What does sustainability mean at an altitude of 2000 m?
Today I will take you through a fantastic itinerary in the Orobie mountains to discover a hut in which the keepers apply to their everyday life and work the concept of sustainable tourism

I went to Rifugio Grassi (between Lecco and Bergamo province of Italy) for the first time three years ago: I found a beautiful place in which nature is respected and where you can breathe profoundly fresh and pure air. The presence of the hut has not a negative impact on the fragile alpine environment, and it is now an integral part of it: a rare example of cooperation between man and nature; the first is accepted because does not try to destroy the second.

Rifugio Grassi - Lombardy - Italy
Rifugio Grassi – Lombardy – Italy

The human presence is calmly felt thanks to the keepers’ choices; first of all, they use only local and organic products to cook meals for them and for their guests: their dishes are delicious and genuine! When it is possible they buy food from local suppliers – for example the cheese you can taste comes directly from the farms near the hut -, they use vegetables grown in their garden and they bake bread and cakes with organic flours, they prepare everything themselves and they do not buy tinned or packed food. They use spring water that is analyzed every year, and they try not to buy plastic bottles of water. These aspects help to encourage local and traditional production and not to gather a tremendous amount of rubbish!

To clean dishes and clothes, they use detergents made with natural ingredients (no chemical ones) that have not harmful consequences on the surrounding environment and its inhabitants (animals, insects, flowers, herbs).
Rifugio Grassi is open every day from 12th June to 15th September and on weekends all year round.

sustainable tourism in Italy - Lombardy

How to get there
Rifugio Grassi can be reached only on foot: there are several paths you can follow: I experienced two of them. The most beautiful and panoramic is the one that starts at Piani di Bobbio; you can take the cableway from Barzio (in Valsassina) to Piani di Bobbio: the path n° 101 begins there; it is well indicated, and in about 2hours and 30minutes leads you to the hut. It is essential to wear proper shoes because in some points the path is narrow and sometimes you have to climb small rocks.
The other itinerary to follow starts from Introbio. In essence, from there you can reach Valbiandino in two hours (this path can also be covered by MTB) and after Rifugio Grassi walking 1hour and 30minutes.

I suggest visiting the website of the hut www.rifugiograssi.it to read about the keepers’ initiatives and proposals.

Carlotta Bargellini