Cervinia - Val d'Aosta

Montagna
Europe
Italy
Val d'Aosta Cervino

When you think of the Italian Alps, you probably think of one of the top destinations there, Breuil-Cervinia, a favorite with skiers the world over. 

When you think of the Italian Alps, you probably think of one of the top destinations there, Breuil-Cervinia, a favorite with skiers the world over. At an altitude of 2050 meters above sea level, on a broad plateau surrounded by very high mountains that reach over 4000 meters, starting with the Cervino which rises above this pretty village.

The 4 seasons

The end of the valley of Valtournenche is an open view of the Breuil area which is almost a plain at altitude, a plateau that in the past was an enormous high altitude meadow with a number of streams which join each other as they rush down from the peaks all around.  In the local patois or dialect, in fact, Breuil means the “land of many waters” . Today Breuil Cervinia attracts tourists and sports enthusiasts both in winter and in summer. Skiing is the main attraction for most, to be enjoyed in its many different forms. You can take the ski lifts that are just a few meters from the center of and reach the glacier of Plateau Rosà, on the Italian-Swiss border at an altitude of 3480 meters. From here you can ski down to 1600 meters of Valtournenche: a difference of almost 2000 meters to ski down in all in one go!

Freestylers on their snowboards and skis put their courage and skill to the test in the Rythmotheque Indian Park. There are both rail and kicker structures to tempt the fans into the craziest of acrobatics. If you don’t feel ready for this kind of entertainment, then you can take a more gradual approach and take it easy at Cervinia Cool Park, close to the town center. And if speed on skis is just not enough for you,  then you can try the Icekarting rink, easily reached on foot, just outside the town center. Accelerate, sideslip, countersteer and control the power of these fast karts - this will make for exciting challenge and duels with friends or racing against the clock. An there is also a 3 kilometer cross country skiing ring and an ice rink for open air skating, heli-skiing opportunities, dog drawn sled rides and during the clear winter nights with a full moon, downhill descents by night. Departure is from the refuges high up the mountain after a fine meal among friends.  


The resort of Cervinia does not stop here, however, even in summer there is plenty to do. The glacier slopes can still be used in summertime and are kept in great condition. Further down the valley though, snow gives way to grass, moss and mountain flowers and each day of your holiday offers something new. Boredom is just not on the agenda here. There are great picnic areas with all the necessary equipment for children to play and for great outdoor days with the whole family. Not to mention the excursions, hikes, horseback riding for adults and children wishing to discover the freedom and nature of the high mountain life where you can see marmots, chamois roebuck and eagles.

What to do

The end of the valley of Valtournenche is an open view of the Breuil area which is almost a plain at altitude, a plateau that in the past was an enormous high altitude meadow with a number of streams which join each other as they rush down from the peaks all around.  In the local patois or dialect, in fact, Breuil means the “land of many waters” . Today Breuil Cervinia attracts tourists and sports enthusiasts both in winter and in summer. Skiing is the main attraction for most, to be enjoyed in its many different forms. You can take the ski lifts that are just a few meters from the center of and reach the glacier of Plateau Rosà, on the Italian-Swiss border at an altitude of 3480 meters. From here you can ski down to 1600 meters of Valtournenche: a difference of almost 2000 meters to ski down in all in one go! Freestylers on their snowboards and skis put their courage and skill to the test in the Rythmotheque Indian Park. There are both rail and kicker structures to tempt the fans into the craziest of acrobatics. If you don’t feel ready for this kind of entertainment, then you can take a more gradual approach and take it easy at Cervinia Cool Park, close to the town center. And if speed on skis is just not enough for you,  then you can try the Icekarting rink, easily reached on foot, just outside the town center. Accelerate, sideslip, countersteer and control the power of these fast karts - this will make for exciting challenge and duels with friends or racing against the clock.

An there is also a 3 kilometer cross country skiing ring and an ice rink for open air skating, heli-skiing opportunities, dog drawn sled rides and during the clear winter nights with a full moon, downhill descents by night. Departure is from the refuges high up the mountain after a fine meal among friends.  
The resort of Cervinia does not stop here, however, even in summer there is plenty to do. The glacier slopes can still be used in summertime and are kept in great condition. Further down the valley though, snow gives way to grass, moss and mountain flowers and each day of your holiday offers something new. Boredom is just not on the agenda here. There are great picnic areas with all the necessary equipment for children to play and for great outdoor days with the whole family. Not to mention the excursions, hikes, horseback riding for adults and children wishing to discover the freedom and nature of the high mountain life where you can see marmots, chamois roebuck and eagles.

Golf

Open since 1955, at an altitude of 2050 meters, the Golf Club del Cervino is certainly among the highest in Europe. The course was designed by Donald Harradine and originally had 9 holes but now has 18 superb holes in a truly unique naturalistic context with just the Cervino and a few marmot as spectators. And although  it is quite easy to be distracted by the views the course is an interesting one with a  PAR 69 of 5300 meters, technically quite challenging at this altitude and  with simply perfectly tended fairways on gentle slopes. The course will be the venue for an important Alps tour/Italian pro tour competition at the end of August. Instructors are available for lessons and access to the practice area.

Gourmet

Local cuisine is obviously linked to the Val D’Aosta traditions. The recipes reflect the simplicity of the products they are based on, the genuinity of their provenance and their processing. Recipes and dishes of country and mountain origin have the ingredients mostly from herds and flocks, like the cheese.

Starting with the tasty Fontina, made exclusively in this valley, the Val D’Aosta, made from milk from cows that live solely in these regions.  Fontina has been known since the distant 13th century and ever since  the cheese has lent its unmistakable flavor to many dishes. The ones where your read “alla valdostana” such as risotto,  crespelle, pork cutlets, polenta, have Fontina as a fundamental ingredient that just cannot be left out. Among the superb dishes, a special mention is deserved by the fondue, or fonduta valdostana. This is melted Fontina with egg yolks and is typically served with bread croutons or polenta to dip into the fondue.

The conquest of the Matterhorn

The unmistakable pyramid shape of the Cervino as it stands out against the sky has fired man’s imagination since ancient times. The conquest of a peak that for centuries was considered unreachable and which some legends marked out as possessed by demons has been considered as one of the greatest mountaineering feats worldwide and a story worth telling in a number of books, plays and films such as the 1938 Luis Trenker film, “The Challenge”, which tells the dramatized version of the conquest of the Cervino or Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and Jean-Antoine Carrel in 1865.
The true story is that it was a challenge between the two mountaineers, the first English and the latter Italian. When Whymper saw the Cervino for the first time in 1861, he was totally bewitched by it.


He contacted Jean Antoine Carrel, who was also interested in the endeavor, so as to organize the expedition. However they were unable to reach an agreement as to how to handle it. 


Whymper attempted his single-handed ascent from the Swiss side with the help of just one Bernese guide. But he failed.  
Carrel also tried, from the Italian side. He got higher up than the Englishmen but did not get to the top. There were many other attempts by the two rival mountaineers from both Swiss and Italian sides of the apparently unconquerable mount. Finally Whymper won on 14 July 1865 he got to the peak from the Zermatt side, by opening a path along the Hörnli crest. But the outcome was sadly tragic as during the ascent four members of the team perished. Carrel had been charged with reaching the summit from Quintino Sella by the recently established Club Alpino Italiano.
The day Whymper beat him to the post, Carrel was just a few hundred meters from the top too, but on the Italian side. He failed to reach his goal. He managed three days later by a far more difficult path he had opened from Breuil along Cresta del Leone.

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