The two new rifugisti, running the alpine hut, want to make it more welcoming to young people, schools and summer camps, and aim to attract more diversified guests
Mountain walkers on Resegone can breathe a sigh of relief: the rifugio "Capanna Alpinisti Monzesi" is open again since July with a new management, headed by Angelo and Valentina, who took over from Luigi Pozzebon, who moved to the “Rifugio Bertacchi” in the San Giacomo Valley. His departure in early May had raised fears that the "Capanna Alpinisti Monzesi", or "Capanna Monza", might remain closed right in the summer, when many visitors, coming from Erve village along the “Fonte S. Carlo" path, or with the shorter and steeper variant called" Pra di Ratt", reach the mountain hut, located at 1,173 m. above sea level on the southern slopes of Mount Resegone, just below the Fò Pass.
While searching for a new manager, the Club Alpino Italiano (www.cai.it) - Italy's premier mountaineering organization, owner of the hut through the local Section of Monza - decided to sell the surface rights of the estate for a period of 15 – 20 years. A kind of contract more challenging than the usual leasing, but also providing greater possibilities and continuity in the management of the rifugio for those who want to invest in the new business, as Angelo and Valentina decided to do, taking up the challenge.
You were previously running another alpine hut near Lecco. Why did you decide to change?
"We stayed at the “Rifugio Elisa”, on the northern Grigna. Angelo managed it for three years, plus a year in which he helped the previous manager; I have supported for the last two, "says Valentina. "It was an experience without which we could not even think to approach the management of the “Capanna Monza”; there we learned a lot about how to run a rifugio - which is not a hotel nor a restaurant - and we also learned what it really means to be a 'rifugista', i.e. the manager of such a business, although both are convinced that there must be a kind of natural talent to do this job. We decided to change because we wanted to "make the leap", let the 'rifugista' be our core business and therefore it was necessary to seek a rifugio with greater accessibility, in order to be able to host a greater number of people ".
How was the procedure?
"We participated in the call for tender launched by the CAI Section of Monza for the management of the hut. Since the proposal included the purchase of the surface rights, there were many steps that led us to be selected by the CAI".
Which are your plans?
"For now, our goal is to do a good job as rifugisti here, ensuring a warm welcome to all. We would like to make the “Capanna” increasingly welcoming to children, young people and schools, perhaps by offering hospitality for summer camps, or at least trying to attract a large number of more diversified visitors".
Which kind of guests have you had in the first period of your activity at the “Capanna Monza”: local people, tourists from other provinces, foreigners?
"For the most part, they come from the Brianza area, Calolziocorte, Lecco and Milan. We also hosted some foreigners from different countries in Europe. "
To manage an alpine hut you must already have certain skills or do you learn by working?
"Surely it is a 'profession' that is acquired on the field, through the direct experience in the various areas that the 'rifugista' must be able to manage. In our view, however, there is also a specific skill that one must have for doing this job ".
To run a ‘rifugio’ means to live in it: are you happy with this experience or do you have any regrets?
"Certainly now, after only a month and a half, we cannot draw up a balance. But definitely we do not regret our choice. "
The rifugio has a large terrace with stone tables for 50 seats and an indoor dining room for another 50 people, and is equipped with 42 beds. It is open daily from June to mid September, while in the rest of the year it will be open on weekends and on two additional days to be defined. For further info, see the Facebook page and the website (http://www.capannamonza.it under construction) or contact via email or phone.
Opened in 1911 in a position just above the current one,the “Capanna Monza” was destroyed by a fire in the fall of 1944 and rebuilt after the war. Since 2004, it has undergone renovations completed in 2007 with the support of many members and non-members of the CAI, volunteers, climbers and businesses, who provided support and materials.
The “Capanna Alpinisti Monzesi “ is also famous as the arrival of the “Monza Resegone”, the foot race taking place every year late June in the night, starting from the “Arengario” in Monza and ending after 42 kilometers and 1,000 m. of elevation gain in a time of maximum six hours. The competition celebrated the 55th edition this year with the participation of 300 teams and 900 athletes.
The “Capanna” can be reached from: Erve (1 hour 50 min.), the “Rifugio Stoppani” (2 hours) and Piani d'Erna (1 hour). It can be the starting point for treks to the “Rifugio Azzoni”, on the Resegone at 1,860 m. (2 hours) along a challenging path, to Morterone, Carevi (Valsecca) through the Passata, the “Pertusino” inn through the Passata, Mount Magnodeno and Piani d’Erna.
TEL: 0341 604 595 - Angelo: 334 2903354