A centuries-old network of paths in Liguria, once used by salt merchants and their laden mules, today makes a rewarding walking route in north-west Italy
It was while standing near our hotel at Capanne di Cosola that my sympathy for mules reached its zenith. From our vantage point at an altitude of 1,500 metres, we gazed out over at least a dozen chains of craggy silver-blue peaks melting into the late afternoon haze before the distant Mediterranean brought some horizontal sanity to the scene. For hundreds of years from the Middle Ages onwards, mule trains loaded with sea salt would labour up to these heights from the coast, crossing range after range of the Ligurian Apennines, which separate the Gulf of Genoa from the Po valley in north-west Italy.
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