REFUGE OSPIZIO SOTTILE
Ospizio Sottile is an alpine refuge located at 2,480 meters, right on the Colle Valdobbia saddle, located between the Val Vogna, a side valley of the more famous Valsesia and the Gressoney valley.
The building that houses the structure is a beautiful stone and wood structure, dating back to 1823, when the canon Nicolao Sottile decided to build the Hospice, to replace the small stable and the chapel built in the mid-eighteenth century as an emergency shelter. for travelers.
Since ancient times, this pass was crossed by both migrants and traders who traveled the Grande Strada d'Aosta (the ancient Via Regia), an important artery that connected the lands of the Duchy of Milan with the Aosta Valley. France and Switzerland.
In winter, the transit from the hill was very difficult and risky, due to adverse weather conditions and frequent avalanches that caused many victims. For this reason the canon Sottile, also the son of emigrants, following a disgrace in 1820, decided to build a safer refuge, giving life to the first Hospice, the highest in the Alps.
In 1831 the Sottile Hospice was sold to the municipality and to Riva Valdobbia and in 1871 it acquired greater importance with the establishment of the Colle di Valdobbia weather-rological observatory, the first in Piedmont.
In 2000 the building was completely renovated, becoming an important base for trekking and mountain lovers who travel the paths between Val Vogna and Valle del Lys.
On the ground floor there is a large heated living room used as a dining and relaxation area. On the upper floors there are 4 bedrooms for 2 and 4 people and a larger dormitory with 12 beds. The beds are all bunk beds, equipped with warm duvets. The two bathrooms are equipped with 2 showers with hot water. The kitchen offers typical homemade dishes treated in detail by the refugee Simone Polenghi, with raw materials at km0 or from mountain farms known in his previous experiences.
The Refuge is open from the beginning of June until the end of August.
Located in a wild and uncontaminated alpine environment, rich in fauna and breathtaking landscapes, the Ospizio Sottile refuge is an excellent base for exploring the beauties of Val Vogna. In fact, there are numerous more or less demanding excursions that can be made in the surrounding area.
Among these we point out the ascent to the Red Crest, 2986m, to Corno Valdobbia, 2755m and to Punta Carestia (or Corno Rosso), 2979m, of a more mountaineering nature, as well as simpler excursions such as that to Lake Balma and Alpe Larecchio. (path201c) and the path of the Wayfarer is an interesting loop between the Gressoney Valley and Val Vogna, which retraces the historic path of wayfarers.
Also on the route of the Via Alpina and the Sentiero Italia.
Access to the refuge can be made both from the town of Riva Valdobbia (VC) in Piedmont and from the town of Gressoney S. Jean in Val d'Aosta.
In the first case, it starts from Sant'Antonino, a small hamlet of Riva Valdobbia. Along the dirt road that leads to Peccia, a pretty Walser settlement, near the ancient Napoleonic bridge, turn right towards Alpe Larecchio, climbing an ancient mule track. Leave the path to the alp on the left and continue to the right going up the valley to the refuge.
From Gressoney Saint Jean, passing the Weissmatten ski lifts square and the first houses in Valdobbia, take path no. 11 for the Colle di Valdobbia.