Five Italian alpine huts for a summer chill-out

Italy's alpine huts, or 'rifugi', provide the perfect - and inexpensive - place to get some peace and quiet and escape the heat of the Italian summer.

Five Italian alpine huts for a summer chill-out
Rifugio Alpetto. Photo: CAI

And the good news is that they are not as inaccessible as you might think.

But what can you expect from a rifugio?

Those in super-remote, high-altitude areas might not offer flushing indoor toilets, they are few and far between, but don't let that put you off.

Contrary to popular belief the majority of them are easily accessible, cosy and family-friendly places to stay.

Consider them as rustic alpine hostels that offer trattoria style food and drink. What's not to love?

With the average price of a bed, dinner and breakfast coming in at around 50, the call of the wild might just prove too much for you.

Here are some rifugi in Italy that are worth checking out:

Rifugio Alpetto – –Piedmont

Nearly 150 years among nature: Rifugio Alpetto. Photo CAI

Climbers and hikers have been drawn to this area of Mont Viso, located near the French border, for almost 150 years for the beauty of the countryside. The rifugio opened in 1866 and is located 2,268 meters above sea level, offering much welcome hot showers and food and drink for the tired traveller.

Good for: People with children

A bed, breakfast and dinner costs just 50, while children under the age of six can stay for free. Advance booking is recommended.

Rifugio Marinelli -– Lombardy

Can you see it yet? Rifugio Marinelli. Photo: CAI

Located 2,831 meters above sea level, Rifugio Marinelli has 50 beds, and offers showers and hot meals to its worn-out visitors. The chef specializes in traditional meat dishes: just the ticket after a hard day's hiking.

Good for: Tired workers

Marinelli is surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Retic Alps in Lombardy and allows visitors really to experience the sheer scale of the Alps, giving them a renewed a sense of perspective.

Rifugio Pacini – Tuscany

No crampons required: Rifugio Pacini. Photo: CAI.

Located in the Acquerino Catagallo nature reserve in the Appenines outside Florence, the Rifugio Pacini is located on a grassy plain that is teeming with flora and fauna.

Good for: The casual hiker

Rifugio Pacini sits at just 1,001 meters above sea level and there are many great and easy walks in the surrounding hills.

Rifugio Città di Forlì –- Emilia-Romagna

Great for wildlife: Rifugio Città di Forlì. Photo: CAI

–Located on the Appenine ridge between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, at 1,452 meters above sea level, this hut has 44 beds and offers excellent traditional food and wine.

The hut is just a day's walk from the remote sanctuary of La Verna, where Christians believe St Francis of Assisi received stigmata.

Best for: Wildlife lovers

The mountains are teeming with rare wildlife such as wolves, eagle owls and deer. Discover the wildlife for yourself with the Local guides and astronomers who lead day and night excursions. 

Rifugio Locatelli -– Alto Adige

Rifugio Locatelli and the Tre Cime. Photo: CAI

Rifugio Locatelli sits under the famous three peaks, or ““Tre Cime”,” which are an iconic image of the Dolomites. The three monoliths rise unexpectedly out of the ground, dwarfing everything around them.Located 2,450 meters above sea level, you're bound to get some much-needed fresh air.

Best for: History buffs

During WWI the front line ran right through this area which today is awash with fortifications and plaques.

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