Daniele and Ginetta have been the managers of the rifugio Bruno Boz for 36 years — an authentic mountain hut with an ancient flavor in the heart of the Feltrino Dolomites.
It was born in 1970 as a bivouac from an adaptation of the previous cheese factory in a location Neva. Over the years, they have managed to preserve the authenticity of a true alpine hut, simple and welcoming.
The local journalist Teddy Soppelsa asked them a few questions about how it all started, past and present difficulties, meeting international hikers, and “moments for us”.
Ginetta and I met right here at the refuge, towards the end of the 70s. We both left the previous places to do this job. Our residence is in Feltre where we return to rest after the season here in the refuge, but in fact, our home is this one.
It was the passion for the mountains and the youthful enthusiasm that made us choose this life. We were very young and all the relatives were against our choice of life.
The building is owned by the Municipality of Mezzano given on loan to CAI Feltre.
The first years were difficult: the lighting was gas, the water often did not arrive and there was no cableway, the menu was limited and even the services, always with sincere hospitality, as if we were one family.
Then, after the cableway broke down, instead of replacing it, some CAI managers were planning to continue on the road that leads to Nèva di Mezzo. The road, however, should have stopped as far as the border with the province of Trento, a hundred meters from the refuge, here we are inside the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and the Authority would never have authorized the opening of a road, even if for a short stretch. And then I would have had to carry by hand, for the last hundred meters, the food, and materials for the refuge. It wasn’t worth it and so the cableway was restored.
Since UNESCO recognized the Dolomites as a World Heritage Site, we have seen the passage of foreigners from all over the world grow: Israelis, Koreans, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans, Brazilians…
Hikers arrive after days of walking along the Alta Via 2 or the Alta Via Europa 2 that leaves from Innsbruck.
I consider this cosmopolitan aspect of the refuge as an interesting fact, but also a strangeness of globalization: places that have remained on the edge for centuries suddenly become the center but always remain a borderland for the languages spoken.
With climate change, life here at the refuge has also changed. The seasons have lengthened and we are often open even out of season.
People, who come here, has also changed. Once the refuge was a starting point to other places, for hiking or climbing, now it is an arrival point, especially for eating. It’s also quite common to see people coming here for dinner and returning to the valley at night. So from the simple dishes of the first years, we have moved on to a richer cuisine, which requires more effort.
Today it is difficult to find a moment for us, before it was much more time. Here we are 24 hours a day without a moment of privacy, always at the disposal of the people who come in and even when we go to sleep we share the room with our collaborators with whom we have always had a friendly relationship, before work. In many years we have established a relationship of friendship with many people here.
Technology is indispensable, but here in the shelter, it should be forbidden. One evening eleven Swedes arrived and shortly after four New Zealanders. We were here alone. Ginetta and I, only speak French and German, English is not. I said to myself, “look, at the opposite, poles of the Earth meet here at the Boz refuge”. But what do we do now? Luckily there was a guy among them who knew French and then things went smoothly. At a certain point, everyone started fiddling around on their cell phones, so Ginetta came out of the kitchen and in perfect Feltrino dialect told him to close them and start talking to each other. Incredibly everyone understood and nobody opened the phone anymore.
We started with nothing and over the years we tried to give our best. But the success is not only thanks to us, it must be shared with CAI Feltre and the Park, without forgetting the many friends who help us to create a pleasant and familiar environment and also this year we warmed up with the wood they cut for us.
Author of the text: Teddy Soppelsa.
The original interview in Italian was published in Altitudini.it journal on July 29, 2018.
Cover photo © Roberto De Pellegrin