Trentino-Dolomites-Mountain Hut ‘the Twelve’

Dolomites, Mountain Hut ‘Refuge the Twelve’

During the Brenta Trekking in 2012, one place was strikingly beautiful. We crossed a pass, descended on the snow with beautiful rock formations, hallucinating views and at the end of the slope there was this mountain hut called refuge “the twelve.”

Dolomites, the way to mountain hut refuge the Twelve

Mountain Hut surrounded by the most beautiful mountain passes of the Brenta Dolomites

I never forgot the name and the place, this beautifully situated mountain hut, surrounded by the most awesome passes of the Brenta Dolomites was on my wish list to publish at our vacation website. A coincidental encounter during a ski trip, with the manager of the hut, led to a collaboration and provided me access to the history of the refuge, a beautiful story that I translated for you.

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Brenta Trekking, a break in Mountain Hut the Twelve.

Mountain Hut more than 100 years old

Refuge 12 Apostoli was built by the SAT (the Italian Alpine Association) with private money from the two brothers: Carlo and Giuseppe Garbari. The construction, at nearly 2.500  meters high, took a hundred years ago no less than two years. The refuge was finished in 1908 and experienced two wars. Without doubt it has been used during the wars as a defensive structure and shelter as well as many other refuges in this region.


Dolomites, Mountain Hut / Refuge the Twelve

The name ‘the Twelve’ refers to a Geographical Phenomenon

For their refuge (which literally means shelter), the brothers Garbari chose a beautiful place in the Brenta Dolomites, on a natural terrace of limestone at exactly 2489 meters high. The name ‘the twelve’  refers directly to a geographical phenomenon of a nearby eroded rock containing images of figures in prayer, known as the “twelve apostles.”

The Brenta Dolomites, the surroundings of the Mountain Hut

Alpinism and Tourism, the New Destination

The mountain hut survived the two wars, in 1948 it still existed. In that same year, a local family, the family Salvaterra, became the managemers of the hut. They believed in a new destination for the refuge, one of mountaineering and tourism. Their presence and hospitality at this isolated place, contributed to the transformation of the refuge into a welcoming mountain hut and an important meeting point for mountaineers.

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Trentino, Brenta Dolomites, after the ceremony

A Chapel Commemorating all Victims of the Mountains

A few years later, in July 1950, a tragic accident happened near the refuge. Three young alpinists fell into a crevasse and died. The accident led to a common need to remember the boys and the idea was born to build a chapel close to the mountain hut. With dynamite space was created in the massive granite stone and a beautiful cross was carved. In 1952 the church was inaugurated and since then every year, during the last week of July, a ceremonial meeting is held to remember not only the three young alpinists but all victims of the mountains.

Brenta Dolomites, Mountain Hut the Twelve, Aldo Turri, the current manager in Action

A Path of 200 meters, sawn in the Ice

Aldo and his partner Roberta are the current sympathetic managers of the refuge. The ceremony amongst others is possible thanks to Aldo. The entrance to the chapel is on the north, meaning that often there’s still snow when the ceremony takes place. This means that Aldo has to saw a path of 200 meters in the ice to create a safe access to the chapel. This is an incredibly tough job that lasts for two days.

Trentino-BrentaDolomites-Refuge12Apostoli (107)

The Summer Months in the Mountains

Every year Aldo and Roberta spend the summer months in the mountains. Next to running the refuge, Aldo is a certified Alpine Guide, a title which in Trentino is only given after a 3 year higher education. The “Twelve” is until now still a well-known and popular refuge amongst climbers and mountaineers. On the one hand because of its beautiful location and because it has  the most beautiful and certainly the most symbolic mountain chapel in the Brenta Dolomites.

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Mountain Hut ‘the Twelve’, the managers Roberta and Aldo

Useful links
Booking of Mountain Hut ‘the Twelve’ 
Booking of the 5 day hiking or via ferrata tour from hut to hut in the Brenta dolomites

Roos Schellings


Trentino, Mountain Hiking at MontePeller (2.320mt)

The Summits of Trentino part 2: The Magic of the Peller Mountain.

This is the second part of ‘ the summits of Trentino ‘ a series of stories and photos in which I describe the most beautiful day hikes in the mountains of Trentino. Trips that we repeatedly hiked ourselves and certainly will walk again, insider information about the most beautiful mountain hikes in Trentino.

The Peller Mountain (Monte Peller), Brenta Dolomites

Monte Peller, situated in the South-West Dolomites is part of the protected Adamello-Brenta National Park. The mountain is enclosed between Val di sole, Val di Non and Val di Tovel in a green environment, habitat of the brown bear, marmots, roe deer and deer. Here I started the Brenta Trekking in 2013, that resulted in an even a bigger adventure, my move to Italy. Each year I can be found on Monte Peller because it’s not only a beautiful mountain, but it also lies close to our home.

