An unusual history: the huts of the engineer Daverio in Val d’Otro

2020 in Alagna started off with a bang with the project of the Union of Alagnese and FAI for the redevelopment of the Scarpia refuges: it is an important project that will provide an adequate location for the assets donated 30 years ago by the engineer Mr Arialdo to the Alagna cultural association.

Perfectly preserved Walser architecture from the seventeenth century, the refuges of  Daverio di Otro are a heritage to be protected and its value appreciated as a direct testimony of culture, which characterizes the history and unique and exceptional identity of this area. Thanks to the agreement with FAI, the refuges of Daverio will be renovated and restored and their historical and traditional functions reinstated. They will become the premises of a tangible and accessible testimony centred around the millennial civilization that populated these valleys.

The rooms will be set and rearranged with furnishings and objects that testify and reflect daily life, culture and tradition, to offer visitors a live experience of an unedited, engaging and educational tour of a typical Walser cabin at high altitudes. The refuges will once again become a living, inhabited and productive place, which aims to revive agriculture and breeding livestock following not only ancient tradition but also contemporary sustainability, which the Walser was able to combine in a harmonious balance between man, nature and landscape.

FAI’s commitment to Alagna is part of a new long-term venture: “The Alpe Project. Italy above 600 meters”. It refers to an awareness and action campaign that will lead the Foundation to intervene, particularly regarding assets located in the upper territory of areas in the country which, today, unfortunately, suffer in a demographic, social and economic crisis. These are the areas that keep intact a rich patrimony from a historical, natural, cultural, landscape, and above all human point of view, all of which are fundamental for the future of Italy.

Reaching an agreement with Fai was a lengthy endeavour for the Unione Alagnese but it was a happy and much-desired choice since it is intimately connected to the will of the donor.
Daverio was an incredible person: engineer, fond of alpine architecture, patron, free spirit, in all, he was a man of great culture.
By donating his assets, he left Unione Alagnese a difficult task because he asked the association to pass on his heritage to future generations, to educate them and make the inhabitants of the mountains aware of the value of Walser architecture and the importance of alpine culture.

“Daverio has enriched us all,” says Anna Gualdi, president of the Alagnese Union, “not only because he has given our homes an economic value but above all, because he has taught us to have respect for our past and to believe in our future”.

With this foreword, and considering the widespread work of revaluation and promotion of the Italian artistic and cultural heritage done by FAI, they are undoubtedly the ideal partner for such an important venture for Alagna.

Everyday Fai provides all of us the opportunity to become patrons of special places, just like Daverio has been able to do with Alagna. It provides the tools so that our commitment can be passed on to future generations. It seems as if we can hear Daverio’s voice: conservation for the future, education and love for our past.

This deal couldn’t have been any better.

Did we give you an incredible desire to go to Otro to see the start of construction?

In Otro you can stay at the Refuge Zar Senni, in the hamlet of Follu, a rustic setting but managed with love by Ivana. You can book an apartment in Zam Hus, in Feglierec, where Giulia always welcomes you with a sparkling smile. Or ask for the Baitello dei Tre Alberi Liberi in Scarpia. Hint: ask Elena, the hostess, to leave some of her little apricot tarts in your room for when you arrive. You will never want to leave