First you have to sweat a little, because the Rifugio Alpe San Romerio is located at 1,800 meters, which you have to climb on foot. Already the climb is worth the trip, because you hike through natural forests, breathe clean air and enjoy a wonderfully beautiful landscape. Once at the top, it gets better and better. It is not for nothing that the operators call themselves “gardeners of a small paradise”.
The mountain hut - built entirely from natural and sustainable materials - lives, cared for by an authentic and passionate service team, in the best sense combined with nature. From the double room "Crot" the panoramic view of the Italian Alps from the south window makes your heart beat faster before breakfast: if you are an early riser, you will see the sun rise over the southern Puschlav. From the window of the "Toni" double room you can see the summit of the "Cornasc".
In the Rifugio you soon realize that the simple things are enough to be happy. The full everyday life at home with its challenges and obligations fades into the background and you can just be. In nature, as part of it, in your rhythm. It is the vision of the operators to live exactly this. That is why they passionately carry on the traditions of alpine farming and are happy to give guests the opportunity to "Experience with others" - for example by hand-making a wooden stool. Activities such as hiking, yoga or mountain biking invite you to move.
The 1,000-year-old Romanesque church "San Remigio" is located directly on the site of the Rifugios offered a hostel. Many myths surround the church and original frescoes from the 16th century can be seen. It invites the inclined visitor to meditate. The little church of the Rifugios drones directly above the Lago di Poschiavo, the blue-green shimmering lake of the valley. On its banks is Poschiavo, which impresses with its pretty city center with its southern flair. The townscape features stone-roofed houses from the 16th to 19th centuries that have been carefully restored.
From the Alp you can see the famous circular viaduct of Brusio, around 1,000 meters below. It is a single-track, loop-shaped railway viaduct of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) and, as a symbol of the Bernina Railway, which runs through the Puschlav, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Another destination with the Rhaetian Railway is the large glacier garden of Cavaglia with its numerous glacier mills near the Rifugio.
ArchitectureThe Rifugio has existed for around 800 years, the foundations of the house itself were built over 200 years ago. When the current owner Gino Bongulielmi inherited the traditional alp from his uncle in the 5th generation 29 years ago, it consisted mainly of stables, hayloft and simple accommodation. After he had continued the alp business for six years with cheese, hay and catering to a few day guests, he began to renovate the old house by hand and built a simple but modern hostel in it. In more than 20 years, a sustainable Rifugio has emerged in several construction phases. The old building fabric was taken over and further built with simple materials from the alp like stone, wood and steel in order to maintain the simple but cozy character. This is the basic philosophy of Gino Bongulielmi. With stones, spruce needles, compost manure and the like, sustainable products and structures such as drainage, dry stone walls, crott (= traditional stone dome construction that serves as a natural refrigerator) were built and rebuilt. The rooms were designed by Gino, a trained carpenter, so the dominant material is wood. The style is straightforward and simple, color accents such as curtains or warm woolen blankets are set with a warm red and stone gray. The wood furnishings in combination with warm shades of red and gray create a cozy atmosphere.
FoodThe kitchen and dishes are characterized by a very high level of locally produced food and homemade specialties from the Puschlav region. The hosts strive to source as many products as possible locally from the Alpe or from the Puschlav in order to sustainably strengthen the regional economic cycle. Many of the dishes offered are only on the daily menu, as they are always freshly prepared, depending on the season and local availability. The company is a member of the Puschlaver quality seal "100% Valposchiavo" and as part of this offers some dishes prepared exclusively with Puschlaver ingredients. Salads, herbs, grains and vegetables are grown in the biodynamically planted gardens of the Alpe, which are naturally fertilized and watered from the cycle of the Alpe. The organic chickens can move freely and lay fresh eggs every day. All of these ingredients form the basis of the menu. A typical and naturally homemade dish is the delicious Älpler polenta with buckwheat flour, optionally with seasonal vegetables and mountain cheese or Gorgonzola, ragout or Lüganiga, a Puschlaver sausage that is either boiled or fried. In addition, there are other homemade specialties such as: barley soup, gnocchi with fresh nettles from the Alp, pizzoccheri, strozzapreti and spaetzle in various variations. Not to forget the delicious cakes and the Puschlaver ring bread. Finally, a Grappa San Romerio, a liquorice schnapps or an Amaretti with Grappa San Romerio. The kitchen always has a selection of vegetarian dishes.
The staff knows about the special conditions of an alpine farm in the accommodation sector: nature and guests set the pace and our often weather-dependent days are difficult to plan. The working time on the alp is not comparable to that in the valley, so the operators are in daily communication with the team. Due to the seasonal opening times, the employees are limited from May to October. As a rule, due to our withdrawn location, they have a commute to work of more than one hour, which is why each employee is provided with a small staff room on the alp. In high season everyone lives here together like a big family and spends a lot of time together. The entire team is very committed to the preservation of the alp and its cultural area: this includes the maintenance of forests, meadows and natural roads, as well as the source (spring fiber), and the maintenance and construction of dry stone walls, pastures and hiking trails. The 1,000 year old church "San Romerio" stands on the site of the Rifugios, after which the place got its name. The little church was formally owned by the Italian parish of Tirano, but was incorporated into the Swiss parish of Brusio in church use for church services. The operators of the Rifugio have taken on the cultural care and care for the listed church and take care of cleanliness, decoration of the sanctuary, planting of the outside area and minor repair work. They do all of this in their (free) time so that San Romerio is preserved as a meeting place for the local population and guests.
EnvironmentCreating a sustainable meeting place, sharing it with other people and providing for future generations has been an essential part of Gino Bongulielmi's mission from the beginning. With their daily work on the alp, the operators contribute to the protection and preservation of the nature of the valley: for example, forest and meadow maintenance, tending pastures with suckler cows in the period from June to October, natural fertilization of the earth and biodynamic horticulture to avoid monoculture. Knowledge about the biodynamic principles is gladly shared with the guests. Another basic principle at the hut is to avoid waste. Waste that cannot be avoided is separated: biologically usable waste is composted and used in our own mountain garden. Packaging material, glass and other reusable materials are added to the recycling cycle - in concrete terms this means that all this waste is brought down to the valley and collected there by the municipal waste disposal company. The guests are informed in a personal conversation and about information material on the special features of our energy generation and asked for careful consumption of water and electricity.
Well-BeingAbove the Rifugio, right on the edge of the forest and with a unique panoramic view from the Bernina Pass to the Italian Alps, the operators have built an outdoor yoga plateau out of stone and wood. It offers space for small groups (for example for yoga retreats) and can be used by each guest individually after consultation. In cooperation with a yoga teacher from the valley, outdoor yoga classes are offered on request.
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By car you can drive to Piaz, where there is a free parking lot. From there you walk approximately. 20 minutes to the alp. From Zurich it takes about 4 hours to Piaz (260 km), from Innsbruck also about 4 hours (240 km), from Milan about 3 hours (175 km) and from Munich it is almost 5.5 hours (327 km). You will receive the exact address and directions on booking.
Take the train (or Bernina Express) to Brusio. From there, a Postbus goes to Viano (reservation required). From Viano it's a 2 hour hike to San Romerio. Alternatively, a Postbus goes to Piaz, from there it takes about 20 minutes to the Alp.
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