Cala dell’oro is the evocative name of this secret place on the Ligurian Riviera. In addition to its beauty, it also enjoys a special fame that goes back to stories and legends of times past. In fact, it is said that the ships of Saracen pirates of the took shelter in this cove to stop, stock up on provisions (especially the water that flows from a perennial spring not far from the shore), land preyed treasures, and launch attacks on merchant ships sailing offshore.
To try to counter piracy, in 1561 the Genoese authorities decided to build the ancient tower that remains to this day the only trace of man’s presence in this corner of paradise.
Even many centuries later, smuggling with Corsica was conducted in this impassable area far from inhabited places. The goods went up the slopes of this small coastal ravine in the backpacks of those who made risk and cunning their transgressive profession.
The legend of the pirate Draguit
The legend we mentioned in the previous paragraph has it that the fearsome Saracen pirate Dragut, place lieutenant of Barbarossa sailed his fleet from North Africa and Turkey along the Ligurian coast, sacking several cities, taking women, men and children into slavery.
It was 1557 when Dragut, after raging over Recco, brought his ships in front of Camogli. Here, however, Dragut stopped, perhaps fearing the rocks in front of the harbor. At that point some ships returned toward Tunis, the Saracen pirate instead headed east along the Portofino coast, looking for a place to hide the loot and retrieve it later. That’s when Dragut found a cave inside a small cove that was perfect for his purpose.
Then he walked away, still not knowing that there, in what is now known as Gold Cove, he would never return. Two years later, in fact, the fearsome Mediterranean pirate died in combat in Malta during the siege of the fort of St. Elmo.
How to admire Cala dell’oro from above starting from Camogli
A path starts from Camogli that allows you to walk to San Rocco and from there continue to the Bacio Pass. The route unravels through the Camogli countryside and the unspoiled nature of Portofino Park: vegetable gardens, olive trees, fig trees, vineyards, elms and fruit trees will accompany you on the ascent to San Rocco di Camogli, the first stop on the hike to Punta Chiappa.
Climbing along the creuza you can enjoy breathtaking views overlooking the sea. On the other side of the landscape, beyond the fence, a few scattered dwellings and cultivated fields will tell you about what was the old local peasant economy.
The trail starts from a small landlocked side street of Cuneo Avenue, opposite the Carabinieri barracks: it is Via San Bartolomeo, the mule track that climbs inland skirting, in the first part, the Gentile stream.
JOURNEY TIME: 30 to 60 minutes with regular gait
Alternatively, you can always decide to reach San Rocco, either by public or private transportation:
- By bus: you can reach San Rocco by Amt buses that leave from Camogli, Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure and Zoagli. Schedules can be found here.
- By car: a few minutes’ walk from San Rocco there is a public parking lot, for a fee on holidays, (pay attention to the period: capacity is limited!).
Once you get to San Rocco you will have to continue along the path that heads toward Mortola locality. Leaving the small village behind, you enter the holm oak forest to arrive, after about 40 minutes, at Batterie.
From this point the view of the Paradise Gulf is splendid, and several bunkers dating back to World War II can also be seen.
A few more ups and downs and you arrive at the Kiss Pass where you can finally enjoy the breathtaking view of the Golden Cove.
Warning. Stop there and do not try to access it: access to the cove is forbidden both by sea and land as it is a protected area of Portofino Park. The excursion can now continue toward San Fruttuoso di Camogli…
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