Pictured: Bivouac Fanton, the incredible shelter for hikers perched 8,750ft up in Italy’s Dolomites


You’ll be hard-pushed to find lodgings in Italy with a better view than this – but you’ll need to work for it. 

A striking new hiking shelter has been built in the Dolomites at an elevation of 8,750ft (2,667m) – but endure the toil to reach it and you’ll be able to shelter from the weather and drink in a magnificent panorama of the Marmarole mountain group via a vast floor-to-ceiling window.

Incredible pictures show how the 34ft- (10.4m) long hut, called New Bivouac Fanton [bivouac means encampment], sits improbably on the edge of a ridge in truly wild and remote terrain. In one image it actually looks like it’s tumbling down the mountain. 

The New Bivouac Fanton, pictured, offers an incredible panorama of the Marmarole mountain group

The shelter sits on the edge of the Forcella Marmarole pass at an elevation of 8,750ft (2,667m)

The shelter sits on the edge of the Forcella Marmarole pass at an elevation of 8,750ft (2,667m)

The set-up, the combination of the shelter’s silvery angled design and the extreme terrain, has a definite sci-fi feel to it. 

The purpose of the bivouac, which sits by the Forcella Marmarole pass, is to offer hikers refuge from the elements – and they can stay the night without needing to book ahead. It’s free and open 24 hours a day.

Up to 12 people can be accommodated in the cosy 323 sq ft (30 m sq) interior, which is lined with individual bunks and storage space. Layers of fibreglass insulate them from the wind and cold, but there is no running water or toilet, so guests answering the call of nature will need to face the elements.

The shelter was commissioned by the Auronzo section of Club Alpino Italiano (CAI), which oversees shelters and hiking trails in the area and works to protect the Alpine environment. 

The set-up, the combination of the shelter's silvery angled design and the extreme terrain, has a definite sci-fi feel to it

The set-up, the combination of the shelter’s silvery angled design and the extreme terrain, has a definite sci-fi feel to it 

In this image, it looks as though the shelter is tumbling down the mountain. Design studio Demogo says: 'Externally, its formal appearance takes on the features of a rough-hewn volume suspended on a bristling cliff'

In this image, it looks as though the shelter is tumbling down the mountain. Design studio Demogo says: ‘Externally, its formal appearance takes on the features of a rough-hewn volume suspended on a bristling cliff’

The shelter was officially opened in August of this year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the town of Auronzo

The shelter was officially opened in August of this year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the town of Auronzo

The spectacular design is the handiwork of Italian studio Demogo, which first unveiled its drawings of the shelter in 2015. Construction got underway three years later.

According to the CAI, a previous attempt to place a shelter – the similarly titled Bivouac Fanton – where New Bivouac Fanton was constructed ended in failure, with strong winds forcing the helicopter manoeuvring it into position to “place it momentarily” in the upper Val Baion [a nearby valley], ‘where it then remained’. 

Eventually, years of wear rendered the original bivouac unusable, so the CAI set out to replace it. 

‘It is an unstable equilibrium,' Italian design studio Demogo says of the striking design

‘It is an unstable equilibrium,’ Italian design studio Demogo says of the striking design

The shelter sleeps up to 12 people, with layers of fibreglass insulating visitors from the wind and cold

The cosy wooden interior of New Bivouac Fanton is lined with bunks and storage space

The shelter sleeps up to 12 people, with layers of fibreglass insulating visitors from the wind and cold. The cosy wooden interior (right) is lined with bunks and storage space

The purpose of the shelter, which sits by the Forcella Marmarole pass, is to offer hikers refuge from the elements - and they can stay the night without needing to book ahead. It's free and open 24 hours a day

The purpose of the shelter, which sits by the Forcella Marmarole pass, is to offer hikers refuge from the elements – and they can stay the night without needing to book ahead. It’s free and open 24 hours a day 

The ‘New Bivouac Fanton’ also proved difficult to position. 

The shell of the new shelter was transported from a sports field in the town of Auronzo via helicopter last September, according to Corriere delle Alpi. The mission reportedly failed twice due to bad weather, but its third effort was successful. 

The interior of the structure was built this summer, and it was officially opened in August with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Auronzo.  

‘It is an unstable equilibrium,’ Demogo says of the design. 

The shelter is southeast of the highest peak in the Marmarole, the 2,932m- (9,619ft) high Cimon del Froppa

The shelter is southeast of the highest peak in the Marmarole, the 2,932m- (9,619ft) high Cimon del Froppa 

The studio adds: ‘Externally, its formal appearance takes on the features of a rough-hewn volume suspended on a bristling cliff.’

To reach the shelter, hikers can take the ski lift from the nearest town, Auronzo di Cadore, up to the point where the Marmarole trails begin. The shelter is southeast of the highest peak in the Marmarole, the 2,932m- (9,619ft) high Cimon del Froppa.

Demogo says: ‘The route to arrive there, which is around four to five hours and a 5,249ft (1,600m) elevation gain, can be challenging, therefore it’s suggested for experienced hikers.’ According to Hike Uno, the nearest refuge to New Bivouac Fanton is ‘Rifugio Primula’, a five-hour hike away.



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