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Climbing to high altitude, looking at the stars and waking up at dawn with the feeling that you’ve got away from everything and everyone, learning to get by and feel good with few resources: this is the recipe for a wonderful and exciting experience.

Bivouacs are unsupervised structures designed for people to use in emergencies, but are also open to all. They can serve as a base for tough climbs or as destinations in their own right, to spend a night surrounded by nature.

Here are four of the most beautiful bivouacs in the Italian Alps, all easily accessible on foot.

 

RIFUGIO MONTE CANIN, ITALIAN-SLOVENIAN BORDER

This mountain refuge seems suspended in the air, with only a small section touching the rock, and is kept in balance by a series of cables. Incorporating three levels it has a large window to admire the valley and the town of Plezzo below. The minimalist interiors were designed by the OFIS Arhitekti architectural practice. It can sleep up to nine people, giving them breathtaking views over Italy and Slovenia.

BIVACCO MATTEO CORRADINI AT THE SUMMIT OF DORMILLOUSE

A new bivouac made its appearance in the summer of 2019, located at the summit of Dormillouse in the upper Val di Susa. It appears as a black metal casing protecting a wooden structure in Swiss stone pine, a material that was chosen to be sustainable, to represent the surrounding area and to transmit, with its scent, a sense of calm. Large windows afford a spectacular view over two valleys, one on the Italian side and one in France.

BIVACCO GERVASUTTI

This refuge is perched on a spur of rock at 2,835 metres, at the foot of the Grandes e Petites Jorasses in Val Ferret. It is energy self-sufficient thanks to an array of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof. An on-board computer connected to the Internet via satellite monitors the operational status of the electrical system and constantly transmits the relevant data.

BIVACCO PELINO ON MONTE AMARO, MAJELLA

Opened in 1982 following the destruction of the previous bivouac by a storm, Bivacco Pelino is notable for its innovative geodetic structure which minimises its surface-volume ratio, helping it to retain internal heat. Built on the summit of Monte Amaro (2,793 metres), the second highest peak in the Apennines and the first of the Majella Range, from here you can enjoy views over immense limestone plateaus and pine-filled valleys.

 

 

By Filippo Albert

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