English Version, travel guide

Across Alta Val Trebbia with public transport (yes, you can!)

If you don’t feel confident enough driving in Italy or on the panoramic winding roads of Alta Val Trebbia, don’t worry! You can still fulfil your dream of seeing Italy’s enchanted valley by using public transport from main gateway cities such as Milan, Piacenza, Pavia and Genoa.

Besides being the best way to travel with a low impact on the environment, public transport in the valley is reliable and cheap. However understanding timetables can prove quite difficult (most of the times they are incomprehensible even to locals).

Here you find a few suggestions to help you find your way.

Glossary: on timetables you will often see different schedules for weekdays and holidays. Remember that FERIALE means the service is active during weekdays, while FESTIVO is for service during the weekend and main bank holidays in Italy. ANNUALE means the service is active all year round but check for notes at the bottom of timetables, as most of the time they will give you more context. INVERNALE is the schedule for autumn/winter time, while ESTIVO the one for spring/summer (schedules normally specify exact dates the info applies to).

Travelling with SETA buses from Piacenza (Emilia Romagna)

On the side of the main railway station (with connections to Milan, Bologna and most cities in Italy), go to the bus station (autostazione, address: Piazzale Marconi) and look for the corriera bus (local long distance regional buses) by SETA (the name of the company operating the service). You might be able to purchase the ticket onboard (a small extra charge applies), or otherwise at all ticket shops selling SETA tickets (usually newsagents),  online or at the machine at the bus station . Tickets are valid through the whole duration mentioned on them (so you can use them for multiple journeys across the valley within the specific timeline).

From Piacenza you can get a bus to Bobbio, Ottone, Cerignale, San Salvatore, Marsaglia, Rovaiola and many other villages of lower and upper Val Trebbia in the Emilia Romagna (and  get a connecting bus to the Liguria side) region. Here you can find a handy map of the villages served by SETA.

Look for Linee Extraurbane for the Piacenza area on the SETA website, as these are the long distance corriere buses that will take you to the valley. Detailed routes and timetables can be looked up here.

seta linee extra

Travelleing with ATP buses from Genova (Liguria)

From Piazza della Vittoria (a few steps away from Brignole Railway Station), you’ll find the corriere buses by ATP (the name of the company operating the service in Liguria) connecting the seaside city of Genoa (or Genova in Italian) to the lush and green mountains of the valley on the Liguria side. In the bigger town of Torriglia you will be able to change coach and venture deeper in the valley towards Montebruno, Loco, Rovegno, Ottone and other charmingly remote destinations. If you are planning a visit to the Antola Natural Park, you’ll be able to come in the area with the line to Rondanina.

Below is the scheme with main connections from Genoa to the villages of the valley.

ATP lines

At this link you find all lines servicing the valley and their timetables, while here you can see where you can buy tickets in Genoa and other locations in Liguria. You can also buy the ticket directly from the driver (with a small extra fee).

Travelling with ARFEA buses from Milan and Pavia (Lombardia) 

To access Alta Val Trebbia without getting the train, an alternative is the bus to Varzi, which you can take from Milan (Famagosta station) or Pavia (bus station/autostazione). ARFEA is the name of the company providing this service, and  Line 420 is the one that will take you to Varzi. Here you can get a further bus to Brallo every day and to Ottone on weekdays only. See the schedule here.

Arfea scheudle

Note: most of the times bus stops in the valley are marked by a simple pole on the side of the road with a generic bus stop logo, or at times with the bus line logo and timetables. It is always a good idea to double check with the driver if the bus is going in the right direction and if it will stop where you are planning to get off. Most likely drivers and locals won’t speak English, but they will do their best to help you and make themselves understood. In any case, it might be good to note down these sentences:

  • IT: La corriera va a [name of your destination]?
  • EN: Does this coach go to [name of your destination]?


  • IT: La corriera ferma a [name of your desired stop]?
  • EN: Does this coach stop in [name of your desired stop]?


  • IT: A che ora passa la corriera per [name of your destination]?
  • EN: What time does the coach for [name of your destination] leave?


Good to know: remember that after Bobbio towards Genoa the road gets quite winding, so if you suffer from car sickness it is advisable to bring some pills with you. Roads are safe, drivers experienced and many people commute every day in all seasons from tiny villages to the main cities surrounding the valley.


