“Set on the Giant’s Trail,
outside of time”
Altitude: 2157 m
Address: Lago di Cignana, 11028 VALTOURNENCHE
Period of opening: July and August
Contact: +39 339 1083955 / +39 333 4125868
Mountain hut manager: Lelia Barmasse
Lelia is 86 years old and has managed the Barmasse mountain hut since 1965: “My husband Jean possessed a part of this mountain and it was him who considered to start this business. We constructed the mountain hut by ourselves”.
For Lelia being a mountain hut manager is not just a job but a true vocation: “I’m a bit old now, and I am getting tired… but I don’t want to close down the mountain hut, because people who come here need a place to rest and have a break. I would like to make over the management, and give the mountain hut to the right person, maybe a guide, or someone who really loves the mountains”. It would be a fantastic opportunity for a young person who wants to embark on a new adventure. Mrs Leila would certainly be happy of it.
The mountain hut
The Cignana lake is the largest in Valtournenche. It is the artificial basin of the Enel dam. In Valtournenche, where the Barmasse’s have built their mountain hut, time seems to have stopped.
“In the last 40 years, nothing has changed. There’s the lake, the animals, and peace. It’s all very rustic”. Lelia’s caretaker attitude, characterised by simple, warm and straightforward manners, has also remained the same as it was forty years ago: “Nowadays people are more demanding, they arrive here and want to take a shower straight away. In my day, you were happy just to find shelter!” Obviously there are showers, but those who come to the Barmasse mountain hut are usually looking for something else: the chance to experience the virgin mountain, on the Alta Via n.1 route, in the shadow of the majestic Mont Cervin, among beautiful (alpine) pastures, where blooming starts with the first snowdrops to the summer flowers.
From the hillock of the Barmasse mountain hut, close to the barrier dam of the artificial lake, it is possible to arrange a variety of excursions. Lelia recommends the hike to Mont Pancherot: it is an easy trail leading to the peak, where you will enjoy an evocative view over the Monte Rosa mountains.
Going along the Alta Via dei Giganti it is possible to admire the incomparable examples of Valdostan architecture linked to alpine rural life.
The mountain hut serves a family-style cuisine, made of simple authentic dishes.