Marta's Monterosa Blog

I am passionate about the Alps. They are my heart's home and the place where I would like to spend the last day of my life. I have been a tourist in the village of Champoluc in the Italian Monterosa for all my life and worked as a tourist operator in this area since more than 15 years.

I believe in respect for the special environment of this place that you can find only here. We all gain by enjoying its beauty, while trying to make a minimum impact at the same time. Leave it for our children in the future!

I believe in respect for people who live here with their traditions and culture, language, and work, their genuine products and delicious wines. They open their homes for us, tourists and meet us as their guests, if we are able to open our hearts for them. I have a friend who is a hotel owner and he says that when stressed people from the city come to his place, he tells them to sit down and take a drink before they even begin to worry if they have a room. Perhaps, we can bring a little of their kindness and calmness with us on our way back to the city.

My philosophy is to give back a little of what the mountains and the people from this place have given to me and to my family through my work, to communicate my philosophy and my passion to those who follow me on the blog, and in my trips as a tour operator.

If you would like to visit Champoluc, Gressoney, Alagna or other villages in the Aosta Valley, trek or ski in the Monterosa, discover Sardinia or other places we offer, contact us.

The "dead" season of the Alps

Posted: Nov 3, 2009
Categories: Blog
Comments: 0

This is the time when the cattles go down from the high fields, and one common traffic problem for your car is that it could be an object of high interest for a cow, compelling you to wait for the animal to be pushed to move by her master or dog. It can take a while…

The fog has been thick down in the valley, and suddenly your driving brings you above it, past 1500m, where the colors shine of all their fall beauty again. Dark blue skys, white peaks and all the shades of yellow/red on the lerch trees.

 

This is also the time when tourists are not aware of the marvels they are missing up here in the mountains, so the villages are silent, most of the hotels and restaurants are shut down (but not alla of them!) and only the locals work now, not with directly touristic kind of activities but carpenting and fixing all that must be ready when the winter season starts in a few weeks. Cold morning air gently press a cover of smoke from the fires in the houses or in the fields over the roofs, giving the village a sense  of old time and peace. The smells are of roasted castaigns and wild meat ragu.

 

I meet people these days, people who live in the mountains. Some have chosen to leave the fast and polluted city life to make a dream true, of building a new kind of hotel: a house, a center for their family, that offers their guests the feeling th​ey have grown for the village, the valley. One of these places is the beautiful Locanda 4 in Valtournenche, directly on the slopes, a few minutes from the more well known Cervinia. Cosy and luxury at the same time, but with this special atmosphere only love can bring, the love of the owner for this valley and for the mountains around it. Hotel owners in Aosta Valley have thought about a way of inspiring people to this love, and they have gathered around a new concept they founded: Slow Holidays. It means hotels with less than 20 rooms, owned and driven by the family. Genuinity is assured, and the walls tell often the history of the people who have lived there for generations, their traditions.

Particular attention is given to the environment in the form of energy saving solutions and local food in the restaurant of the hotels. The guest is guaranteed to feel at home more than to be treated as a client. Slow Holidays means that you don’t want to lodge there if you are looking for a speedy winter break, high life or tuxedoed waiters. Many times it will take you a while even to drive the road to a Slow Holiday hotel, often placed somewhere off the crowd.
So, I really meet people, who give me the time to speak as long as I need. Sometimes they drive me around to show me a place where they have a plan to rebuild an old property of their family, and to create a place like those mentioned before, sometimes they work at the local tourist office and they tell me that they really try their best to maintain the spirit of the place where they live, in respect of nature and history, and at the same time to find a way of opening up to tourism, not only to gain over it, but also because they find their resort the best place in the world and they want to pass their knowledge to as many others as possible.
All Saints and more people than the last days. Too many for a soul searching for quiet in this larming world. But I know that I am a lone wolf, and that sharing this beuty with others is nice indeed. Today I am free from work and from driving up and down the valleys of my enchanted mountain region, and I go hiking. Too many clothes in this Indian Summer and I am suddenly in a bath of sweath.
I go on the ancient path of the Walser, the people who were capable to make a living above 1500 meters in the Middle Age these places. They wandered from the German part of Switzerland, behind Monte Rosa through the high passes with all their havings and colonized the lands that no one else wanted to manage, due to the hard climate. Hard even if the weather was dramatically warmer those days until 18th century, when there was a new ice age and the glaciers slowly moved down to the limits we can remember from the first decades of 20th century. Now the ice border is slipping back very fast again, as we all know. I think about their travels handling with wares of all sorts coming from the Medittanean in the direction of the countries on the other side of the Alps. It must have taken them ages to get to their destination, bringing along all kind of things, from animals to furniture to survive the trip. Different for us. They built the paths stone by stone to get through easier and these stones are still there, many of them.
At the bottom of Monte Rosa in the Ayas Valley there is a big flat field called Pian di Verra, a morenic land covered by grass nowadays. It reminds me that things are not so different anyway, when I see a big herd of sheep grazing on their way down to the lower valley for winter. I am not alone today when I reach the water of Lago Blu, at 2600 meters, just under the impressive mass of the glaciers of Verra, surmonted by the over 4000m peaks of Breithorn, Polluce and Castor. Good to meet old friends and follow with them for a while to the start of the valley of Cime Bianche that was the one the Walser wandered to get over to Switzerland and Zermatt. The Matterhorn on the west side of their way.
Some small talk with another old friend, a heir of one of the most well known families of the Ayas Valley, a legend for me when I was a child, now living in Brazil. Strange to think that a girl from the mountains moves to a country so far away. But she comes back here from Rio for months to hike and trekk her native places, and so will do as long as she can. I am sure in time she will move back here to spend her old days. Anyway people moved in the Middle Age as we do today.
A few hours later I am driving around to take pictures of the shade of the evening. Fog covers the low lands and the colors have just disappeared. The smells from the delicious and simple food of the mountains make me remember that it is time to get something in my stomach. Tonight it will be a pizza (we are in Italy though) and then a chat with my friend Marco and his girlfriend Cristina, him being the mountain guide I trust the most and a very sensitive photographer. Castaigns and herbal tea around the fire. Tomorrow it is time for me to leave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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