On the way to ‘the Sounds of the Dolomites’

Idyllic mountain, with breathtaking flora and fauna

Monte Peller has no glacier, no 3000+ peak, ski slopes or spectacular eroded rock formations with via ferrata trails. As a result, it’s hardly described and remains unknown to tourists. But perhaps that’s precisely the reason why this idyllic mountain, with its lovely flora and fauna, is a well kept secret, worthwhile to be discovered.

View at the Tovel Valley from Monte Peller

The top is a sloping plateau with 360 degree free view

Monte Peller is the mountain where I have hiked the most since I live in the Alps. I have brought many friends and family to the highest point (2.320 meters) which is not a classic peak but a sloping plateau from where you have a spectacular 360 degree free view of the Brenta Dolomites, Val di Non, Val di Sole, Val di Rabbi, The Ortler and Gran Zebrù.

Sunset from the top of Monte Peller in January

Monte Peller is beautiful in every season

Monte Peller is beautiful in all seasons, in January you can witness spectacular sunsets, in late spring you will see beautiful wild flowers like Gentiane, Wild Lily, Emperors Crown, Larkspur, Azalea, Clematis and Edelweiss. In the autumn, it seems like you are crossing a tundra and in the warm summer months, you will see many local people from the lower villages meeting at Malga Tassula or in Rifugio Peller.

Italië-Vakantie-Trentino-Eten in de Malga
Holidays in Italy, Trentino, eating at Malga Tassula

Malga Tassulo, a concept in the region

Malga Tassulo situated at Monte Peller, is a concept in the far surroundings. A Malga is the name for a farmhouse in the mountains with a small restaurant. In the summer months the cattle grazes in the alpine pastures and their fresh milk is used to make cheese, ricotta and cream that you can eat in the restaurant. There is no other place where you can eat fresher diary products and traditional dishes than in the Malgas.

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Italy, mountain holidays in Trentino, the flora of Monte Peller

Mountain Hut, Refuge Peller, another meeting place for locals

Mountain Hut Peller is another meeting place for locals and alpinists. Refuge Peller, is a recently restored mountain hut at 2020 meters high, where you can enjoy local traditional dishes and spend the night.The mountain hut lies at a crossroad of hiking-trails and therefore is an ideal starting point for shorter daytrips. This refuge is one of the few that is reachable by car but out of respect for nature and its wildlife it is advised to park the car at the lower Laghi Durigiati (1.870mt).

Rifugio Peller

The Sounds of the Dolomites

In addition to hiking and enjoying traditional dishes, every year, during the summer months, there is a free outdoor concert of the itinerant music festival ‘ The sounds of the Dolomites’. These are light classical concerts of often very well-known musicians and composers. In 2015 I was there, to listen to the music of Nicolas Piovani. He wrote the music for the film ‘La vitta è Bella’. These were magical moments. This year, on Wednesday the10th of August 2016 at 1PM a performance is programmed at Malga Tassula, called ‘de sounds of the cello’. You can download the program here.

The Sounds of the Dolomites, I suoni delle Dolomiti

Monte Peller, also for families

In short, Monte Peller is a great mountain, with a good infrastructure that can be visited by  ‘die hards’ but also by mountain lovers with children or by those who prefer less heavy day trips. On the Peller Mountain you can sleep and eat well, hiking trails are accessible and signposted well and in the summer you can even enjoy a free concerts of ‘The Sounds of the Dolomites‘.

Holidays in Italy,Trentino, mountain hiking at Monte Peller

During the summer season, facilities in the high mountains of Trentino (Malgas, Mountain Huts and ski-lifts) in general are open from mid Juni until mid September.  You can combine a visit to Monte Peller,  Rifugio Peller with a stay in the lower situated ‘Agriranch Tuenno’ a paradise for children.

Holidays in Italy, Trentino at Agriranch Tuenno, magnificent spot in nature, a great place for children.

From Mountain Hut Peller, you can make the following signposted dayttrips:
Plateau, Summit of monte Peller (2.320mt): 337
Malga Tassula: path 313 (East) + 336
Malga Clesera + Lago della Salare: pad 313 (west) + 308
Malga Tassula, Malga Pian della Nanna Nana, 313 (west): path + 336

Useful links:
Booking of Rifugio Peller
Booking of Agriranch Tuenno

Roos Schellings

About living in the Brenta Dolomites

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