La Via del Sale 4 x 4 road in Northern Italy ~ Romancing Italy

Sep 11, 2011

La Via del Sale 4 x 4 road in Northern Italy

The Via del Sale or the Salt Road is the name for the various old stretches of dirt roads or trails that run from the inland areas of northern Italy to the coast. They were used in ancient times to transport goods such as wool or weapons to the Ligurian ports to trade for precious salt to preserve their food.

For one reason or another, it's taken four years to finally go in search of one of these high mountainous trails.

One popular trail runs from the Torino area to Ventimiglia on the Ligurian Coast. We decided to skip the trail on the plains and start with the mountainous trail that runs along the French and Italian border.

 Colle di Tenda

Passing through Fort Central
Just before the Tunnel that passes under the Colle di Tenda, we turned right to follow the signs for Tre Amis and climbed until we reached Fort Central above the tunnel.
Coming up to Fort Central
If we were excited to find signs for the Via del Sale, we were soon disappointed to learn that the road was closed to 4 x 4 traffic due to landslides. It was however open to trekkers, horse, bike or motorbike (enduro) traffic.

Bactracking through the Fort, we followed the signs to Valle de Valmasque in French territory. There was the quick way down....

We opted to skirt the hills  before heading back to the valley floor and followed the trail past the remains of yet another fort that was used in WW1.Here is a photo of me on the outer wall of the fort.

A on the fort ruins

On the way down, driving on the edge

Arriving at the town Tenda before going back into the hills on the other side
La Brigue to Nava
Going through La Brigue towards the Notre Dame des Fontaines we followed the dirt road and signs to Nava. A nice fog was coming in which didn't seem to bother this crazy group who had the fortune, seeing they were on two wheels, to take the Via del Sale from Limone to Ventimiglia.

Refugio along the way

The only female rider we encountered on the trail. Brava!

Narrow road with cliff on side and fog rolling in...a nice combo

I want that house on the edge of the world.



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