Embracing Tranquility and Splendor: The Alpine Refuge on Monte Cristallo, Italy’s Rugged Terrain – Amazing Nature


This incredible alpine shelter was built during World War I at a height of 2760 meters. Located in the Italian Dolomites, Monte Cristallo is a long, indented ridge with four summits higher than 3,000 metres. Today, the mountain range is part of the “Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites,” but back during WWI it was a scene of intense warfare between Italy and Austria-Hungary.


>The incredible refuge has been built inside one of the peaks of the massif, with brick walls, a slanted roof, two doorways and four windows framed in wood. Some of the windows are shuttered.

At a glance, it looks as though to step out of the shelter’s doorway is to plummet into the valley below.

It’s believed that the refuge was constructed by Italian soldiers during World War I, in what was known as ‘The White War’, due to the freezing conditions soldiers were faced with.

Those travelling along the Via Ferrata Ivano Dibona will encounter the refuge along their way. A Via Ferrata, also known as an ‘iron path’, is a route comprising steel ladders, rungs and cables built into the rock, to help climbers safely traverse more extreme sections of a mountain.

The Via Ferrata Ivano Dibona starts from Cortina d’Ampezzo, a ski resort and town on the Boite river. The trail ‘calls for a high level of fitness’, according to Cortina Dolomiti, which adds that Monte Cristallo ‘still preserves the marks left by the Great War’.

Experienced climbers access the refuge by climbing up to the ridge below it. Many take photographs when they reach the shelter, sitting on the ledge of the doorway or standing inside.

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