Let us know in the comments if you found this information useful and what kind of extra details you’d like to have to make the most of your journey to the valley 🙂

Cover image by BusBusNet Forum

All other images in this post courtesy of SETA, ATP and ARFEA

Please double check info on the transport providers websites, as it might be subject to updates

English Version

Travel Guide to Alta Val Trebbia

We’ve been there before…

You found some amazing pictures of Alta Val Trebbia on Instagram by chance and ever since that moment you heard a strange voice in your head calling you to visit those wonderful, unspoilt landscapes in person at the first occasion.

You have done some research but struggled to find coherent (and above all intelligible) information in English online. The most obvious thing to do would be giving up and choose a more accessible destination instead, but the voice inside your head won’t have any of it.

rovegno 1

To help all of you brave travelers out there visit the most beautiful valley in the world, we put together some practical tips as a sort of basic “Travel Guide to Alta Val Trebbia” to navigate through transport information, accommodation choices, activities and tours and other useful facts you may need to plan your journey.

Here is what you will find in the next weeks on this site as part of the travel guide series of posts:

  1. Across Alta Val Trebbia with public transport (yes, you can!)
  2. How to find accommodation with English speaking hosts
  3. Outdoor Activities for Active Holidays
  4. Slow Itineraries across Alta Val Trebbia
  5. Eateries, ATMs, medical assistance and shops

We hope you will find these guidelines useful and that you will visit the fabulous villages of Alta Val Trebbia in the future, enjoying and respecting the landscapes and local population you will meet along the way.

Feel free to leave a comment to suggest more places or to ask for more information, or reach us via e-mail at altavaltrebbia@gmail.com.

English Version

All roads lead to Alta Val Trebbia: an interview with Total Bike Forever

Would you believe it? Alta Val Trebbia recently received a very special visit from an incredible cycling duo of musicians on their way to Japan.
Through our @visitaltavaltrebbia Instagram profile, we got to know the Total Bike Forever project by Adam Faulkner and Tim Stephens. Over the course of the next year Adam and Tim are cycling to Japan, making an album on the road and a documentary of their expedition. They left London about a month ago and are making their way east through Europe before rolling onto Central Asia, South East Asia and finally reaching Japan in 2019.
In early April 2018, they crossed the valley and the Antola Park, where they took this picture that sparked our conversation.
total bike
We took the chance to learn more about their journey and experience in Alta Val Trebbia and ask a few questions…
1. How did you come across Val Trebbia in general and Parco dell’Antola in particular? 
Having spent the best part of two weeks cycling along the French and Italian riverias, we were keen on a change of scenery and a challenge to go with it. We found a route that took us through Parco dell’Antola but didn’t know anything about the park before we took to the road. We really enjoyed our time there and what we saw along the way.
2. What route did you take to arrive there and what was your next destination?
We’d cycled from London, down through France eventually hitting the Mediterranean. We then headed along the coast east through Italy before heading north from Savona to Milan. We passed through the Park as we cycled this part of our route.
From the seaside to the mountains, on the way to Japan…
3. Did you visit any of the villages along the way or did you interact with the locals?
We were enjoying the road so much that we barely stopped! That said, we did stop in one village for a coffee and something to eat in a bakery (we only really eat cake whilst we’re cycling!) Everyone we spoke to was very friendly and we had no trouble making our selves understood.
on the road
“We enjoyed the road so much that we barely stopped!”
4. Since you are writing an album too, did the scenery you saw in Alta Val Trebbia inspire any musical thought?
It did! You can see from this photo that we actually got some of the instruments out at the top of the climb and made the most of the inspiration that hit us and the amazing scenery.
mountain music
Turning the landscape of Alta Val Trebbia into music…
5. Any tip you would give to fellow bikers wanting to cross the valley too?
Beware of the head wind in the early stages of the climb. There’s a lot of bends in the road but keep going! The view from the top is totally worth it.
 Here is an evocative memory written by Tim and Adam about their climb towards Parco dell’Antola:
“Push, breathe, climb. Push, breathe, climb. There’s a simple yet demanding rhythm to take you from the Liguria coast to the top of the Passo Del Turchino – a 532m ascent that avidly wraps itself around the hillside like a snake. 
For us, two musicians travelling by bike all the way to Tokyo from London, these kind of climbs take on a special significance – get to the top take in the view and get our instruments out to make some music set against a breathtaking backdrop. 
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Voltri, we started the climb knowing we had the best part of 10km of uphill to come, so dropped down into bottom gear, strapped in for the ride and slipped into the meditative climbing state, where we try to rid our minds of any thoughts at all.
Passing Mele, the biggest commune on the ascent, the din from the coast quickly subsided with only overhead Autoroutes towering over us for an audio backdrop. But as we got higher and higher and the villages got smaller and smaller even the Autoroute noise subsided as we switched places and towered over them, but not before a mid climb stop to take on a quick espresso with the elderly residents for the last big push.
Two hours and countless switchbacks later, we were there and we weren’t disappointed. Rolling hills strewn across the horizon, barely any movement or noise – the view was one of stillness and tranquillity. It was time to put some music to this breathtaking scene before moving on to our next chapter.”
Follow Total Bike Forever adventure on the website (www.totalbikeforever.com) and on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. The project is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Bikers for a good cause: this epic journey is supporting the Alzheimer’s society too


