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Ponti Romani

Sea level: 400 m
Categories: MTB
Start point: Finalpia

From Final Pia you take the road up the valley to Calvisio and from there into the the countryside and take a right turn over the bridge which is marked for Verzi. After several turns up the road, you will arrive at a fork (km 2.900), from which there is a dirt track on the left, signposted by a red, filled circle. Follow this route and enjoy the view of the top of the Rocca di Corno, as you arrive at the first ancient Roman bridge. Cross this bridge and past the houses which make up the Val Ponci.
Two hundred metres further on, the road becomes very rough and you will have to leave the original route of the Roman road and take a section on the left which can be cycled and which is parallel to the ancient way. Once you arrive at the second Roman bridge you rejoin the original route.

After you cross the second bridge, you continue for about 50 metres to where the road narrows and becomes a little lane. The road forks and you take the left and then head along the track to tackle a section of climbing which has extremely technical sections. This will bring you to Ca Puncin, and the third Roman bridge.

After about 10 metres, you will join the Track for People who cannot See, which is recognisable because it has a rope handrail. From there you go to the right along a disconnected section which turns into a steep climb up the riverbed until you arrive at the Colla Magnone. From there you will find the road (km6.700) and you turn right, riding for about 100 metres on the hard road and then onto a wide dirt lane which climbs gradually until you arrive at a gate. On the left there is a little dirt road which takes you via a series of unconnected ramps to the summit of the panoramic Bric dei Monti (km8.400). Before the viewing point you can make out on the right a track marked with a red circle with a line through it. At a fork you leave this marked track to your left and continue on the right on the more obviously well-used track which with some interesting gravelly bends brings you down to the area of the fields of the Andrassa, where you cross a dirt track. Turn to the left and you climb slightly.

Ignoring any detours, you will arrive in an open area where there are some ruins. At the entrance to this open space, climb to the right, ignoring several other forks on the right and one on the left and sticking to the little road, which you will recognise by the sign of the 'Hippo'. Continue over an unusual outcrop of rock which blocks the path and in about 100 metres you arrive at the main road for Le Manie (km 10,700, Provincial road no 45).

Cross the road by a memorial and you will see on your left the start of a dirt track with a steep ascent, marked with a red circle with a line through it. After about 100 metres, go to your right along a little lane and gradually uphill until you are on a track which is very steep and which leads to the summit of Bric Crovi, which has a great view over the gulf of Genova and the hills of the Finale area.
A short section takes you to a saddle where you leave on the right by a secondary path. Then follow the main track, which provides a fast and exciting descent through the vegetation, bringing you onto the dirt track which connects the main road for Le Manie with the Semaforo of Capo Noli.

Go to the left and join the dirt track and follow it until about 300 metres before the end. At this point, on your right, there is a track which is marked with a red cross (X). Look out for this marking as it may be hard to find because it gets overgrown!
Follow this section, which alternates between riding on the flat and some exciting descents. Here there are several places which give fantastic views over the rocks of Capo Noli and Varigotti, if you get off and walk along the paths marked with yellow signs.

Go along the path until you cross a track which goes down from the high plateau which is marked by a blue ball. Take the right hand steep ascent, which includes sections where you will have to get off and walk. This will take you back to the dirt track of the Semaforo, where you turn to the left for about 300 metres and on your left you join a path which is marked by a red circle with a dot. There follows a short climb followed by a descent which leads to a planted area. Go to the right, on the track marked by a filled in red circle. There is another short climb to the top of the hill and then you head downwards via a technical and stony route with several steep turns. At the bottom you come to a wider track, marked by a red circle with a dot, then you go to the right and slightly downhill. This is followed by a steep climb which brings you onto the main road which goes from Varigotti to Isasco (km17.9).

Climb to the right until you arrive at Isasco, and continue to where the road crosses the main road (number 45) of Le Manie. Cross and opposite join a gently descending dirt track, marked with four red squares. At a fork beside the church of San Giacomo you continue to the right as far as the Trattoria della Grotta dell'Arma, where you go down a fast dirt track, again marked with four red squares. This soon becomes a lane crossing the valley which brings you back to the track you followed at the beginning of the ride, at the same height as the third Roman bridge. From here you go back along the valley using the same route you took on the way up from Finale Pia.
This is one of the classic itineraries around Finale Ligure, a ride which combines a great variety of terrains, from wide dirt paths to the most technical of tracks, while going through some of the historic sites for Finalese mountain bikers.
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