Autumn among the flavours and colours of Trentino
High-elevation hospitality: gourmet mountain huts
Spending one or two nights in an Alpine hut, at the feet of the large faces of the Trentino Dolomites - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is an experience worth trying, which leaves something special inside you: The different rhythm, the evening conversations that arise almost spontaneously with the manager or with the other guests, the spectacular dawns and sunsets - sudden and always new -, the silence that surrounds the environment, creating a strong and significant break from everyday life.
This is something you can experience on most of the mountains in Trentino, because there are many Alpine huts open after 20 September, until the end of the month and even on weekends in October, as long as the weather holds.
Today, however, mountain huts are also popular destinations among those looking for high-class cuisine: actually, many of them offer a menu that is fit for the best restaurants, combining flavour with the beauty of the mountains. Here are some of the best stops to eat at in Trentino and come into contact with the typical and sincere traditions of the territory.
Rifugio La Roda (2115 m)
A reference point for those pursuing Cima Paganella. Here, before the Dolomites and Lake Garda, the menu ranges from classic dishes of the Trentino tradition to modern revisitations and original fish dishes. From the hut, you can head off on a brief excursion to the panoramic point near the uphill station of the old cable car that arrived from Lavis, or the spectacular “Ferrata delle Aquile”, with its aerial passages and two rope bridges suspended above the void.
Rifugio Stella d’Italia (1536 m)
This mountain hut on the Folgaria Plateau can be reached by chairlift or following a trail that poses a basic challenge. It is the starting point to reach Forte Sommo Alto, an Austro-Hungarian fort just 10 minutes from the mountain hut. The menu offers a super platter, or revisitations of traditional dishes, like the canederli trio. And, as a finishing touch, magnificent homemade desserts.
Rifugio Lago di Nambino (1770 m)
On the western side of Trentino, this mountain hut can be reached easily on foot from Madonna di Campiglio, Patascoss, or from the Nambino plain with simple walks that cross places of enchanting beauty. Here, the Serafini sisters offer the specialities of their tasty cuisine. Don’t miss their Alpine char, a delicate Alpine lake fish that is truly exceptional!
Rifugio Fuciade (1982 m)
In Val di Fassa, a tiny paradise in the heart of the Dolomites, surrounded by the peaks of the Marmolada Group. The mountain hut is run by Sergio and Emanuela, and the cuisine is entrusted to Martino, a whimsical and creative chef who, starting from the Ladino tradition, explores traditional Mediterranean products. Don’t miss the deer tartar, marinated with juniper and accompanied by an apple, celeriac and citrus puré.
Ristorante Lo Chalet in Forcella di Bombasel (2170 m)
From Alpe Cermis, the enchanting dining room opens its windows onto the wilderness of the Lagorai Range. The position was chosen for its extraordinary panoramic view, embracing the Eastern Dolomites, the Lagorai Range and the Pala Group. The architectural style combines modern and traditional styles, and wood provides it with a romantic frame. This new restaurant offers a “panoramic” cuisine, with its “Italian style” dishes, focusing on local traditions, extending their horizons to the sea, and therefore to seafood. The wine collection is well curated, starting from the aperitif.
Walking among the colours of autumn
Autumn in the mountains still brings intense days, and the opportunity to choose from many activities in contact with nature. Beneath crystal clear skies, not only can you still reach many high-elevation mountain huts, but you can also go on excursions and long walks in mid-mountain woods, surrounded by the most incredible colours, in the full explosion of autumn “foliage”, on carpets of pine needles and beneath a roof of yellow, orange, red and gold leaves, just waiting to be captured on your camera.
Val di Cembra, unique for its admirable show of terraces cultivated with grapevines, which turn entire mountainsides into golden carpets, offers a pleasant autumn excursion starting from Lake Santo, above Cembra.
On the Paganella Plateau, an easy and exciting route, suitable for the whole family, runs through beech woods around the town of Fai. Starting from the hamlet called La Capannina, this trail reaches numerous panoramic spots above the Adige valley.
In Val di Rabbi, in the Stelvio National Park, the Saènt waterfall ring route takes you to the feet of spectacular waterfalls created by the Rabbies river. Along this route, you can admire, in particular, the intense colours of larches which, when they are lit by the sun, look like torches, creating a unique contrast with the clear sky so typical of September days.
In another nature reserve in Western Trentino - the Adamello Brenta nature park - you can walk through Val di Fumo, one of the most spectacular glacial valleys of the Alps, surrounded by woods and rock faces. Walking early in the morning from the dam at Malga Bissina to the mountain hut beraing the same name of the valley, you can admire the intense colours of the waters of the dam basin, and the first dustings of snow on the peaks of the Adamello Group, well above 3000 m.
Also in the Parco Adamello Brenta, but in Val Rendena, above Carisolo, you can follow the trail that climbs up to the San Martino hermitage; legend has it that one of the last hermits lived here, thanks to the bread that a tame bear would bring to him.
In Valle del Primiero, above the town of Mezzano, you can travel the themed route up to the Prati di San Giovanni [Meadows of San Giovanni], which begins beneath Cima Cordognè. This trail affords spectacular views of the Pala Group and of the turquoise waters of the Val Noana lake.