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Mountain trips and mountain pastures where to eat

From the Formazza Valley in Piedmont to the Malabotta Forest in Sicily

Mountain trips and mountain pastures where to eat From the Formazza Valley in Piedmont to the Malabotta Forest in Sicily

Autumn and winter often rhyme with mountains. Put on comfortable shoes and warm clothes and get ready to immerse yourself in nature. And don't panic, you don't have to be a professional mountaineer or athlete to enjoy a day in nature at high altitude. You just need to be ready to spend a few hours outdoors admiring breathtaking views, lakes with clear water, wild plants, animals roaming freely in their habitat and plenty of good food. This is the detail that usually convinces even the laziest people to visit Italy's many mountains: all the traditional local dishes eaten in romantic or spartan mountain huts and malghe.

G-Club has selected a series of routes, places and malghe where you can enjoy the mountains and their good food.

Val Formazza – Piedmont

Where it is located: It is the northernmost of the Ossola valleys, in Piedmont

What to see and do: Val Formazza harbours many treasures: from the countless hiking trails that allow even the less experienced to reach great heights, to the whitewashed mountains that become the perfect place for a thousand outdoor activities in winter. The ideal route should include Lake Castel, the 5-hut tour, the ancient Walser settlements and the majestic Toce waterfall, which at a spectacular 143 metres is the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

Where to eat: Rifugio Bimse Morasco, a former complex used for the construction of the Morasco dam in the 1930s. You can spend the night here and eat venison stew with polenta, egg pasta served with venison stew or mushrooms and ice cream with warm blueberries.

Cervinia Blue Lake - Aosta Valley

Where is it located: in Valtournenche, on the border between the Aosta Valley and Switzerland, five minutes from Cervinia, at an altitude of 1980 metres

What to see and do: Although it is quite small, Lake Layet is one of the 10 most beautiful lakes in Italy and is better known as the Blue Lake. It owes its nickname to its very clear, cobalt-coloured water (a colour that comes from a particular type of algae on the bottom) and the bulges in which the snow-capped Matterhorn (4478 m) is reflected. After admiring and savouring this panorama between heather-covered slopes and rhododendron-covered fir trees, many extend the excursion to the Busserailles caves, Lake Maen. If you fancy more, you can also visit Torgnon, known as "the "village of the sun"

Where to eat: Alpage Restaurant, typical dishes from the Aosta Valley in a rustic setting with exposed stones and cowbells hanging from the wooden ceiling. We recommend trying the fresh pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, the Alpage soup and the wild boar stew with rustic polenta.

Valley of the Sphinxes - Veneto

Where it is located: It is an area in the Lessinia Regional Nature Park in the province of Verona

What to see and do: The Sphinxes of Veneto have nothing to do with the Egyptian sphinxes, of course, but they are mysterious natural rock sculptures that can be found in the Lessinia Regional Park. This is where tradition, history and unspoilt nature meet. Both trekking fans and non-experts who enjoy hiking can set off from the village of Camposilvano, stop off at the Camposilvano Geopalaeontological Museum and perhaps visit a huge cave, the Covolo Cave.

Where to eat: Rifugio Lausen, you can spend the night and eat in this historic hut. Among other things, you can enjoy Malaga gnocchi with smoked ricotta, goulash with polenta, dumplings with Lessinia cheese cream and apple strudel.

Chestnut trail - South Tyrol

Where to find it: A path about 90 kilometres long that winds through the chestnut groves of the Isarco Valley, from Novacella Abbey in Bressanone to Roncolo Castle in Bolzano.

Worth seeing: It is beautiful at any time of year, but is particularly fascinating in autumn during the foliage season. The Keschtnweg trail is divided into 4 stages that branch out between old chestnut groves, deciduous trees, meadows and old cobbled streets. Don't miss the Abbey of the Augustinian Canons of Novacella on the banks of the Isarco, the Sabiona Monastery, also known as the Acropolis of Tyrol, and the Atzwanger Aussicht viewpoint, from where you have a great view of a large part of the Dolomites. If you want to rest or break up the hike on a weekend, you can stop to sample typical dishes or spend the night at one of the small farms you come across along the way.

Where to eat: Osteria Griesserhof, a mix of German and Italian cuisine, from classic speck and cheese to Kaminwurzen, from barley soup to dumplings, from Surfleisch-Finno to Kaiserschmarrn.

Reserve of the Sagittario Gorge - Abruzzo

Where it is located: It is located in the municipality of Anversa degli Abruzzi and includes the valley that the river crosses from the San Domenico dam in Villalago to Cocullo.

What to see and do: The Sagittario Gorge winds its way along beautiful hiking trails, which led to it being declared a WWF Oasis Regional Nature Reserve in 1991. The spectacular gorge, created by the erosion of the river of the same name, has transformed this place into an unspoilt natural paradise with villages, valleys, steep peaks and hills to discover.

Where to eat: Locanda Nido dell'Aquila, a family-run farmhouse with a panoramic restaurant with an infinity pool and mountain views.

Unesco World Biosphere Reserve Monte Peglia - Umbria

Where is it located: It is located in the province of Terni, between the river basins of the Tiber, which borders it to the east, and the Peglia river to the west

What to see: The Monte Peglia area was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2018. The best way to enjoy nature is to "get lost" among holm oaks, turkey oaks, maple trees and other characteristic plant species. There are many possible routes, e.g. the old path from the small village of Poggio Aquilone into the reserve to reach Parrano and the thermal springs of "Tane del Diavolo".

Where to eat: Da Angelino e Peppa, few frills and good food. Try the goose gnocchi, lamb giblets, polenta with wild boar and truffle tagliatelle.

Forest of Malabotta - Sicily

Where it is located: in the province of Messina, in the Nebrodi Mountains, where it extends over five municipalities and covers an area of 3,222 hectares

What to see and do: Nestled between the municipalities of Montalbano Elicona, Mojo Alcantara, Roccella Valdemone, Tripi and Malvagna, the Malabotta Forest is one of the oldest forests in Sicily. A walk in it is a real immersion in nature, among centuries-old plants such as downy oaks, sessile oaks, beeches, chestnuts and hollies. Many animals can be encountered during the visit. From hares, martens and foxes to porcupines, peregrine falcons and golden eagles.

Where to eat: La Sciarbonata, home cooking. Try the homemade pasta alla norma or pork sauce, mixed grill and meatballs with wild fennel.