The Unbreakable Alpine Refuge in Italy’s Dolomites: A Testament to Resilience

A Structure Built to Withstand Time and Elements


Nestled high up on Monte Cristallo in Auronzo di Cadore, Italy, stands an extraordinary alpine shelter. Built during the tumultuous times of World War I at an elevation of 2,760 meters, this structure has withstood the test of time and elements.

Monte Cristallo is a jagged ridge with four peaks soaring above 3,000 meters, located in Italy’s Dolomites. Once a battleground between Italy and Austria-Hungary, it is now part of the “Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites.” During the war, both sides dug tunnels, set up artillery, and even triggered avalanches that claimed thousands of lives. Today, these rock-mining galleries can still be explored by hiking enthusiasts.

This particular shelter, along with many others, was constructed to withstand the harshest conditions. Its unique history and cliffside location make it a structure likely to survive even an apocalypse.

The Dolomites, spanning the regions of Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli Venezia Giulia, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. With an area of 141,903 hectares, they are undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking alpine landscapes globally, featuring sheer cliffs, vertical walls, and idyllic valleys.

The area is also a popular tourist destination, offering two remarkable “via ferratas,” or “iron paths.” These are climbing routes equipped with steel cables, ladders, and other fixtures that allow people to scale otherwise dangerous terrains safely.