The Ligurian Alps segment of the Alpine-Apennine orogen in NW Italy is unconformably covered by Upper Eocene to Holocene sediments in the Tertiary Piedmont Basin (TPB) and Po Plain. These sediments dip towards the north demonstrating the erosional nature of the southern border of the succession and implying that the adjacent orogenic belt formed the substratum rather than the margin of the sedimentary basin. Apatite (U-Th)/He and fission track thermochronology shows the orogen first subsided and was buried at >4 km from 30 to 26 Ma and began its exhumation thereafter. From 26 Ma to present, this upward movement was contemporaneous with subsidence in the northern TPB. The couple exhumation in the S and subsidence in the N migrated northwards through time. Vertical movements in the area are similar to those reconstructed in Corsica. In both cases, the onset of exhumation becomes younger away from the Ligurian-Provençal basin and has little correlation with the opening of the surrounding oceanic basins.