• 2022.11.08
  • Blog Liguria - Aveto valley trip
Aveto: horses, windmills and history a few steps from Genova
The Aveto Regional Natural Park extends along three valleys: the Aveto valley, with its mountainous landscape, the Sturla valley, characterized by pastures and woods of chestnut and hazelnut trees and the Graveglia valley, with its special rocky formations.
Despite its small size, the park is a succession of diversified landscapes and it is possible to consider it as an overview of the most diverse environments present in our region.
This park has in fact rivers, lakes, woods, terraces, meadows, other than boasting the highest peaks in this part of the Apennines, olive groves and vineyards.
The flora here is obviously amazing but, in the Aveto Valley Natural protected area here in Liguria, there is also the only herd of wild horses living in Italy.

Aveto valley wild horses

It is certainly the first thing to do in Liguria for any horse lover and I finally got to go there on an excursion organized by an association which I decided to give as gift to a friend of mine, Luisa, who is a big horse lover.
It would be perhaps more correct to define them as “abandoned horses”: years ago, in fact, someone abandoned a dozen horses in the park and here the animals found a perfect habitat and they decided to reproduce therefore creating a herd of wild horses. In short, when we say that nature works miracles it is true.
The new generations of foals have never had contact with any humans.
Being born and growing in nature, completely free, led them to change and to assume the dynamics and behaviors of a wild herd, exactly like American mustangs or Asian wild horses.
Today the herd is made up of more than fifty members who live in the pastures and woods of one of the most beautiful parks you can find in Italy. The brilliant thing is that a project for their conservation was born and among the various activities that are organized, tours are also organized to observe them, at a due distance of course.
The Aveto park is part of the Apennines mountain range and the biodiversity of this place is enriched by the coexistence of botanical species of Alpine origin and endemics plants unique to this area.
Excursions leave from Genoa or from Santo Stefano d’Aveto, a small village located just a few kilometers from Genoa city.
This village is an unspoiled oasis, surrounded by woods and lush vegetation and, in addition to being a meeting point for outdoor sports and horses enthusiasts, it has more to offer.
The village is an altitude of 1012 meters and is part of the abovementioned Aveto Regional Natural Park.
This small village, which has just over a thousand inhabitants, has a landscape that extends all around and dominates a spectacular view, with beautiful views of nearby Monte Bue.
Santo Stefano d'Aveto has always been at the center of attention throughout history and, thanks to its strategic position, the town was the object of various war episodes of domination during the Roman Empire and it was the battlefield of one of the last battles conducted by Roman legionaries for domination over the Ligurians, a sign along the road leading to it says.
Also interesting to mention is that the area became famous during World War II for the many partisans who organized here the resistance.
There are also quite a few ancient water mills in the area and some of them still work, fed by the many local streams. To be exact, there are three water mills still visitable and in operation: one for wheat, one for corn and chickpea flour and a third for chestnuts.

Working windmill in Aveto valley


  • Patrizia Margherita
  • Jobtranslator, interpreter, teacher

Although she was born in Italy, she is half Italian and half American and she has become a "multicultural person" who can speak five languages. She has lived and worked in the US, Brazil, Australia, France and the UK so she considers herself a citizen of the world. When she is not teaching or translating, she likes cooking Italian food, hiking and traveling around the world...She has traveled to 80 countries and counting!

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