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.)