Monday, January 27, 2014

Breuil Cervinia

The Queen of the noblest cliff in Europe

Breuil Cervinia, in the province of Aosta (2050 m) is a modern tourist resort of the Alpi Pennine.
It lies in an ample and beautiful basin at the head of the Valtournanche, enclosed at the bottom by the magnificent pyramid of Cervino defined as “the noblest cliff in Europe", west of the austere rocky range of the Grandes Murailles, and east of the high peaks of Furggen, Testa Grigia and Gobba di Rollin.

In an open and sunny position, this centre offers 200 km of slopes connected to Valtournanche branch out from here for a total of 31 ski centres and there is also an international connection to Zermatt, in Switzerland, along the cableway Cimebianche Laghi - Plateau Rosà and the chair-lift Bontadini for 350 km of slopes.

Valtournanche is the chief town of the valley of the same name, already from the second half of the 1800s mountain enthusiasts came from all over Europe to climb the surrounding peaks. Cervino (4478m) was climbed on the Zermatt side on the 14 July 1865 by the Englishman Edward Whimper with six companions and on the Valtournanche side on the same month and year by the abbot Aimé Gorret, with Jean Antoine Carrel and Jean Baptiste Bich as guides.

But it was in 1936, when the cableway between Breuil and Plan Maison was opened that tourism really intensified. Three years later, daring engineering calculations and robust machinery completed the work up to the 3480 m of Plateau Rosà.

Only the war with its severe military purposes enforced the closure of the plants. But immediately afterwards work started up again with continuous enlargements.
The first ski-lifts date back to the fifties and from then, the centre became known as a fashionable resort attracting famous personalities for the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the fascination of its mountains. Photographs of Cervino and its ski centres landed on the editors desks of newspapers all around the world like those of Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi, in pose, engaged in this area on the experimentation of cosmic rays.
Count Rossi di Montelera made Breuil-Cervinia, the area further north at 2000 m of altitude fashionable, from here you could reach the snow covered slopes in summer and winter; that’s why a clientele of VIPs began to visit and inevitably fall in love with Breuil-Cervinia. Gina Lollobrigida and her first husband, Arturo Toscanini, Marilyn Monroe, Aristotile Onassis, Fausto Coppi, Renato Rascel and many others, almost all of them pupils of the legendary Leo Gasperl, were immortalised by photographers on the slopes with skis on their feet. Tourist receptivity developed as a consequence up to the present day offering holiday makers a wide choice of ski centres, sports and entertainment.

Castles, Lakes and Peaks

Main Attraction in and around Cervinia

Excursions to the Blue Lake, the water of which reflects Cervino, or to Plan Maison (2557m) and from here to Plateau Rosà (3480m), or to the Cresta del Furggen (3488m) are recommended.
In the surrounding area: at the entrance of the Valley, Châtillon, just ten minutes on the motorway from Aosta, it has a considerable artistic heritage to visit: the Castle of Ussel, the Museum of Sacred Art, the Roman bridge.
At 1080 metres of altitude, nine kilometres from Châtillon, on the way up is Antey, which still has the typical characteristics of a mountain village of the past: a little church of the 1200s and around it the town. On the left of the Valle del Cervino is La Magdeleine (1644m), with its houses entirely in wood scattered among five hamlets, an example and a witness to the culture of town planning in the mountains.
Entrenched on the western side of the valley of Cervino is Torgnon, an incredible sun trap and the destination of numerous long-distance skiers for the variety of its ski-runs and tracks.
Chamois, can only be reached by the cable-car which leaves from Buisson, at 1800 metres high, it is the highest municipality in the Valle d'Aosta and the favourite for those still looking for a lifestyle which has something of the past.

Its love of snow and athletics has meant that Breuil-Cervinia has always held international competitions and sports events of various types.

Some of them are: the legendary Azzurrissimo, known as the longest race in the world; the historic Chilometro Lanciato; "Regata più alta del mondo" (Highest race in the World), competitive sailing for young sailors on board the very fast Optimist, on the waters of the lake Cime bianche at 2800 metres altitude; the unusual Golf competition played on the snow and has seen some of the best golfers on the green in action…

Breuil-Cervinia has also organised an interesting summer season. The most important events of which are the classic competition "Combinata Funivie del Cervino" and the amazing weeks “Ski & Golf”.

The area of the Cime Bianche Lakes (where the 140 seat cable car leaves from for Plateau Rosa) offers wonderful descents with the chair-lift facilities Goillet, which is the door to the Valtournanche district.
The domain of the Carosello takes routes through the pines which recall the chair lifts of Cielo Alto and Blue Lake.
For totally relaxing skiing convenient stations branch out from Plan Maison (among which the four-seater chair lifts and protective roofs of Fornet, Plan Maison and Bontadini) which serve the ski-runs, also connected to Plateau Rosà, for all tastes and levels.

With a ski connection at your feet you can get to the town of Breuil-Cervinia from Plan Maison and take advantage of the Crétaz district.

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