The Italian Almanac

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igloo village

Italian News - December 23

A night in an igloo, preferably an ice home you have made yourself, is one way of escaping from the same old holiday routine of days spent skiing, shopping and clubbing, and instead savoring new experiences. Sweden, Norway and Finland, with their ice bars and hotels, may be Europe’s capitals of shiver-inducing architecture, but the first experiments in the Swiss Alps are now being picked up in Italy, from Madonna di Campiglio to the Dolomites in Alto Adige and Friuli.

In Italy, it was Sci magazine that first explored the new fashion. Two four-star hotels in Alto Adige offer a night in Val Aurina. Guests have an hour’s walk at 2,000 metres on “ciaspole” (snowshoes) before they reach not igloos but eighty centimetre-high tunnels in the snow. “Doctors, lawyers and industrialists take part. Many are over forty-five”, says Stefan Fauster, one of the owners. “Wellness centres in Alpine hotels are all the same. We want to give our guests excitement and help them shake off the fear of natural elements like snow and cold. This is real Alpinwellness”.

Guests sleep in sleeping bags on jute sacks filled with mountain hay. For dinner, there is hot barley soup. Those who want to can go outside to gaze at the stars. And all for 70 Euro. Outside the igloo, temperatures can drop to minus twenty, but inside it stays a few degrees above freezing. It is this difference that makes it seem almost warm inside.