks into n. 536, crossing a thick oak woods.

The Menhir of Tramonti also know as the “Devil’s stone” is the work of the ancient Ligurians and it has a now-lost sacred valence. Facing the Menhir, “Christianized” with an iron cross, are the remains of the “posa” where passing farmers set down the loads they carried on their shoulders for a moment’s rest.When crossing path n. 535 coming from Campiglia, you enter the vineyards and olive threes landscape that degrades gently towards Reboi and then suddenly there is an overlook of the Great Staircase, consisting of two thousand stairs, a cyclopean work of the rural-engineering of the Cinque Terre.

The staircase is entirely built of local sandstone with no cement with blocks of various weight and runs along the slopes down the cliff to the left and the surviving vineyards to the right. At the bottom of the staircase are the tiny cellars, just 40 meters above sea level, rising over a rocky spur, where in ancient times the grapes were harvested by these magically sun-kissed vineyards.

From the small agricultural nucleus, the stairs go down to the small creek just off the Montonaio Rock.

The path n. 536 to Montesteroli is reachable also coming from Campiglia with path n. 535, where is located the fountain of Nozzano built in 1805 by Napoleon’s soldiers camped on the flatter area at Castagni di Nozzano to surveil the coast during the English naval blockade. Until just a few decades ago the women of Biassa and Campiglia came here to do their washing in the fountain’s sandstone basins.

The scenery that you enjoy along this trail is unique and is an emotion to experience before leaving the Cinque Terre National Park.

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