Nuvolau: a rifugio dating back to 1883

It’s always fun to explore new areas, no matter where you are in the world. When an opportunity arises for a walk organiser and Collett’s guests to venture out on a new route together, it’s even better.  Haus Valentin offered a day to Nuvolau this week to see the oldest Rifugio in the Dolomites  – perched on the end of a rock face, surrounded by mountains rich in history and dating back to 1883, who wouldn’t want to investigate?


Another dramatic day on the mountains awaited us as we climbed our way up the Falzarego Pass. Clouds parted and lifted, offering quick views of the high peaks, before lowering again. As we made our way up the gentle ascent from the pass, Avarau appeared offering a clear view of the area we aimed to cover before lunch. James and Maura, my company for the day, enjoyed the many flowers still in bloom – it still amazes me that they manage to grow in such rocky outcrops with little soil.

Gentians in their masses


It didn’t take us long to reach Rifugio Avarau after a small amount of scrambling. I kept my eyes peeled for Edelweiss as we traversed around the tall standing peak to the left of us and the clouds slowly lifted as we stopped for a drink.  We all agreed that it would be rude to walk straight past the Rifugio without sampling the delicious cake on offer. Besides, we needed the energy boost to get us to the top!

Setting off again, I pointed out the Nuvolau Rifugio which could now be seen perched on the end of the rocks. Soon enough, we were upon it and suddenly the views opened up all around us. I was instantly hit by the smell of freshly barbequed sausages – something that couldn’t be resisted, despite the recently devoured cake. With no time constraints we all enjoyed a leisurely lunch outside; the clouds continued to create fascinating patterns, balancing perfectly on top of Col di Lana and the surrounding mountains. The inside of the Rifugio was quaint and definitely had an old age feel about it – a place I could definitely imagine spending a cosy evening with a hot chocolate with a great view of the sunset.

Views from Nuvolau


With a few hours to spare in the afternoon, I suggested we stroll over to Cinque Torri (the five towers) which can only really be appreciated close-up. The sun hit the towers just at the right moment for James to capture a good photograph and Maura said just how glad she was that we had extended the walk. It was lovely to share one of my favourite areas in the Dolomites with guests who equally appreciate the view.

Guests James and Maura descending Nuvolau, on route to Cinque Torri


Feeling bad that I hadn’t managed to spot any Edelweiss on our walk, I was about to apologise to Maura. But would you believe it, upon reaching the Falzarego Pass where our walk ended, small seedlings were on sale… that counts, right? What a perfect ending to such an enjoyable day!

  1. Hi Kelly,
    Just having a break at work and decided to check out your blog and felt I must let you know that it is really impressive. You clearly have a flair for this type of thing.
    Weather in the UK has been poor since we got back and our time in the Dolomites seems like it was ages ago. It was great to read your account of what, for us, was one of the highlights of the holiday. We are already talking about a return trip for next June/ July when we should get more flowers.
    Good luck for the future- you never know, we might bump into each other again.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hi James! That is so lovely of you to take the time to both read my blog and leave a comment. It’s really great to hear you are already planning your next trip to the Dollies – hopefully I will be here again when you come back. I hope you are both well – say hello to Maura for me. Take care! P.S We had 5 inches of snow over night last night… brrrr!

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