Departure: Passo della Guardia – Triora. Arrival: Our departure point. Duration: 7h30. Distance: 16km. Signage: Good. Gradient: 850m. Highest Point: 2200m. Car access: Taggia – Molini di Triora-Triora

The Brigascan Land

The main town in this small area is Briga Marittima (La Brigue in French). Its population totals about 600 people and is the largest, most densely inhabited place of Brigascan origins. It was the capital of the Briga Marittima municipality (which also included the current Briga Alta) until the 12th October 1947 when it went from the newborn Italian Republic to the restored French Republic. The Brigascan people are not that well known in Italy and even less throughout the rest of the world. Other bordering populations who obtained rights to the conservation of their own culture, traditions and peculiarities were for example the Ladinos in the Dolomites which have been documented for quite some time. The comparison with the Ladinos is a very relevant one because both are a mountainous people with fragmented territories from an administrative point of view. The Ladinos’ area is split between the provinces of Trento, Bolzano and Belluno while the Brigascan area besides being split between Italy and France is not only subdivided between three regions ( Liguria, Piedmont and French Provence) but is also divided between the provinces of Imperia, Cuneo and the French Départment des Alpes Maritimes. The Brigascans differentiate themselves not only from the other bordering cultures, namely the Ligurian, Piedmontese and Provençal but also from the French and Italian cultures in general. They have their own language, culture and traditions but due to their proximity to other ethnic borders they acquired many traits from their neighbours, demonstrating the strategic importance of this area where different travellers came into contact with the Brigascans. Notwithstanding all this outside influence, they have still been able to preserve their own culture and traditions.


This excursion is quite easy for a well trained hiker. It is mainly a long stroll on a grassy mountain crest generally following the path marked by the AVML (Alta via dei Monti Liguri) trail markers. It is surrounded by the dreamlike amphitheatre of the highest peaks of the Ligurian Alps (all above 2550m); to the north we have the Maritime Alps with Mount Argentera, Bego, Diable, Maledia, Clapier and Mount Gelas, on a perfect day Rocca dell’Abisso is even visible.


We leave the car at Passo della Guardia, a location that you can reach from Triora via the old military road through the intersection Marta-Garezzo. To drive along this road you will need a 4×4. A bit further South a sign points to a beautiful path which within 2 hours will take you to the top of Passo Garlenda. We turn left through Mount Cimonasso (2085), Cima della Valletta (2059) and Punta S. Maria (2138). We return to the same route carrying on to Mount Fronte’. The descent is along the opposite crest until we reach the Garezzo tunnel and then back along to the military road towards the car. On the top of the Eastern subsidiary summit at a height of 2164m above sea level is a huge bronze statue representing Christ the Redeemer, this forms part of a group of sculptures placed on top of the highest mountains in each Italian region at the beginning of the 20th century.

Mount Saccarello belongs to the Ligurian Alps and is 2201m high. Along with Mount Fronté (2152m), Cima Missun (2356m) and Mount Bertrand (2482m) it forms the Saccarello Mountain range: an alpine massif, which consists mainly of Flysch calcareus rock underlayers and appears less rugged in morphologic appearance.

In 1947 the summit of Mount Saccarello became an administrative border point between the provinces of Imperia and Cuneo and a state border between Italy and France. Its summit is the highest point in the Ligurian region.