I found an abandoned village in the alps of Italy

Through some detours I managed to get up the hill this stage of the Grande Traversata delle Alpi. At the top, next to the Refugio, was an old small village with about 18 houses that were in varying condition. The owner of the Refugio had been living there for generations as the last one and once it was all full of families. The place is unique on the edge of a mountain and on a narrow cliff, but at the same time quite inaccessible. However, in summer quite a lot of hikers pass by the refugio to enjoy the view. The village continues to deteriorate until there is hardly anything left of it. These are testimonies of a sinking culture.

Sacred place Oropa in Italy

This video is a small overview of Oropa in Italy. Oropa is a sacred place with a long history. I stopped there on a hike through the mountains on the Grande Traversata delle Alpi, then a day later I went further into the mountains.

Hiking the GTA in the Italian Alps – Part 9 – Oropa – Refugio Coda

From Oropa, this time with a homemade breakfast, we headed back towards the Basilica and then on towards the mountains. At first I was alone on the way, but already a little later other hikers came. A prominent place was a cable car at which some hikers arrived. From there it went also further with another cable car up the mountain. However, the cable car was not running. In some distance a building on a mountain was visible. When approaching it turned out that it was another building of a cable car, where however the building was abandoned and also no more rope was there. Arrived at the pass were immensely many mosquitoes, so I went on immediately. At the altitude of about 2500m was this time quite a lot of fog. On the other side it was no longer so easy to go forward. Everywhere coarse rocks. The way to the Refugio Coda then also dragged on forever. Some places was quite dangerous in terms of falling. At some point I arrived at the Refugio and I was quite cold. I had not even noticed how I had hypothermia in the fog and at altitude.

Hiking the GTA in the Italian Alps – Part 8 – Refugio Madonna della Neve – Oropa

From the Refugio Madonna delle Neve we went through a forest down to the valley. From there it continued along the road up another valley again and later finally through a piece of forest again to Santuario San Giovanni d Andorno. The building there was badly damaged by a huge rock. Then we continued up the road, which was closed to traffic, always up the switchbacks, as the path through the forest was not visible at first. Later it went again over open meadows steeply up to the slope. On the other side, the huge basilica in Oropa was already visible. So I went down and after some time reached my hotel in Oropa.

Hiking the GTA in the Italian Alps – Part 7 – Refugio Rivetti – Refugio Madonna della Neve

From Refugio Rivetti we went down about 1800 m into the valley of a small village. On Sunday there was an immense amount of activity there. Since I was quite fast and the route should be short, I strolled a bit through the village and supplied me with some stuff from the small store. At the other end of the village it should go over a bridge. The bridge was destroyed, however, so that I did not quite know where to go. I wanted to go first along the road and then up the mountain on the other side, until I saw some people walking over the large rocks in the river. So I followed them and crossed the river to the actual route. When I thought that it would be easier now, I was deceived. Due to a storm in 2020 were several rock slides to cross what was partly quite troublesome. After a while, however, I had arrived at the top of a thin ridge where the Refugio stood on a unique position. There you had almost a panoramic view through the magnificent position of the Refugio.

Hiking the GTA in the Italian Alps – Part 6 – Sant Antonio – Refugio Rivetti

The second part of the hike on the GTA started right where the first one left off. I drove by car to Sant Antonio to the Refugio, whereby I was previously by masses of vacation travelers for hours in the traffic jam. This time I was not alone in the Refuigo as in June, but at least 4 other hikers were also there. I got my compartment and fell asleep early. The next day it went immediately the long hike to Refugio Rivetti which is not recommended for entry. I walked it anyway. At the beginning the route went very long through the valley, steadily uphill. Later in the steeper and at the first ridge extremely steep down into a kind of cauldron. The had to be crossed and then was again a pass. From the second pass it went quite laboriously over large rocks along a ridge to the third pass. From there there was a very nice view of the Po Valley and the Refugio was only 5 minutes away at an altitude of about 2300m.

Hiking the Grande Traversata delle Alpi (GTA) in the Italian Alps – Part 5 – Rima – Sant Antonio

The last stage of the first trip on the GTA. I left again quite early after I had slept again quite badly. The cook or owner (so clear to me was not) drove me early again the 5 km back to RIma and I went through the deserted village up the mountain. Again, everything was damp and in the fog so that I hardly saw anything. Nevertheless, the area was spectacular to look at and it went again to an altitude of about 2500m. After some time the pass was finally reached. Before that it went through some snow fields. At the pass was again not a particularly clear view and I went on to a refugio further down. A little further up from the refugio there should be a place called Belvedere, which should give an excellent view of Monte Rosa. The path was steep and somewhat exposed, in any case a bit more difficult to walk than my way before and with all the luggage. At some point I reached Belvedere and unfortunately had little view of Monte Rosa. Only briefly he was visible outside the clouds. After my lunch there I went back down, which was even more arduous with the luggage and the steepness. Now it went into the valley to Alagna, whereby shortly before Alagna still a thunderstorm came up that took place near the Refugio. From Alagna it was still forever far down the valley to the turn into the Vogna valley. There it went up again a few hundred meters to my final stop at the Refugio there in the evening. On this day I had completed with Abstandt the longest distance and the highest altitude difference.