English Version, Le interviste della valle/ Interviews from the valley

Photographing the Colonia di Rovegno: tips from Tim Brown

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of getting to know British photographer Tim Brown through our @visitaltavaltrebbia Instagram account and asked him if I could repost a picture he took in Rovegno a few years ago.

Here is the image that started our conversation:

The long and winding road from Rovegno #rovegno #woodland #woods #italy #italia

A post shared by Tim Brown (@fotografo.uk) on

On Tim’s website, I came across his great project called Totally Lost, which also features La Colonia di Rovegno, a place I know well from the many stories told by my grandfather.

Besides its controversial past, La Colonia is undoubtedly a historical landmark sadly rotting away in silence in the woods around Pietranera and Foppiano. Over the years, it has been heavily vandalised and left to its fate, its story being forgotten or ignored by the new generations.

With his work, Tim has been leading a “photographic and video research throughout Europe to discover, survey and map the abandoned architectural heritage of the Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th century in Europe”, which also brought him to several regions in Italy and specifically to Alta Val Trebbia.

I am always very happy and a bit surprised to hear about foreign visitors coming to the valley, as I think it’s a very hidden secret for tourists to discover, especially when coming from abroad and having to deal with transportation and language barriers.

To encourage more photography lovers to come and discover La Colonia, I asked Tim to share his experience and give a couple of tips to anyone interested in discovering this very special site.

My hope is that the echo of the centuries and peace inspired by this place will help make its story better known and spark a constructive discussion (in Italy but also abroad) about its historical value and what can be done to preserve it and restore it for future generations beyond all ideologies or political beliefs.

First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I have had various careers over the years, including geophysicist, computer programmer, and acupuncturist. However photography has always been an interest, along with a love of Italy and all things Italian. I decided to study for a Bachelors degree in photography in 2013, graduated with first class honours and went on to study for a Masters qualification. Both my final projects were based in Italy, one exploring the old colonie and the other in Rome. I am currently training to teach photography. When not in Italy, I live in Leeds in the UK.

Tim Brown, photographer and lover of all things Italian

When and how did you first get to know about La Colonia di Rovegno and what in particular made you want to visit it?

I first discovered some of the seaside Colonie along the Adriatic coast by accident and after having done some research I decided they would be the ideal subject for my photography degree project. I wanted to explore both coastal and mountain settings and spent a week based in Genova with the aim of exploring the coast and venturing inland to Rovegno and also Montemaggio.

What route did you take to arrive in Rovegno and what memories do you have of the journey itself?

I took the bus from Genova and can’t remember how close it got me but I spent a long time checking timetables there, and to ensure I could get back again at the end of the day. I particularly remember the clean, clear air, the views as I started to climb and the deep green of the forest.

Getting to Rovegno and the Colonia (courtesy of Tim Brown)

What are your main memories of Alta Val Trebbia and did you visit other villages besides Rovegno? 

My main memory is of the quiet and peacefulness of the area. Of my many visits and much walking during the course of the project, the trip to Rovegno stands out. I visited the lovely town of Bobbio on a separate occasion, that time travelling with a friend by car from near Milan.

What were your impressions of La Colonia during your visit?

I found it hard to imagine how it must have been when occupied, and the scale of the building felt  large and intimidating in relation to its purpose of accommodating children. However, the building is stunning, particularly in the way it rises out from amid the forest and in its use of elevations, angles and curves. Its use as a wartime prison adds another, sobering dimension to its history and feel.

An interior image of the Colonia di Rovegno photographed by Tim Brown

What tips would you give to other photography lovers who want to take a photo tour of La Colonia?

