Early in my travels through the heart of the Dolomites – a mountain range located in northeastern Italy – I took the chairlift toward the church of La Crusc in Alta Badia. As I ascended toward the alpenglow of the Dolomites, I looked down, around and behind me at the rifugi (mountain huts) scattered in the snow like roasted chestnuts.
Rifugi are high-elevation huts or lodges that are located across the Alps. Some are more than a century old and served as summer homes for the herders who brought cattle to graze in mountain pastures. A rifugio can be a restaurant, an inn, or a simple refuge with running water. (These are not to be confused with baitas, which are private summer homes.)