Sweltering heat wave is hanging over Italy and roasting by the sea among hundreds of other beachgoers does not seem very attractive. When it is hot head to the high mountains for refreshing hikes. There are many beautiful mountain huts in Italy perched high above the crowds offer cool temperatures, stunning views and tranquillity. Here is my pick of top 5 small mountain refuges for hot summer days.
Gervasutti Hut, Piedmont
Located on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, this futuristic module tube decorated with ski sweater designs sleeps 12. It is powered by solar panels embedded in the roof, and has wireless internet. The unstaffed refuge at the altitude of 2835 m and is not easy to reach (see the route description here). The seemingly whimsy design is solid: the pod is engineered to withstand winds of 124 miles per hour and being buried in up to 26 feet of snow. The front door is always open and it is necessary to read instructions on the Gervasutti refuge website before heading there. Price: €10 per night.
Rifugio Pagari, Piedmont
The cosy hut of Rifugio Pagari stands on a rocky outcrop at the altitude of 2627 m in the province of Cuneo. The original building was constructed in 1912 but has been recently renovated. After a four-hour hike, you can enjoy the simple comfort of the refuge and a great beer Pagarina made on the premises by Andrea Pittavino, who runs the hut. It is the only beer made at such high altitude in Italy. Sipping a glass of cool Pagarina and admiring the nearby snow-capped peaks certainly beats grilling on a crowded beach! Price: €26 per night, €5.50 for hot shower, €11 breakfast.
Rifugio Cesare Benigni, Lombardy
You can reach the Benigni mountain hut without breaking much of a sweat in two hours from Valgerola. Beside the refuge is a beautiful Lake Piazzotti with ice-cold crystal-clear water, a perfect spot for taking in the scenery and fresh air of the mountains. Price: €32 half-board.
Rifugio Franchetti, Abruzzo
Located in the Gran Sasso mountain range, near Europe’s southernmost glacier, Franchetti refuge is simple with two dorm-style rooms. There is not hot water or shower and the running water comes from the nearby glacier. However, when at sunrise you sit outside on the terrace with a cup of hot tea and the resident dog Chicco at your feet you will remember that life is all about simple pleasures. Price: €44 half-board.
Rifugio Taramelli, Trentino-Alto Adige
Built in 1904, this small stone refuge is easy to reach. It can accommodate up to 14 people in two dorm-style rooms. The scenery around Rifugio Tamarelli is stunning: dense forests, the Dolomites and the Jonta waterfalls nearby will make you forget about the sweltering summer heat. Price: €50 half-board.