Take a tripod, I didn’t and wish that I had. Be prepared to spend time in and around the building, to get past the initial feeling of awe and in order to get to know and feel it.

“The building is stunning, particularly in the way it rises out from amid the forest”, says Tim.

Are there other places in Alta Val Trebbia you would like to photograph in the future?

I would like to spend more time exploring and walking in the area. I would have liked to visit Colonia Devoto too, though I think this is in a neighbouring valley, but I couldn’t find a feasible way of getting there and back.

Below  you can see more pictures taken by Tim on his visit:

For anyone wanting to know more about La Colonia, Tim shared the following links to current crowdfunding projects to preserve abandoned heritage sites in Italy.

Spazi Indecisi: http://www.spaziindecisi.it/space/colonia-rovegno/ 

Museo Diffuso dell’Abbandono: https://www.ideaginger.it/progetti/in-loco-il-museo-diffuso-dell-abbandono.html/

Note: the Colonia di Rovegno is an abandoned and decaying site, so if you do enter it will be at your own risk.


See you on Instagram!

Dear friends of altavaltrebbiablog, after a few years of silence, we are back!

Now more than ever we want to encourage travellers around the world to come discover our little corner of paradise.

That’s why you now find us on Instagram, where you will be able to see lots of lovely pictures and learn some useful facts to plan your next Alta Val Trebbia trip.

We look forward to seeing you in the valley soon and we hope you will experience it, love it and respect its pristine beauty.

Thanks for following the blog, and you can still reach us at altavaltrebbia@gmail.com.






Un’immagine navigabile per sentirsi già al Trebbia

Non vedete l’ora di scappare dalla canicola urbana e tuffarvi nelle verdi acque del fiume più bello del mondo? Con questa foto interattiva creata da Michele Merlini, potrete godervi una preview che vi farà sentire subito meglio. 

Continue reading “Un’immagine navigabile per sentirsi già al Trebbia”

English Version, Immagini/Gallery

Meet the Trebbia River – navigate a specific spot with the interactive Map

If you can’t escape the heat but your mind is dreaming of cool green waters, navigate this cool map created by Alta Val Trebbia’s firiend Michele Merlini. Continue reading “Meet the Trebbia River – navigate a specific spot with the interactive Map”

Ispirazioni dal mondo/ Sources of inspiration from all around the world

Un’estate di eventi in Val Trebbia? Ora tocca a te!

L’estate è senza dubbio una delle stagioni migliori per scoprire al meglio la Val Trebbia, e certamente la stagione che porta il maggiore afflusso di visitatori nei paesi della valle. Tuttavia, capita spesso di notare come il programma di eventi estivi sia spesso ripetitivo e inadeguato, soprattutto nelle località minori e più remote. Grazie a internet, oggi è possibile organizzare eventi a costo zero usando piattaforme come Meetup. Pronti a organizzare il vostro primo evento estivo in Val Trebbia? Continue reading “Un’estate di eventi in Val Trebbia? Ora tocca a te!”

English Version, Ispirazioni dal mondo/ Sources of inspiration from all around the world

A summer of events in Val Trebbia? Start your own now!

Summer is surely one of the best seasons to discover Val Trebbia at its best. Although visitors come to the valley attracted by its unspoilt nature and relaxing surroundings, the local entertainment program organised by smaller villages is not as varied as it could be. If you care for Val Trebbia and want to help others discover its beauty and stories, here is an idea of how to do it. Continue reading “A summer of events in Val Trebbia? Start your own now!”


New Old Pic of Beautiful River Trebbia

Dear friends of Altavaltrebbia,

a very long time has passed since the last post on altavaltrebbiablog. For many reasons I was not able to take care of the blog, and lots has changed since the last time I wrote.

The “most beautiful valley in the world” is always on my mind, and more than ever I would love as many new visitors to come and share its stories.

I am publishing a few new old pictures of the Trebbia, which in my mind is THE iconic river, hoping they will inspire you to come and swim in its turquoise waters next summer.

These pictures were taken in summer 2012, along the Statale 45 between the villages of Ottone and Rovegno (location Rocca dei Corvi and bridge to Fontanarossa).

Knowing the unspoilt nature of Val Trebbia, I trust everything has stayed very much the same.

Come and explore one of the Italy’s last pieces of paradise next summer!


P ictures: copyright of Claudia Costa