rifugi in italy

Mountain huts, Rifugio Guide for Italy

A Rifugio, is a mountain hut (also known as alpine hut, mountain shelter, and mountain hostel), a building located in the mountains intended to provide food and shelter to mountaineers, climbers and hikers. Mountain huts are usually operated by an Alpine Club or some organisation dedicated to hiking or mountain recreation.

Mountain huts can provide a range of services, starting with shelter and simple sleeping berths. Some, particularly in remote areas, are not staffed, but others have staff which prepare meals and drinks and can provide other services, including guide services or sell clothing and small items. Mountain huts usually allow anybody to access their facilities on a first come - first servered, although some require reservations.

Mountain refuges and Alpine huts are a bit different from full-service campgrounds. Some are a kind of Alpine hostels, scattered along winding roads. Others are rough shelters, built in places you can't get to without hiking a few miles (if not all day), where you can rest up for the night whilst trekking across the Alps, Apennines, Dolomites, or making a classic ascent on an Alpine route.

Some really are just huts: wooden single-room structures with a woodpile by the door and a cot in the corner. Most, however, are run as a sort of hostels (only ones used by a handful of hikers, not crowds of  backpacking students or day-trippers).

Many are only open during the summer hiking season (usually mid-June to mid-September), though some set aside a handful of beds for year-round use, and many located within Ski Areas are now offering winter stays (these tend to be the better equipped huts).

Though a mattress and blanket are provided, you must also bring and use your own sleep sack or sleeping bag (this is for cleanliness and environmental reasons, as it reduces their laundry load).

Make sure you stay in a full-fledged Rifugio; the other lodgings up in the rarefied air are bivacchi, bare-bones shelters for folks caught on a peak in inclement weather or on long trails between Rifugio.

What you should expect to pay.

Join the (hiking) club, 
Club Alpino Italiano (www.cai.it) is the premier Italian association geared toward aiding hikers and walkers. Membership also usually gets you discounts at Italy's network of mountain huts. By law, per-person rates cannot exceed 20–26 euro in a dorm-style room, rooms with 2–6 beds may charge over 40 euro per person.

CAI members pay about half that (you can apply to any local CAI group for membership or online.

Huts that remain open in winter (Dec–Apr) may charge non-members a 30% premium for heating.