09/25/2012 - 07:38

having just looked at some fab photos of Rifugio Franchetti in Abruzzo, I'm formulating a plan to visit some/all of the refuges in my area of S Marche/Abruzzo. There are several problems with this:1. I'm about as fit as Bernard Manning was2. I am NOT a mountaineer3. I have no idea what the etiquette in refuges is: what if there are more people than beds? Do you take your own food? What is the most acceptable stuff (food, drink etc) to take to share?4. What's accessibility like? Probably the most remote are the most beautiful, but how close can you get by mechanical means?On the plus side, I possess a pair of walking boots and a love of the mountains!Any grizzled old mountain hands out there who would care to comment (or the not-so-grizzled...)All comments gratefully received



Just to give you an idea Anne of how things go in the "park".Some time ago i received a mail from a group of experienced (and elderly!) walkers who were planning to stay here and visit all the peaks in the sibillini and use the refuges.They required to know; if the single refuges were open during their dates,which if any provided food,any costs involved.Fair enough but they had been unable to glean this info from the official web site and had asked me to find out for them.(At that time I was unable to find an e-mail for the park "which worked" i believe they now have one.) so i sent a fax.Over 1 month later i received a computer written letter from the president (of the park) who in a complex verbose way explained they were unable to tell me!!!!due to the fact that this information could only be given to me by each single comune to which each refuge belonged!!!??( assuming you know which comune covers where!).You don't want to be on a peak of a mountain in a storm and find a cardboard sign saying refuge closed till 15th april or something,just as you don't want to take a load of food only to find a restaurant up there (like refugio città di Amandola)..maybe it's better organized in Abruzzo?

I know in the Sibillinis there lots of diferent types of rifugi as Sebastiano says. Some have restaurants and even double rooms. Some you can drive to and some you need to hike to. Some are just shacks where the key is always available and are meant to shelter you from harsh weather (rather than a leisure destinantion) so you'd need to bring all food/sleeping stuff etc. Nearly all are run by the means of a societa/cooperativo who bid to run them and usually get paid a small amount to do so. This is of course becoming less frequent due to the budget cuts so I'm not sure you'll find them all open. Your best starting point would be the CAI in whichever area you want the visit. The Sibillini national park is pretty useless in our experience at this sort of thing. Various sectors of CAI sometimes run the rifugi but if they don't they will definitely know who does. We know most of the ones in the Sibillinis and have phone numbers (somewhere - have to dig them out...) for them from our cycling business days. I hope you're not planning this anytime soon Anne? It'll be snowy up there very shortly if not already!

Good luck Annec. There is no finer way of exploring the high mountains of Italy than doing a Rifugi tour. Have used lots of them in the Dollies but, alas, while we were in Abruzzo it was always a case of we can go any time we want or, if we did manage to get away from the tyrany of the orto, we'd get up there & the weather would go all wobbly. Consequently I never got to do the glorious chain of peaks that gave me an ever changing grandstand view every day. So, no in-depth advice other than if it's called a Rifugio then food & drink is always obtainable (if it's open so check in advance) but beds need to be booked. If it's called a Bivacco then it's an unmanned timber lined tin box that sleeps six at a pinch, some of them not very savory. Good luck, write it up & lets see the photos. Pilch Pilch