The region of Liguria is best known for its stunning coastline and colorful villages stacked up against the rocky cliffs such as those of the Cinque Terre. Few visitors realize that just an hour or so away from the coast, an entirely different Liguria awaits. Today, we’re venturing into the Antola Regional Park almost to the Piedmont border and exploring Lake Brugneto (pronounced Broon-yet-oh).
Antola Regional Park
The Parco Regionale dell’Antola is located in the Ligurian Apennines just over an hour from Genoa. It extends along the Ligurian-Emilia Romagna border as well as the Piedmont border. Within the park there are all sorts of activities for outdoor enthusiasts from hiking to mountain biking as well as horseback riding. The Antola Bike Race is a 50 km race that typically takes place in September. There are also numerous villages, some abandoned, as well as various castles including the famous stone castle (Castello della Pietra) which likely dates to the 12th century. The park’s territory is along the historic Salt Route (Vie del Sale) that linked Genoa to Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna.
Now that you have some background information on the area, we’ve come to the star of our show which is Brugneto Lake. This is considered the most beautiful lake in Liguria and is definitely the largest. This artificial lake supplies water to Genoa’s residents and even some of Piacenza, but amazingly, has only existed since 1959. When Brugneto was created it forced the abandonment of two small mountain settlements which were swallowed up the lake.
Since the creation of the dam, the natural habitat has returned to what it once was. Numerous species of fish, birds, plants, and small mammals flourish in the woods and in Brugneto’s waters.
What to Do Here
Visitors can hike the trail around the entire lake which is about 14 km long and takes approximately 6 hours. Along the way, there are picnic areas with tables as well as barbecues. Make your way down to the shore to enjoy the lake from close up! Just remember that since it is not a natural lake, swimming is not allowed.
There are numerous other trails as well as small towns to visit in the immediate area. Some of these are quite famous such as Torriglia. The Trebbia river as well as the Scrivia river flow through this lush, wooded area where you’ll also find the Fieschi Castle (later, Malaspina) dating to the mid 1200s.
Brugneto Lake is the perfect day trip from Genoa and even ideal for families with young children looking to get outdoors for a pleasant afternoon.
For more information, visit the park’s official website.