THE alpine huts they are a classic for those who love trekking on mountain trails. For those who love sports and are fit, walking along the marked trails on the Italian Alps and Apennines is one of the most relaxing activities for the body and mind. A refuge is a goal to reach, a safe place to eat and drink something, rest or stay overnight even in case of bad weather, rain or storms.
THE alpine huts they have always been the home of Sunday walkers but also of great mountaineers of all ages, base camps to stay in before tackling some challenging climbs. Some keep the secrets of famous companies that have gone down in history, others a special culinary treatment reserved for guests. They are simple but welcoming structures that add to the passion of the mountains that of good food offered by the managers at reasonable prices.
History of Italian Alpine Refuges
The alpine houses that we call “refuges” precisely to emphasize the purpose of welcoming in an environment that is hostile as the mountain one, are part of recent Italian history and were built starting from 1863, the year of foundation of the CAI, the Italian Alpine Club. If trekking is an activity that today is assimilated to relaxation in nature or to sport, the mountain until the twentieth century was certainly not intended as a holiday resort, but rather as a land of fatigue or passage through the passes.
THE first alpine refuges they were therefore built in the Alps as makeshift shelters on the paths that allowed the crossing of borders for trade or pastoralism, rather than as places of monastic worship or for military purposes. Only in the 19th century did the mountain begin to attract explorers and tourists to the point of being considered a vacation spot for simple recreation.
The first hiking refuge of history was the Alpetto sul Monviso and from then on others arose, first in Val d’Aosta on the border with France. Famous are the refuge of Aguilless Grises and Colle del Gigante on Mont Blanc and Mantua, Capanna Linty and Gnifetti on Monte Rosa. In 1877 the Contrin on the Marmolada is still open today as a true museum of the history of mountaineering in the Dolomites. Today the CAI has 774 shelters and bivouacs in Italy.
Rules of alpine huts
Alpine refuges are places that represent the sacredness of nature and the mountains, starting with the respect due to the things and people who work there and make our stay in the mountains possible. Those who enter a refuge must therefore respect a series of good rules of education and follow advice that can make trekking and walking an experience made of encounters and friendship more beautiful for everyone.
Book the refuge whether you want to eat or stay, it is a good idea to avoid problems in case of bad weather. Arrive on time for dinner or sleep to avoid disturbing others, no later than 7pm. Sign the visitor book and write where you are coming from and where you are going to be easily traceable in case of problems. Take off your boots and leave the equipment in the appropriate spaces wearing any slippers or slippers left by the managers.
Do not disturb in the dormitories and respect the sleep of other visitors or climbers. Move as quietly as possible, especially if you have to leave early in the morning. Do not get dirty and follow the rules for waste management which are absolutely not to be thrown away in places not indicated by the shelter. Pay before bed so that you can leave early in the morning even if the shelter managers are absent or busy with other chores.
Italian refuges of the Cai
What’s better than entering one of the mountain huts equipped by the Italian Alpine Club or other associations and drying your clothes from sweat or rain in front of a nice lit fireplace? Here is where to find the list of the most famous equipped huts with images, tips and useful addresses to better plan your mountain excursion.
Cai A search form of the Italian Alpine Club divided into regions allows you to find the desired bivouac and refuge and obtain valuable general and particular information. The Cai is the Italian structure that oversees the management of alpine refuges where to welcome enthusiastic hikers, mountaineers and speleologists
RifugiBivacchi Information on all the bivouacs in the Italian mountains: photographs, geographical map of the location, shelter reservations, rules and rates, accesses and itineraries, bibliography and maps.
RifugieBivacchi Simple, essential and up-to-date information on structures dedicated to those who go to the mountains. Geographical maps divided into colored areas and shelter cards are available to the user to learn more about the routes to be followed
European Alpine Clubs
In addition to the Italian Alpine Club all over the world there are international associations that combine the protection of the mountains with the study of the territory and the training of guides and instructors. In the alpine clubs, in addition to mountain enthusiasts, there are guides, instructors and mountaineers who form groups of active and enterprising people. A story of mountaineering and trekking that tells of intrepid gestures but above all of a passion capable of uniting different spirits and traditions in love for the Alps and for all the mountains in the world.
UIAA International Union of Alpine Associations. Established in 1932, the organization now represents the commissions of 68 countries around the world committed to safeguarding mountaineering practice that respects the mountains and nature without borders.
ClubAlpinoAccademico National Section of the CAI, a historical institution that is inspired by the pure ideals of great mountaineering and is concerned with alpine technique and study of the mountains with the creation of mountaineering schools. Conservation and protection of the environment have become the group’s priorities
SAT Society of Tridentini Alpinists section of the CAI which wanted to maintain a degree of autonomy. The head office is located in Trento with museum, historical archive, mountain library, rock climbing group, mountaineering school, ski mountaineering and one of the most famous alpine choirs in Italy.
Paths and itineraries
A guide that not only offers information on the refuges, but also the best itinerary and the path to reach it, with all the variants of the case. to organize a holiday or a simple long walk in close contact with nature.
RifugiMonteRosa Dedicated to the queen of the Alps, Monte Rosa, provides practical information with photographs on the shelters and places of interest together with the description of the accesses and the recommended excursions with times and difficulties
Trentino Alpine refuges in Trentino reported on a convenient website updated with photographs and practical indications for itineraries suitable for those who want to get there or take walks starting from the refuge where they can book an overnight stay
Associazione Alpinisti Tridentini Official website of the SAT which promotes knowledge of the Trentino mountains. A section in particular is dedicated to shelters and bivouacs with all the useful information for those who want to get there and many practical tips
Young Mountain Official site of a mountaineering association founded in Turin in 1914 that wants to promote the passion for the mountains by providing holiday homes and bivouacs in the various sections in which it is organized
Capanne Ticinesi A map indicates the specialization for the Ticino area in Switzerland. Starting from the location and the name of the hut, you get to know the characteristics, the photo and the structures that define it
Valtellina Alpine refuges, bivouacs and selected itineraries in Valmalenco, Val Masino, Orobie Alps, Rhaetian Alps, Alta Valtellina and Valchiavenna. Photographs and technical information on travel times, difficulty, beauty and danger of the excursion
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